Premiere New York Premiere
Country of Origin Japan
Description Kodo, Japan’s preeminent taiko ensemble, returns to BAM with Dadan, a simultaneously raw and refined performance piece that uses taiko drums of all shapes and sizes, as well as other forms of percussion. Dadan, a word which means “drumming men” in Japanese, features only Kodo’s young male performers and is led by Kabuki theater luminary Tamasaburo Bando. Decades of training are distilled into a succession of climactic solos, as each new drummer’s rhythmic pounding builds up to a seismic eruption. The solos crescendo into a round of ensemble pieces that immerse the audience in a wall of sound that includes cymbals, xylophones, and more.
Tamasaburo Bando is a leading Kabuki actor, and the most popular and celebrated onnagata (actor specializing in female roles) currently on stage. His theatrical directing credits include Romeo & Juliet and Kaijin Besso and he has directed the films Gekashitsu, Yume no Onna, and Tenshu Monogatari. In 2012, Bando became the artistic director of the Kodo ensemble and was recognized as an Important Intangible Cultural Property Holder ("Living National Treasure") in Japan. In 2013 he was decorated with the highest honor––Commander–– of France's Order of Arts and Letters.
Exploring the limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the taiko, Kodo is forging new directions for a vibrant living art form. The vibrations created by the drummers not only reach the ears of the audience, they move listeners on a visceral level. In Japanese, the word "Kodo" holds a double meaning. It can be translated as "heartbeat," the primal source of all rhythm. If read in a different context however, Kodo can also mean "children of the drum," which reflects the group’s desire to play the drums with the simple heart of a child. Since the group’s debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981, Kodo has given approximately 5,800 performances in over 49 countries on five continents. This figure includes 3,900 performances under the "One Earth" banner, a theme that embodies Kodo's desire to transcend language and cultural boundaries, all while reminding their audiences of the common bonds we all share as human beings. The ensemble also participates in a wide range of projects and events, which includes participation in major international festivals and motion picture soundtracks, as well as collaborating with a wide variety of global performing arts leaders. Kodo debuted at BAM in Spring 2015 with Mystery.