Traditional Japanese drummers at Mount Baker Theatre

Exploring the vast possibilities of the traditional Japanese drum, the versatile Kodo drummers combine dance and mime, and play a variety of instruments, but it is their awesome drums that mesmerize the audience. Their drums include the massive odaiko, a 900-pound, decorated instrument carved from the trunk of a single tree and played by two men.

They perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, at Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.

In Japanese, kodo conveys two meanings: The first is “heartbeat,” the primal source of all rhythm. The sound of the great taiko is said to resemble a mother’s heartbeat as felt in the womb, and it is no myth that babies are often lulled asleep by its thunderous vibrations.

Read a different way, kodo also can mean “children of the drum,” a reflection of Kodo’s desire to play the drums simply, with the heart of a child.

Since the group’s debut at the Berlin Festival in 1981, Kodo has given nearly 3,800 performances on five continents, spending about a third of the year overseas, a third touring in Japan and a third rehearsing and preparing new material on Japan’s Sado Island.

Tickets, $32 to $62, are at 360-734-6080, mountbakertheatre.com.