Drums did more than make music in Japanese tradition. They were valuable tools found at every shrine. They marked the physical and metaphorical edge of a village. If you could hear them beat, you were part of the community. Kodo has lived this principle for 30 years, using thundering, soothing sounds that turn audiences into one big village from Asia to South America. “The drum is a ritual tool in Japan, played whenever a community needs to come together…If Kodo can bring drums and travel around the world and deliver the sound of drums there, we can unite the people who hear the sound and make them part of a community,” says Kodo member Jun Akimoto. Under its new artistic director, Kabuki luminary Tamasaburo Bando, the group’s 23rd UMS appearance features a brand-new performance that includes new visual flair alongside its high-energy percussion, elegant music, dance, and the striking physical prowess needed to sustain a precise yet powerful sound.