Bel Air Classiques Don Kent & Christian Dumais-Lvowski : Kodo:
The Heartbeat of the Drum - DVD- (JAP,2014)****
Because the Kodo group came to Belgium already a few times, people more or less know what to expect: a spectacle of movement and rhythm on ultra-huge and some smaller sized drums played by a trained and muscled Japanese group of performers. But what is behind all that or how one comes to it is hardly explained. This documentary will go to a Kodo school and follows the learning experience.
I was lucky to see the documentary with a big projection because the landscapes and impressions really brings you into the heart of nature, onto a remote island where the school is and where the students learn with Japanese discipline and with dedication dances, vocal training, drumming and physical training but also disciplines like the tea ceremony, developing a strong unity in spirit and physical body, in which one is able to canalise emotion through the power of performance, sound and rhythm. This means also being in unity with the instructions of the village people from where the folk music, the drums and some of the dances originate. Like in all Japanese schools you can experience what the combination of harmony and a disciplined mind is able to achieve. The documentary succeeds very well to share that experience.
Still, at the end I would have preferred to see also a fragment of a show, as the final result after the years of training, even if it was only 8-10 minutes. Luckily today we have YouTube to compensate for that on which you can luckily find a few very good examples. On the Kodo website they sell a DVD of such a final result / performance.