Primal Instincts

Mar 13th, 2019

By Kelly Hedglin Bowen, @kelhedglinbowen, Burlington Writer’s Workshop 

A preview of Kodō One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution, at the Flynn Center on Monday, March 18.

Since I shimmied my six-year-old self through the crowd along the parade route to watch the drum corps march by, I knew my future involved a beat. In third grade, I held my first pair of drumsticks. I was that girl. The only girl in a drum class offered at my elementary school back before they let girls carry the big bass drum. In my thirties, I ditched the sticks and switched to hand drumming. I love the feeling of the taut skin against my palm and the deep sound that resonates through me with every palm strike. There is a primal human response to drumming. Who doesn’t tap along with the reverberating beat of a drum?

Taiko is an ancient form of Japanese percussion where musicians play large drums loud and hard and fast. While drumming, the artists perform carefully choreographed, physically demanding movements that mimic martial art forms to create an energetic and rhythmic performance not to be missed. Taiko drumming is more than a form of musical entertainment. For the taiko players, drumming moves beyond the use of the drum as an instrument; musicians attempt to form a connection between the drum and the body, a merger between personality and art. The study involves four main principles: attitude, kata (form), musical technique, and ki (energy).

In the Japanese language, the word kodō has a dual meaning. The first, in written form, means drum child. And second, with a slight stress on the second syllable, the meaning is heartbeat. The heartbeat is thought to be the original source of all rhythm, coming from the sound a child hears while in the womb—a mother’s heartbeat.

Join us, on Monday, March 18th at the Flynn Main Stage where this Japanese ensemble of masterful musicians promises to beat away our winter blues and explode us into spring.

Filed in: Music 

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