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A Caravan to his beat

When Kiyoshi Nagata was in the market for a new car three years ago, he had a fairly unique prerequisite.

When Kiyoshi Nagata was in the market for a new car three years ago, he had a fairly unique prerequisite. He needed a vehicle that could accommodate seven drums, each one the size of a large wine barrel.

As the artistic director of Nagata Shachu, the Japanese drumming ensemble he founded a decade ago, the Toronto native needed a reliable car that was big enough to transport himself, his drums and his drummers to their various concerts and performances around the city, but one that wasn’t a gas guzzler, like the Chevy Astro Cargo Van he had previously driven.

Nagata settled on a 2003 Dodge Caravan.

“It is just very practical,” he says. “When I take out the two back seats, I can fit seven drums in there. And when I’m not driving my drums around, I’m driving my drummers around because there’s seven of us.”

Explaining the history behind Japanese drums, called Taiko, Nagata says, “It’s a tradition that has existed in Japan for over 2,000 years. Originally the drums were used during times of prayer. It’s been used in the battlefields of Japan in times of great wars. Village boundaries were also determined by how far away you could walk away from the drum in any direction and still hear it.”

When he’s not touring with his group, Nagata teaches Taiko at the University of Toronto and at the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Nagata Shachu will be performing their thunderous drumbeats at the Al Green Theatre on Nov. 27, 28 and 29. Tickets can be purchased on line at www.uofttix.com.

– Heather Buchan is a Toronto-based journalist whohas worked at several magazines, including Hello! Canada, where she cut her teeth in the world of celebrities.

 
 
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