For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble presents
The Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble (KNE), based in
Toronto, Canada, has enthralled audiences with
its mesmerizing and thrilling performances on the
Japanese taiko drum since its formation in 1998.
The Ensemble has performed widely in theatres,
concert halls, universities and major music
festivals throughout Canada, the US and Italy.
While firmly rooted in the folk drumming
traditions of Japan, the Ensemble's principal aim
is to rejuvenate and redefine this ancient art
form to create a new voice for the traditional
Under the direction of Kiyoshi Nagata, the KNE
has become recognized for its exacting and
physically demanding performances on the taiko,
as well as for its broad and varied repertoire.
With an emphasis on music and technical
fundamentals, the ensemble has created a unique
performance style that is both powerful in
expression and beautiful in its simplicity.
"It's another credit to this cosmopolitan city
that one of the world's most interesting Japanese
taiko drumming ensembles hails from Toronto.
Since 1998, the nine-person group, headed by
Kiyoshi Nagata has consistently added new layers
of invention to the traditional
For the past six years, the Kiyoshi Nagata
Ensemble has presented an annual concert
premiering new works by ensemble members. This
year, veteran member Aki Takahashi makes her
directorial debut with SACRED TREE.
SACRED TREE is a reference to the Japanese
people's relationship with, and reverence for,
nature. Trees have special significance because
of their many uses and ability to regenerate.
Indeed, taiko drums are simply large tree trunks
that have been masterfully carved into beautiful
musical instruments. It is believed that a
spirit resides within each taiko and it is the
duty of the drummer to awaken it!
SACRED TREE offers a ritualistic and festive
aspect to the thrilling music and taiko drumming
of the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble. SACRED TREE will
feature, among others, four female drummers
playing complex and interlocking rhythms on the
uchiwa daiko (fan drum) with choreographed
movements adding a stunning visual element; one
of the largest taiko drums in Canada requiring
the total concentration and endurance of the
soloist; Kon Kon Kon, a light-hearted piece
featuring three vocalists, the Okinawan
three-stringed sanshin, marimba and glockenspiel;
and I-yo I-yo, a challenging 7-beat cycle where
rhythms are quickly passed on from one drummer to
another in a heart-stopping manner.
Director Aki Takahashi (taiko, shamisen, and
voice) was born in a fishing village on
Shodoshima, a small island in the Inland Sea of
Japan. As a young girl, she developed a secret
passion to become a musician thanks to her
grandmother who was always singing folksongs.
Since moving to Canada in 2000, she has continued
to share her music with audiences nationwide.
Kiyoshi Nagata, founder and director of the
Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble, is Canada's pre-eminent
taiko soloist with a career that spans
twenty-four years. Since 1998 Kiyoshi has taught
taiko at the University of Toronto's Faculty of
Music, and since 2003 he has been teaching at the
Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. In 1994,
Kiyoshi founded the cross-cultural percussion
ensemble, Humdrum, whose Toronto debut
performance was ranked fourth in Now Magazine's
"Top Ten Concerts of 1995". He has composed and
performed taiko music for dance, theatre, film
and radio and continues to collaborate with
artists from all genres of music including
traditional Japanese instrumentalists.
"Nagata's tremendous passion and discipline
constantly manifests itself in mesmerizing
The Ensemble has been featured on CBC
Television's It's a Living, MuchMoreMusic's Clip
Trip, and had a concert broadcast nationally by
CBC Radio's In Performance. The KNE, in addition
to having recorded four CDs of original music,
produces its own annual concert where it
premieres new works and collaborates with guest
Featuring an arsenal of taiko (including the
massive O-Daiko drum), bamboo flutes, the
three-stringed shamisen and an array of gongs,
cymbals, shakers and wood blocks, the Kiyoshi
Nagata Ensemble will take you on a musical
journey beyond all borders.
"Nagata can carry off both the technique and
showmanship needed to make the taiko drums sing."
Globe and Mail
Presented by the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble
Directed by Aki Takahashi
Two Performances Only!
Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 8pm
Al Green Theatre in the Miles Nadal JCC (corner of Bloor and Spadina)
All tickets $25 (students and seniors $20 with valid ID)
Tickets are now available and can be purchased
online at www.uofttix.ca/view.php?id=151
calling 416.978.8849 or in person at the Hart
House Box Office, 7 Hart House Circle, University
of Toronto, (Monday through Friday, 11am to 5pm),
or in person at the Al Green Theatre on
For more information please visit www.kiyoshinagata.com
President and Director of Publicity
FLIP Publicity & Promotions Inc.
720 Bathurst Street, Suite 403
Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 2R4
416.533.7710 X224 fax 416.533.7797
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