FOR ALMOST FORTY years, Kodo have been touring the world, telling the world their story and treating audiences to ancient Japanese culture.

They put their huge drums centre stage and showcase their vibrant living art form, the basis of which is the Taiko.

A Taiko is a "spiritual instrument" that "brings people together", according to Kodo member Ryotaro Leo Ikenaga.

"We believe Taiko drumming can truly unite people.

"We are constantly looking for new ways to innovate the performing art of Taiko, and we see ourselves as ambassadors of Taiko drumming."

Ryotaro joined Kodo, whose name translates to heartbeat, whilst at University. He was on course to join the finance industry when he felt the appeal of joining the troupe was too much.

"I felt that I had lived a very privileged life, and I wanted to challenge myself as well as explore my Japanese roots," Ryotaro continued.

"The Kodo apprenticeship program seemed like the ideal place to fulfill both of those needs."

However, there is more to it than simply joining the band.

"Apprentices wake up at 5 in the morning and run, and practice taiko drumming for the remainder of the day. They also harvest their own rice, cook their own meals, and live together in an old abandoned middle school on top of a mountain.

"Internet, television, relationships, alcohol, and other basic amenities such as air conditioning are off limits."

After two years, he was selected to be part of the troupe, and has gone on to perform in around 20 countries. Meanwhile, since formation in 1981, Kodo have performed over 6500 shows in 50 countries.

"Legacy showcases both the traditional and innovative sides of Kodo. We incorporate classical repertoire with new compositions in to our program, and we also have reinterpreted the classical pieces with a fresh, young cast.

"Kodo has been evolving throughout its history, and this program showcases the past, present, and future of Kodo."

Kodo come to the Anvil on Thursday, February 13, 2020. You can get tickets at