Speaking to its appeal as a form of entertainment and musical theater, a Japanese Kodo drum performance sold out the Balboa Theatre in San Diego, California last Friday.
This extremely well-written article from San Diego.com discusses just how that show managed to sell out.
As the article mentions, Kodo drumming appeals to American audiences in a way that other culturally-specific events may not. Simply put, Kodo drumming sets itself apart due to its captivating nature and the intensity of its performance.
A Kodo concert is an unusual amalgam: it combines music (drumming, singing, flute playing), dance, gymnastics, sacred ritual, and drama into a heady mixture that is both serious and highly entertaining. If drumming does tap into something primal in the human psyche, what then separates Kodo from its imitators?
The answer, as the author maintains, lies in the enthusiasm and complexity that each Kodo performer puts into each performance.
I recommend reading the article, as the author (Kenneth Herman) does a great job describing what about Kodo makes it stand out. Having never personally experienced a Kodo drumming performance, I definitely want to now. It looks really impressive and distinctly Japanese.
After the break, check out a short clip from filmmaker Jacques Holender’s 1983 documentary about Kodo drumming. Looks pretty awesome.