"Nagata Shachu primal
drum concert an unforgettable experience." Full
Ken Keaton, Palm Beach Daily News
Review of Nagata Shachu's production IROHA in Ottawa in Carleton
Preview of Nagata Shachu's production IROHA in the Nov 5 edition
of the Toronto Sun
"The physical intensity of their performance, as well as their
mechanical efficiency and almost inhuman rhythmic accuracy, was
unstoppable. That it could be done with such unique grace of movement
and confidence is wholly unbelievable; athletic fireworks stippling
the Elora Festival's worthy closing ceremony." Full
Dawn Stevenson, The Guelph Mercury
"What makes these
performers irresistible is their extremely high level of musicianship
evidenced in their virtuosic technique, discipline, precision, and
energy. At the same time there is an air of humility and grace as
they enthusiastically bound around the stage assuming various percussion
configurations. ...The effect was a spectacular visual and aural
display, as well as a wonderful celebration of Japanese life and
culture. In response, the crowd sprang to their feet with their
own boisterous display of inevitable rhythm, sound and celebration."
Stephen Preece, The Record (Kitchener)
"...even with the name change, it was hard not to identify
the distinctive sound of the group, and moreover, their flawless
execution of complicated sets like that of their recent performance."
Kimberly Fu, Scene and Heard
"To say they played
with mechanical precision would sound too sterile; while meter perfect,
their minimalist style spoke more of humanity's quest for spiritual
Tim McCloskey, The Lance
"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 drumming-and-dancing
repertoire." Full review.
John Terauds, Toronto Star
"...Nagata's tremendous passion and discipline constantly manifests
itself in mesmerizing performances."
Errol Nazareth, Toronto Sun
"Nagata can carry off both the technique and showmanship needed
to make the taiko drums sing."
Paula Citron, Globe and Mail
intricate costume designs, mesmerizing rhythms and jaw-dropping
Kimberly Fu, Scene and Heard
"The Kiyoshi Nagata
Ensemble took the audience by surprise with their Japanese taiko
drumming and flawlessly choreographed performance. Kiyoshi's simplicity
and precision was riveting, especially during Aki Takahashi's spotlight
on vocals and the three-stringed shamisen."
Anna Ash, Michigan Daily
"The focus of the ensemble is to rejuvenate this ancient art
form with modern interpretations. The result is rhythm-driven sound
with an exciting visual component. The musicians are also athletes.
Playing the over-sized drums through a series of choreographed movements
that look like synchronized martial arts. It's possible that Nagata
composes the soundtrack to a good ass kicking"
Alli Marshall, Mountain Xpress North
"Worthy of special
mention from Friday's sets [Ann Arbor Folk Festival]...folk-drumming
troupe Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble, whose athletic performance was amazing
to eye and ear."
Roger Lelievre, Ann Arbor News
18th saw the return of the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble to Lake Superior
State University for a tremendous night of traditional Japanese
drums and music which helped every one of us catch a golden glimpse
of the Land of the Rising Sun. The drum's haunting melodies reverberated
across the Arts Center bringing the hearer into a different place
into the enchanting aura of Japan. Each of the musical pieces was
a work of genius combining the old with the new..."
John Petkus, The Compass Online LSSU
extremely varied and nuanced spectrum of sound and rhythm"
Karen Ages, The Wholenote (on the CD 'Kiro')
Feature article in the
Globe and Mail.
(Oct 13, 2006)
Feature article in the Toronto
Sun. (Oct 9, 2006)
Feature article in the
(Nov 15, 2006)
the five-member taiko group took to the stage, the powerful sounds
the slight drummers generated were astounding. At times, arms moved
so quickly they were but a blur, and then they slowed, becoming
majestic synchronized movements - perfect percolating percussion."
Olga Boutsis Herrmann, Scarborough Mirror
"One of Saturday night's highlights was the five-member Kiyoshi
Nagata Ensemble, a Japanese taiko drum group, who combined synchronized
dance moves with their hammering beat. They received a standing
ovation from the hundreds who watched from portable chairs or who
lounged on the grass."
Kevin Grasha, Lansing
State Journal, MI
"An emotional and
exhilarating two hours of thunderous and hypnotic drumming."
Tammy Wilson, Bancroft
beat of the traditional Japanese drums reverberated through the
soles of feet, massaged backs, and changed the rhythms of hearts..."
Sarah Bissonette, Parry Sound North Star
"Ace musicianship and innovative song structure aside, this
is all about the power of subtlety and silence."
