Friday, February 17, 2006

Kodo

Last night BondWoman and myself went to the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh to see what can only be described as an amazing group of Japanese drummers - Kodo. These guys, and girls, have such vast quantities of energy it is almost unbelievable; they attack the drums with such vigour and verve that one is left wondering how the drums survive the onslaught. A quote from Time Out/UK, on the Kodo website, describes the experience far better than I ever could:

"Dynamic, electrifying vision ....Nothing will prepare you for the 1,000 lb. drum assault, the precise timing or the wall of sound. An essential experience."

"Precise timing", well, I think that is an understatement, one piece involved seven drummers and a guy banging a gong; it didn't take long to work out that this piece was representing rainfall and thunder; the point is that at times the seven drummers were all beating out different rhythms. The control and concentration that they were exercising was absolute; control in that the range of sound they were producing from the drums ranged from the almost inaudible (a fine drizzle), to an overwhelming deluge of sound (the heaviest rain you could imagine); concentration in that, as I say, at times all seven were beating their own rhythm with six different rhythms going on around them. The quote refers to a wall of sound, and that is exactly what it is, as even sitting well back from the stage you can feel the vibrations passing through your body, making it, in some ways, a very intimate experience. However, it is not all about pounding drums, there are some quieter haunting, eerie moments with other traditional Japanese instruments and voices which are very beautiful in their own way. Were anyone to tell me that they were thinking of going to see Kodo I would say "don't think, do it!", it is an exquisite and unique experience, and one not to be missed.

Minor Update:

More information can be found:-

HERE - a review

and

HERE - a photo gallery

2 Comments:

Blogger Darth Phil said...

The piece you refer to, Monochrome, is an awesome display of control and timing. It starts so quietly and reaches a tremendous crescendo which after the really quiet start seems even louder!

You are right about their energy levels as well. When Mrs P. and I saw them two years ago the guy banging on the huge Taiko drum for 10 minutes then leapt to the front of the stage and also played a smaller drum in the next piece which was just as vigourous.

Friday, February 17, 2006  
Blogger BondWoman said...

We've seen them once before as well, the last time two years ago - probably the same time you saw them. The experiences were a bit different, but one thing I would say is the playing of the very big drum - the one you refer to - was not quite as impressive as last time. Last time it was done by a "senior" member (putting it kindly) of the group, obviously the alpha male in the hierarchy, who was not there last night. He had loads and loads of charisma, which the guy doing the big drum last night somehow lacked.

Friday, February 17, 2006  

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