About Us

Isshin Daiko is a community music ensemble in Toronto, Canada that plays traditional Japanese instruments including taiko (drum), fue (bamboo flutes) and chappa (cymbals). Performances consist of both traditional pieces and contemporary compositions by founder Kiyoshi Nagata and current and past group members.


Isshin Daiko logo

Isshin Daiko was formed in the spring of 1996 after Reverend Grant Ikuta, then of the Toronto Buddhist Church, approached Kiyoshi Nagata, a Toronto-based taiko performer, about starting an ensemble at the church as a means to reach out to the larger Toronto community through music. Its members are both church and non-church people of all walks of life. As a group, Isshin Daiko has studied taiko with Yoshikazu Fujimoto and Eiichi Saito of Kodo, and Leonard Eto, former music director of Kodo.


Photo of Kiyoshi NagataKiyoshi Nagata has been performing in a career that spans over 35 years. Other than Isshin Daiko, he helped form the community taiko group Do-Kon Daiko in Burlington, and he was involved with both groups for several years before forming his own group, the professional Japanese music ensemble Nagata Shachu. You can find out more about Kiyoshi and Nagata Shachu at the Nagata Shachu website.



Michelle Wendt


Mandy Fung


Miyuki Fukuma

Izumi Sakamoto


  • Kalman Andrasofszky
  • Gerard Bakker
  • Kathy Bocsi
  • Francisco Brito
  • Heidi Chan
  • Julia Cleveland
  • Jackie Craig
  • Sam Hirst
  • Rev. Grant Ikuta
  • John Kerr
  • Lisa Kuly
  • Millean Kung
  • Scott Kusano
  • Margaret Lee
  • Megan MacKenzie
  • Yoshiko Matsuda
  • Dave Mazierski
  • Pam McBurney
  • John Morgan
  • Sumiko Oda
  • Pam Oiye
  • Craig Ono
  • Laura Ono
  • Marnie Roper-Campbell
  • Jeff Shimizu
  • Amelia Spinelli
  • Elaine Takahashi
  • Kenji Tokawa
  • Steve Wenzel
  • Bruce Yano

Darlene Rieger

Darlene Rieger is a founding member of Isshin which formed in 1996. Darlene has studied under Kiyoshi Nagata (founder and Artistic Director of Nagata Shachu), Aki Takahashi (founder of Ten Ten), Heidi Chan (Knife Goes On Sound) and Akemi Akachi; all members of Nagata Shachu Canada's Renowned Professional Taiko Ensemble. Darlene has also attended workshops held by Kodo, visiting taiko groups from Japan and also a visiting dance instructor from Montreal. All her efforts have been to improve her skills in her one passion "Taiko".

Isshin Daiko has been a very big part of her life and she hopes that Isshin will continue to grow, develop, and to bring the music of taiko to the community through their performances and workshops.


Sandy Usami

Sandy is a founding member of Isshin Daiko. She began studying taiko with Toronto's Suwa Daiko under the leadership of Kiysohi Nagata and continued her studies with Yakudo, participating in workshops with Nagata Shachu, the Kodo Drummers of Japan, Leonard Eto, and Wasabi Daiko. In taiko, she has found her ideal, the integration of music and movement.


Julia Cleveland

Julia has been a member of Isshin Daiko since 2001. Prior to joining Isshin, she studied Japanese drumming with Kiyoshi Nagata. She has been a member of renowned taiko drumming ensemble the Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble and toured Trinidad and Tobago as part of the Muhtadi International Drumming Festival with Isshin Daiko. She leads the youth taiko group, Jakurai, at the Toronto Buddhist Church. Julia is a Toronto jazz drummer and composer who leads a very talented quintet featuring many of her original compositions. She is also a freelance drummer/percussionist who performs a wide variety of classical, contemporary, new music, jazz and popular music in ensembles from as large as a symphony orchestra to as small as a duo. Her musical education includes a Bachelor degree in performance from the University of Toronto, an Applied Music Degree from Mohawk College and a Masters of Arts from York University. She is artistic director of Isshin Daiko, leading rehearsals, composing new works for the ensemble and preparing those works for performance.


Catherine Everett

Catherine is an elementary school teacher from Brampton. Her percussion adventures began with childhood piano lessons. She graduated to playing middle school drums and glockenspiel, then dabbled in African drumming at York University. While living and working in Okazaki, Japan, she saw an amazing taiko concert and was enthralled by the beauty of both the music and movement of taiko. Upon returning to Canada, she happened upon the Isshin workshop series and has been a happy drummer ever since!