Live Review: Kodo @ Lighthouse.

Kodo, the world's leading Taiko drumming ensemble, kick off their UK tour with spectacular new show Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Legend, at The Lighthouse, Poole. UK. (Simon Jay Price)

Kodo, the world’s leading Taiko drumming ensemble, kick off their UK tour with spectacular new show Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Legend, at The Lighthouse, Poole. UK. (Simon Jay Price)

Comprising a breath-taking combination of athletic and electrifying drumming, exquisite musicianship, stunning visuals and pure theatre, Kodo – the legendary taiko drumming ensemble – returned to the UK for the first time since 2010 with their most ambitious production yet: Kodo One Earth Tour 2014: Legend.

Hailing from the remote Japanese Sado Island, Kodo is the first and most influential taiko ensemble in the world, comprising a troupe of musicians and dancers who transform centuries-old traditional Japanese ritual and performing arts into exhilarating, contemporary stage shows.

Kodo, the world's leading Taiko drumming ensemble, kick off their UK tour with spectacular new show at The Lighthouse, Poole. UK. (Photographer Simon Jay Price)

Kodo, the world’s leading Taiko drumming ensemble, kick off their UK tour with spectacular new show at The Lighthouse, Poole. UK. (Photographer Simon Jay Price)

This is the first UK tour with new Artistic Director, Japanese icon Tamasaburo Bando, an actor and film-maker, world-renowned for his roles in kabuki theatre, the traditional classical Japanese dance-drama. Tamasaburo has instigated a bold new direction for Kodo: combining the visceral intensity and athleticism of their stunning productions with the controlled, nuanced performances of kabuki. Both draw on the deep well of traditional Japanese culture, rooted in a long lineage and sense of place (from rituals of harvest celebrations and demon dances to refined theatres and the most delicate of hand motions), combined with absolute discipline and mastery of their art.

Kodo, the world's leading Taiko drumming ensemble, kick off their UK tour with spectacular new show at The Lighthouse, Poole. UK. (Photographer Simon Jay Price)

Kodo, the world’s leading Taiko drumming ensemble, kick off their UK tour with spectacular new show at The Lighthouse, Poole. UK. (Photographer Simon Jay Price)

In Legend they have created something completely fresh and new: integrating highly-choreographed dance routines and costumes inspired by cultures from all corners of the globe and even music taken from western classical and jazz styles.

Kodo Ensemble Leader, Tomohiro Mitome, told us “We have enriched our performances with artistic expressions previously unseen on the Kodo stage, incorporating new costumes and Western instruments.”

One Earth Tour 2014: Legend is an unmissable experience – transporting audiences to the magical culture of Sado Island and bringing this unique and remarkable art form thrillingly to life.

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