Music » Music Feature

You Can’t Beat Kodo At Zellerbach Hall


You can’t top the sight and sound of 15 highly-trained, shirtless, all-male, young musicians of Kodo, beating on Japanese taiko drums. Combining sacred ritual with folk art and fine musicianship, Kodo frosts the entire confection with contemporary compositions, dramatic lighting, and the hands-down, sticks-flying, most-thrilling physicality this side of an Olympic-level boxer. Dadan, presented by CAL Performances in Berkeley this week, includes solo and ensemble works. Led since 2012 by Tamasaburo Bando, a foremost Kabuki actor, the troupe’s theatricality connects people across cultural, racial, social, gender, economic, language, and class divisions. Endurance, discipline, cooperation, and dynamic performances are always on display with this troupe. Best feature? All “children of the drum” regardless of age and having a heartbeat — the two literal meanings of the Japanese word, “kodo” — will thrill in the group’s life-affirming music.