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Children of the drum

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In the early 1970s a group of musicians came to the seclusion of Sado-ga-shima to pursue their study of traditional taiko drumming and to experiment with its potent music. A decade later the Kodô Drummers unleashed their primal rhythms on the world, since when they have continued to stun audiences with their electrifying performances. The name Kodô can mean both “heartbeat” and “children” – despite its crashing sound, the beat of their trademark giant Ōdaiko is said to resemble the heart heard from inside the womb.

The drummers are now based in Kodô village, a few kilometres north of Ogi, where they have set up the Kodô Cultural Foundation. Apart from a two-year apprenticeship programme, the drummers hold occasional workshops (Kodō juku) which are open to anyone with basic knowledge of Japanese. Each year, usually the third week of August, they also host the three-day Earth Celebration arts festival when percussionists from all over the world and a friendly multinational audience of several thousand stir up the sleepy air of Ogi. Details of Kodô scheduled tours and the next Earth Celebration are posted on their website (whttp://www.kodo.or.jp).

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