By Wendy Wang (Age 14), Edward Wang (Age 8), Tom Yang (Age 13)
Nagata Sachu – Drum Performance
Boom! Boom! Boom! The Japanese Taiko drum ensemble, Nagata Sachu, was drumming at the West Jet Stage. We sat amongst the crowded audience and enjoyed the performance. We heard the drummers hitting the drums with wooden sticks as soon as we walked near to the West Jet Stage. It was such a loud sound! Each piece of music was better than the one before.
Most of their songs were imitations of nature, such as horses in the springtime. We could hear the horses' hoof beats as they raced across the meadow. During the song "Echoes of the Heart", we heard a steady heartbeat amidst the melody.
The name Nagata Sachu was taken from its leader, Kiyoshi Nagata, and sachu, an old Japanese term for "group". Nagata has been Taiko drumming for 31 years, ever since he was inspired at 12 years old.
"Our group started in 1998 and has been performing across Canada, United States and Europe for almost 15 years. In fact, we'll be celebrating our 15th anniversary with a concert this coming November," he said.
"We are constantly practicing and preparing. In the beginning, it was hard to memorize all the beats while listening to each drummer's part in a song. Not only that, there is also physical strain, such as muscle strain and back pain. Our last song imitated fishermen reeling in their catch and there was good reason for it to be the last song we played. We were more or less worn out after that song." Nagata said before adding, “That's why we always stretch before playing!"
He just loves making music. The hard work paid off, as Nagata mentioned, the feeling when he performs is so hard to put into words. It goes somewhere along the lines of exhilarating, satisfying and fun. He wasn't the only person that thought it was fun, Tricia Evelya, an audience member who was sitting beside us was impressed with the drummers' power and strength.
"What a wonderful performance! I like how the drummers play together in sync and how they explained the meaning of each song."
The drums came in all shapes and sizes, from the size of a plate to the size a flat-screen TV! All their recording, equipment and costumes were made in Japan. They also teach Taiko drumming in Scarborough for all skill levels.
"It would be cool to see a gong next time, but until then and I want to say a big thank you to Nagata Sachu," Evelya said.
Tea Dyeing Workshop
Next, the crew learned about dyeing fabrics using a natural process. Our instructor, Debbie Arruda, who studied textile design, gave us a peek into the world of tea dyeing.
"The fun thing about tea dyeing is that it is an adventure. You never know how it will turn out and each time it will create something new,” Debbie said. “Best of all, it's easy, something you can do at home within a few hours."
- First, you make tea. Put a couple tea bags into boiling water; wait until the water gets dark, in tea colour.
- Then, you dip your white fabric into it. You can also test out many different methods. For example, bounding the cloth tightly with string before dipping in the dye, dipping some parts longer than others or just dunking it in!
- Experiment with it and have fun.
Soon after, we participated in a form of storytelling that originated in Southeast Asia.
It was invented by an emperor in Han Dynasty who was trying to remember his lover. The traditional puppets were made of leather. Our puppets were made out of black construction paper and wooden sticks.
Our instructor, Alexandra Iglesias, is a visual arts teacher. She was the one, who explained all that we need to know about making shadow puppets.
We liked shadow puppets very much.
After we finished, we ran to the WestJet stage for our last event for the evening. But we found out that White Jade, the band we were expecting to watch, wasn't there. There was a notice saying that it has been transferred to the Redpath Stage. We moved fast to the Redpath Stage. We arrived right before the show start.
White Jade is a unique Chinese band from Shanghai. The band is based in Shanghai and contains 8 members and this was their first trip to Canada and we think they made a great impression. Dressed in unusual yet fashionable black and white outfits, this band pulled off a new trend of music. They combined electronic rhythms with traditional instruments, such as the Pipa (Chinese lute), Guzheng (Chinese zither), Erhu (Chinese violin) and Dizi (Chinese flute).
The performance lasted half an hour; they managed to play so many songs. When it was time to interview, we rushed and chased down the band members. We were lucky that we caught them when they were hanging out outside the clubhouse. We got to interview the lead of the band, Tao Ye.
“I've been playing since I was 10," said Tao Ye. "I soon grew in love with the instrument and music. My dad is also a flute player. I saw him play all the time. He inspired me," said Tao Ye.
When we asked him what was his favourite part about performing. He said, “We love interacting with the audience!"
That is true because they even came down from the stage and danced with the audience! After playing a remix of the popular Chinese song "Mo Li Hua", the band managed to execute a cover of the songs "Move Like Jagger" and "Oppa Gangnam Style". Lots of people started dancing wildly during these popular songs.
Tao also mentioned that Sunday at the Harbourfront was the last performance for the band in Canada. They will move on to tour Europe next. He says he hopes to come back to Canada again. If you ever see them perform in Canada again, listen to their performance and they will get your ears very satisfied!
We were really amazed at how they performed. It was great music! If anyone told us to rate them, we would give it a ten out of five! We even got a souvenir from them, which was a cute panda hat.
From our missing member
By Angela Zhao (Age 12)
Voice K’s summer camp and members gathered enthusiastically at Harbourfront for the Fortune Cookie Festival. I wish I was there, but I couldn’t make it. Though I was lucky that on Monday, my friends from the camp told me about the trip and showed me pictures of the all the events.
I was introduced to the shadow puppets. The history of shadow puppets is very romantic. It all started in China by a king, who tried to make a shadow puppet for his lover. The other campers showed me the Shadow puppets that they made. Edward made a dinosaur, Tom made a fish and Wendy made a horse.
If I was there, I would enjoy all of the events, but mostly the tea dying because it sounded like fun. The idea of dipping a fabric and making a pattern is very interesting.