The remote Japanese island of Sado is pretty much devoid of the distractions of modern life. Due to its distance from the mainland—for centuries it was a place where people were sent to when forced into exile—technology did not fully reach the residents of this area, and it has sort of stayed that way for centuries.
Visitors who take a two-and-a-half hour ferry ride to the island are promised to step back in time to a place devoid of the rush of urban existence. Because of that, the island averages 900,000 visitors a year. It was in this setting that Kodo came into existence three decades ago, via a group of artists and musicians who found in the island the peace they needed to exercise their creativity and, in the island’s ancient festivals and harvest celebrations, inspiration to showcase these almost-lost art forms to other nations through their music.
The result of this quest can be heard on Kodo’s latest CD “Akatsuki,” which looks at the traditions of Japanese. On the CD (which includes a gorgeous DVD with images from the island) you hear music that seems at times frozen in time, but that also contains lush orchestrations inspired by the music of the west.
The disc also features plenty of their trademark drumming—a sound that blends their own sound with influences from Africa and Brazil, where Kodo has toured extensively over the years. (Ernest Barteldes)
February 21, Symphony Center, 220 South Michigan, (312)294-3000. $25-$65.