Banging his own drum

Bringing his unique percussionist stylings, as well as some homemade instruments, Tatsuya Nakatani comes to Israel for one show only.

drum 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy )
drum 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy )
Southern Tel Aviv's Levontin 7 is constantly proving itself a great place to expose oneself to new music. This charming venue offers a wide range of shows, from rock to experimental jazz. Many of Israel's most successful bands started out playing the stage of the bar/concert space's basement level. This Sunday evening renowned percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani will take the stage on Levontin Street for a one-night-only performance. Nakatani marches to the beat of his own drum. Literally. The Japanese-born, Pennsylvania-based musician is not satisfied with conventional percussion. In order to express the many feelings, inspirations and nuances that flow through him, he has taken to creating his own instruments. In addition to a traditional drum set, Nakatani sits amongst bells, gongs, bowls and oddly shaped metal objects during his unusual performances. In a recent interview with Billboard, he explained, "When you make your own instrument, you play your own way too. Also, you have to invent or practice your special skill for that instrument." Drawing his influence from every day life, Nakatani says, "As a musician, I am constantly on the move. I meet people and see strange and funny things every day. I have been inspired by traveling." When Nakatani is at his home in Easton, PA, he occupies himself with gardening and tending to his land. The combination of the difficulty of growing vegetables and the pleasure of making music, strike a balance through which Nakatani finds contentment. He began playing music as a teenager in Osaka, Japan and it has taken him over twenty-five years to hone his skill. Since relocating to America, Nakatani has taught master classes and workshops in universities and schools to students of all ages. In addition, he runs an independent record label called H&H Productions. Considered a drummer, Nakatani's relationship to the instrument is quite unique. His style, he explains, was born by stripping away regular methods of producing sound. "Percussion instruments are not only for hitting. You can bow, scratch, bang or blow. There are endless new ideas. Making new instruments or inventing a new way to use an existing musical instrument is a way to create your own sound, rather than using what is available on the market." Expectedly, Nakatani's style is anything but mainstream. His sound and style are drawn mainly from improvisational jazz, using loose structure and untraditional sound. Consequently, his shows, which are often solo appearances, consist of a host of rare noises. Nakatani's tours his brand of music the world over, enjoying a hectic and exciting schedule that takes him around America and Europe in particular. In 2006, he performed in more than eighty cities and collaborated with a multitude of internationally acclaimed artists. As for his influences, Nakatani cites German bassist Peter Kowald, soprano saxophonist Michel Doneda and Yasuhiro Yoshigaki, who was his teacher as a teenager. This will be Nakatani's first time in Israel, an event, he says, that he is very much looking forward to. Tatsuya Nakatani performs at Levontin 7 on Sunday, April 26 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are NIS 50. For more information call (03) 560-5084.