Last night, Ron, Brigid, and I drove up to Indianapolis to see a performance by Kodo, a group of Japanese taiko drummers. WOW! We were absolutely blown away.
We first got a glimpse of Kodo when we saw Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey at the IMAX theater a year ago or so. We enjoyed the IMAX movie quite a bit, and were especially taken with Kodo. So when I saw that Kodo would be appearing at Clowes Hall at Butler University in Indianapolis, we got tickets as soon as they went on sale. We ended up in the fourth row, really good seats.
Kodo uses a variety of drums in a range of sizes, from fairly small to gigantic. The group had about thirteen performers. Most of them are drummers, but a few play other instruments, such as the fue (a bamboo wind instrument) and shamisen (a large stringed instrument). A few numbers included some singing, too.
But the main focus was the drums. The huge drums created such a sound that the rafters of the concert hall buzzed with the vibrations. I could feel the drums deep in my chest. But somehow it wasn't too loud to listen to. Although I have often left rock concerts with my ears ringing and feeling plugged up, that didn't happen here.
I don't know what was more impressive: the precision group drumming, the sheer athleticism of the drummers, or the muscles! The drummers performed many of the pieces without shirts, and their backs and arms are extremely well muscled. They didn't look like body builders, more like people who actually use their muscles to work.
During the grand finale the drummers wore only Japanese loincloths (like a sumo wrestler wears). One drummer spent about twenty minutes pounding away on the gigantic drum. He stood with his back to us, and the play of muscles in his back was mesmerizing. After that, he then was joined by two other drummers at a row of smaller (but still huge) drums. These they played by sitting on the floor with the drum between their feet, then they leaned back and started pounding. Their abdominal muscles were exquisite.
One of the drummers had muscles so well defined that he looked just like the transparent guy in the encyclopedia where each transparent page has skin, or muscles, or bone. He was the muscle page.
We heartily recommend seeing Kodo if you get the chance.