Taiko troupe Tucson bound

Taiko troupe Tucson bound

Miranda Butler

We’re all familiar with artists like Blue Man Group. These well-known entertainers provide unique and exciting shows that synthesize music and performance.

But Americans aren’t the only avant-garde entertainers around. Next week, a Japanese drumming group called Kodo will be in Tucson for its 30th anniversary “”One Earth Tour.””

According to Kodo’s Company Manager, Jun Akimoto, Kodo is deeply rooted in the tradition of Japanese taiko drumming. However, the group blends many types of artistic expression, and bridges their traditional art with contemporary styles. “”Performances include lots of drumming, dancing and movement. I think people will enjoy the simplicity of this art,”” Akimoto said. He added that the music includes other instruments as well, such as Japanese flutes and violins.

Kodo performers are passionate about their art and devoted to what they do. “”Our creative process is always happening at our headquarters,”” Akimoto explained. Group members spend one-third of the year perfecting their work on a small island called Sado, located in the Sea of Japan. “”We spend most of the time together, practicing and creating new compositions and arrangements,”” Akimoto described.

For the other two-thirds of the year, Kodo tours the world to bring the sound of taiko drumming anywhere it can. Akimoto explained an old Japanese story, that if you play taiko for people, you become a part of their community. “”So we continue to go to unknown places, and develop relationships with new people and new generations,”” Akimoto said. Kodo named the show “”One Earth Tour”” back in 1984, and still holds that same goal 30 years later. “”Anywhere we go, we try to unite people with the sound of drums.””

With a tour schedule like theirs, it could be long time until the members of Kodo return to Tucson.. Nonetheless, Akimoto is excited to bring the group’s music to new generations here, as well as older fans. “”I hope that students will have some sort of common ground to our music, even though our nationality is different,”” he said. Kodo’s show will take place on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. in Centennial Hall. Look for ticket information at uapresents.org.