Kodo Live at the Newman Center

Experience the vibrant, rhythmic spectacle that is internationally renowned taiko performing arts group Kodo live at the Newman Center, February 18th and 19th!

For over 40 years Kodo has electrified audiences worldwide as the unofficial ambassadors of Japanese ensemble percussion. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness their exuberant, elemental drumming for yourself!

Explore Japanese art and music at your library!


Karate: The Art of “Empty Hand” Fighting by Hidetaka Nishiyama 

The art, physical endurance and grace of Kodo mirrors beautifully the martial art of Shotokan Karate. Dedication and training are paramount to both martial arts and Kodo drumming, and in both, the mind and body become a finely tuned instrument. This book is a comprehensive dive into how to master physical performance.

Cats in Spring Rain: A Celebration of Feline Charm in Japanese Art and Haiku by Aya Kusch

Throughout history, people have been inspired by the grace and quirkiness of their feline companions. Just as taiko is a uniquely Japanese form of drumming, haiku is a uniquely Japanese form of poetry. Read haikus inspired by cats, accompanied by numerous, engaging examples of cats in Japanese art.  

The Art and Science of Sushi: A Comprehensive Guide to Ingredients, Techniques and Equipment by Jun Takahashi

Tokyo-based sushi chef Jun Takahashi shares his extensive knowledge on all things sushi, from scientific analysis of ingredients, to preparation techniques, to recipes. Filled with color photos, charts, and diagrams, this book will appeal to professional and amateur chefs alike. Like taiko drumming, the basics seem simple but mastering the art takes years of study, practice, and devotion. 


Vic Firth Drumsticks, dir. Joel Greene and Melissa Cockrell (2012)

Vic Firth, a drummer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, became the Stradivari of drumsticks after he designed his own that could produce the vast range of sounds he desired. Watch as a professional child visits the Vic Firth facility to learn how drumsticks are made along with receiving drumming tips. Stream it on Kanopy, free to all Denver residents with your library card.

 Let There Be Drums!, dir. Justin Kreutzmann (2022)

Some of the world’s most famous drummers reflect on how their instrument has shaped their lives. Featuring Ringo Starr (The Beatles), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Stewart Copeland (The Police), Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), and many more.

 We Are X, dir. Stephen Kijak (2017)

A documentary film about the legendary Japanese rock band, X Japan, the world's biggest and most successful band you've never heard of. Led by drummer, pianist, composer, and producer Yoshiki, X Japan has sold over 30 million singles and albums. 


The Rough Guide to the Best Japanese Music You’ve Never Heard, Various artists (2021)

The Japanese music genre has grown and evolved over the years from being found in just Japan to today where it has spread throughout the world gaining a massive following. This CD is your crash course opportunity to branch out and hear new sounds from a culture far from our own.

Lovin' Mighty Fire: Nippon Funk-Soul-Disco, 1973-1983, Various Artists (2017)

This fun compilation captures some of the stars of the vibrant Japanese disco/funk scene of the 70s and early 80s, mostly unheard outside of Japan. 

Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie, 1976-1986, Various Artists (2019)

"City Pop" is a loose, catch-all term for several different popular musical styles that appeared during Japan's economic boom of the 1970s and 80s, encompassing album-oriented-rock, R&B, jazz-fusion, funk, boogie, and disco. “City Pop” is more of a vibe than a definition. The cover of Pacific Breeze, by artist Hiroshi Nagai, gives you an idea of that vibe; laidback, pool-side, palm trees, polished ease; filtered through a distinctly Japanese aesthetic.


Taiko Do – Echo of the SoulKyoShinDo (2020)

Take a group of Italian percussionists, who just so happen to be karate experts too, and see what kind of musical concoction they can cook up. The rhythmic, kinetic energy of the two disciplines would certainly seem to lend themselves to each other, and for the group KyoShinDo, their ambition has carried them relentlessly forward ever since. Not only are they committed to playing taiko music, but they make the drums themselves – living and practicing in a ‘dojo’ high in the Ligurian Apennines. Listen using our Music Online database.

Heartbeat Drummers of Japan, Kodo (2007)

Seminal album from Kodo circa 1985, hear where it all began.

The Ongaku Masters, An Anthology of Japanese Classical Music, Vol. 4: Cross-Overs And Extensions (2004)

Part 4 of a 4-volume set of Japanese classical music. “Cross-Overs and Extensions” includes examples of modern taiko drumming as well as a mix of traditional Japanese instruments like the shakuhachi with Western instruments like the marimba and vibraphone. Which makes for a very interesting listen. Other volumes include, “Vol. 1: Sacred Music,” “Vol. 2: Secular Music,” and “Vol. 3: Modern Japan.”

Blog post submitted by Andrew W., Books & Borrowing, Central

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