Errol Nazareth, Eye Weekly (on the CD 'Kiro')
attitude of meticulous care and pride is striking. It is what captivates
the audience from the moment the musicians walk on stage to perform.
Power sweetened by restraint is magnetic. ...Every pulse is packed
with subtle inflection. Each drummer seems to be speaking in a very
specific way through his or her drum. It's like listening to a story.
The rhythm builds as one cycle of sound is superimposed upon another.
There's a natural yet highly organized structure to what we're hearing.
The kind of structure you hear in a thunderstorm, or see in a sunrise."
Kristen John, U of T Underground
"The compositions and expert playing made for an evening of
revelatory music; tourniquet-tight story telling on various Japanese
drums properly known as Taiko....the various solos performed throughout
the show by all the members were focused and tight, leaving the
audience cheering throughout the numbers much as with a jazz show
audience. And this is important, as there is a degree of improvisation
in the numbers. Whereas some compositions for percussion [and jazz]
can fall into alienating self-indulgence, each performance by the
Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble was an electrifying surprise; edge of your
seat stuff." Full
R. Glenn Curry, CityGigs.com
Japanese percussion group, the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble, made its
first gala visit (Dancers For Life at the Hummingbird Centre). Nagata's
group is both multicultural and cross-gender, and it was wonderful
to see a young woman take on the huge taiko drum."
Paula Citron, Globe and Mail
"Nagata's wonderful karate-kata-like playing of the chappa
(small cymbals) was simply fascinating. And not just for the variety
of rhythms and tones he could produce, but in the ceremonial athleticism
of the playing itself."
Hugh Fraser, Hamilton Spectator
"Gone is the melody and the beat, but the memory lives
on... If you were
part of the wall-to-wall audience who crammed the Mill Race Amphitheater,
watching the river run by and listening to the sensational Kiyoshi
Nagata Ensemble, youll know what I mean. Theyre one
of the few groups in North America who own and play on a full set
of authentic taiko (Japanese drum). And what a sound they produce.
The Ensemble gave us powerful music, beautiful in its simplicity,
with relentless, energetic rhythms that hypnotized the audience.
Well, at least enthralled and entranced us. The Festival couldnt
have ended more dramatically."
Margaret Hitchcock, Old Chestnuts Song Circle Newsletter
thoughtfulness Nagata invests in his art isn't just evidenced in
how gongs, flutes, shakers and Japanese cymbals perfectly compliment
the ensemble's battery of drums. It's also in how he titles his
albums. Koku, by the way, means 'empty sky'."
Errol Nazareth, Eye Weekly (on the CD 'Koku')
those who are not acquainted with the talents of this group or the
melodic beauty that the Taiko represents, I need only two words
to describe the experience: simply breathtaking... One needs only
to meet the determined eyes of each performer in order to gain a
sense of their dedication and ability. Undoubtedly, these artists
have stocked up endless hours of rehearsal time to display this
level of skill and talent. Like a musical mantra, the many tones
created by the Taiko drummers became a vehicle that could transport
the audience to worlds of serenity, anticipation, and excitement."
Greg Brown, U of T Underground
commanding was the performance by internationally renowned drummers
Kiyoshi Nagata Taiko Ensemble. Such energetic and powerful artistry
was a treasure to experience."
Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia
Kodo discipline best displayed in Nagata's hypnotic solo piece and
an apocalyptic show closer."
Matt Galloway, Now
rhythms from a freestyle Japanese drum solo backed by flute and
bass drum beat by the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble opened the evening
(Dancers for Life at the Hummingbird Centre)."
Janice Mawhinney, Toronto Star
the sounds of the thunderous clapping, the Japanese Drums Show was
an audience favourite. The show was put on by a Toronto-based group
called the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble, named after the leader of the
group. As the band pounded away on their taiko drums, the audience
sat quietly in their seats, mesmerized."
Bridget Roussy, The Online Pioneer (Bellville)
"Employing fourteen different types of drums, bells, gongs
as well as Shinobue (Japanese Folk Flute) Nagata's studio album,
Tenkai, combines wonderfully spare moments of rhythmic intricacy
with the loud forcefulness of deep drumbeats. Because taiko drumming
is so unique when played live, the album isn't attempting to reproduce
that sound onto disc. By employing the flute and stressing the subtleties
of taiko drumming, Tenkai, produces a sound that will seep into
your brain when you think you're paying attention to something else
and produce a relaxing sensation."
Max Ritts, The U of T Varsity (on the CD 'Tenkai')
a percussionist's delight."
Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star (on the CD 'Tenkai')
beautifully spare solo album..."
Erin Hawkins, Eye (on the CD 'Tenkai')