Japanese percussionist bring unique show to Artist Block

Tatsuya Nakatani is bringing his unique, improvised acoustic percussion performance to Penticton.

Japanese percussionist bring unique show to Artist Block

Tatsuya Nakatani is seemingly always on the road.

Not only is his acoustic percussion show completely improvised, making each set a unique experience, but he applies the same explorative techniques to his career, as he embarks on a journey to Alaska, with a stop in Penticton at the 557 Artist Block along the way.

The 46-year-old creative artist and percussionist originally from Osaka, Japan came to the U.S. 22 years ago. He has released over 60 recordings in North America and Europe and has played at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. as well as the John F. Kennedy Centre for the Performing Arts, among many more.

He lived and worked, learning English as a second language, day by day when he came to America.

“It’s definitely hard,” Nakatani said, admitting that he is still learning the ins and outs of the language.

When the Western News caught up with Nakatani, he was on his way from Minneapolis to play a show in Montana, driving 1,000 miles with his unique gear in tow.

He is often travelling, almost constantly since the ‘90s he said, with this latest trip headed for Alaska bringing in new adventures and challenges.

“I’ve never driven there. I’m very much looking forward to coming to new places and having new experiences,” Nakatani said.

He started playing drums in his high school band which evolved into an exploration of different genres and different styles including jazz and contemporary music. In the ‘90s he became more interested in fleshing out sounds and performing his own brand of music. Gradually developing his own method of performing, viewing music and sound from unorthodox angles, he now constructs long-form, improvised music which he said tells a story. The show is 100 per cent acoustic bringing out different elements of percussion.

“It’s called percussion, but people imagine percussion instruments like Latin percussion, bongos, symbols, but I do it a different way. I use a conventional drum kit, kind of, but I’m very selective of each item,” Nakatani said. “There are so many different sticks and metallic objects and I make different sounds.”

He experiments with all sounds, using an entire range of unconventional ways to make music whether that be through traditional or created instruments.

“You can do so many things with sound,” Nakatani said.

He has a bit of a reputation as a bowed gong player, hand-made bows like one would see a cello player use.

“The gong, people kind of only think of ‘bwang’ getting hit by a mallet, it’s a funny sound and everybody loves it, but I (use a bow) on them. I make handmade bows,” Nakatani said.

Nakatani is able to make harmonies with the longer and gentler sounds created by the gongs, large, hand-hammered Chinese gongs, making different notes and textures, with a notably different way of creating sound.

“I can sing into the gong, instead of just hitting it,” Nakatani said.

Nakatani also employs Japanese Buddhist bows, specially carved sticks and once and awhile he uses kitchen utensils.

“All of these instruments are carefully tuned and matched in sound depth, to balance my family of percussion instruments,” Nakatani said.

Each show is completely unique, improvising on stage every time he performs. While in his younger days he would explore creating new sounds, but now he is very much in control of the improvised work he creates.

“Sometimes a surprising new sound will come out, but I know exactly what I’m playing,” Nakatani said.

He does this by harnessing control of “Ma,” the Japanese word for space, distance or silence.

“I have found that Ma complements sound itself,” Nakatani said.

Asked why he gravitated to the improvised method, Nakatani wasn’t really sure.

“I have no choice actually, it chose me,” Nakatani laughed. “I’ve been playing for 30 years in music. I’m on this path and just doing things, improvised was the choice because I’m good at it I think.”

Tatsuya Nakatani comes to the 557 Artist Block on Aug. 16 with local openers the Wedman Zappa duo. Doors open at 8p.m. and tickets are $10.

Tickets are available online at www.pentictonartscouncil.com.




Just Posted

People decided to tag Skaha Bluffs rocks which the Ministry has to go in and now clean up. (Facebook)
Bluffs at popular Penticton rock climbing park defaced

Ministry of Environment is going to clean it up

The City of Penticton is beginning plans to revitalize its north entrance on Highway 97. (Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton reviewing ideas on how to make the city’s north gateway more vibrant

The city has plans to redevelop the area into a welcoming and attractive entrance

A portion of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail near Naramata will be closed temporarily for upgrade work, including paving. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Upgrades plannned for trail near Naramata

Surface improvement work will mean temporary trail closure

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Skaha Bluffs climbing spots. (Monique Tamminga)
New parking lot and picnic area coming to Penticton’s Skaha Bluffs

The city will turn the access point at Crow Place into a parking and picnic area

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

Vernon Courthouse. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Sentencing delayed in North Okanagan child pornography case

Man who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography will have new sentence date fixed next week

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Phil McLachlan/(Black Press Media
Man shot at Kamloops shopping centre

The man is believed to be in stable condition

The location of the vehicle incident near Chase that currently has Highway 1 closed in both directions, according to DriveBC. (Black Press staff)
Hwy 1 closed in both directions east of Chase due to vehicle incident

Detour is in effect and drivers are encouraged to reroute to Highway 97 or Highway 97B

Most Read