First Asheville Percussion Festival Announced

The Asheville Percussion Festival is scheduled to take place June 8th-10th, 2012 at the Creative Technology and Arts Center – Odyssey School in Asheville, North Carolina. The theme of this first annual event is ‘Tradition to Innovation’.

Asheville-based percussion master River Guerguerian will host the festival. There will be workshops with master teachers such as Jamey Haddad (Paul Simon’s percussionist), David Cossin (who tours with Sting) and many other local and regional teachers. Topics covered include performing, improvising and composing. There will be a concert with the master teachers for the community on Saturday, June 9th at 8:00 pm.

The goal of the Asheville Percussion Festival is to offer a creative environment where percussionists of all traditions gather to explore, create and innovate. World-class percussionists will trade ideas about performing, improvising and educating. Over the course of the weekend there will be workshops for drummers of all levels and concerts for the community.


Jamey Haddad is highly regarded as one of the foremost world and jazz percussionists in the United States. For the past nine years Haddad has performed as Paul Simon’s percussionist and played with countless others including Yo Yo Ma and Esperanza Spalding. He teaches at Berklee College of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory.

David Cossin can play just about any percussion instrument. A leading specialist and composer in new and experimental music, he performed last year with Sting on his world tour and currently plays with Steve Reich and Bang on a Can All-Stars.

River Guerguerian is the Artistic Director of the Asheville Percussion Festival and is known all over the globe for his unique hybrid set-ups that include frame drums, hand drums and drumsets that can be applied to many styles of music. He plays with Omar Faruk Tekbilek, his world jazz trio Free Planet Radio and is an active touring, recording and teaching artist.

Raquy Danziger is one of the most popular performers, teachers and composers of Middle Eastern Drumming today. Her band, Raquy and the Cavemen, a duo with Liron Peled, tours all over the world. She now lives in Istanbul and New York.

Rohan Krishnamurthy has been acclaimed as a “percussion prodigy.” He will teach and demonstrate Indian classical percussion. He plays tabla, mridangam, and kanjira, and teaches at the Eastman School of Music.

Rohan Krishnamurthy is a leading, young musical ambassador of Indian music and percussion. A specialist in South Indian percussion, Rohan has performed in hundreds of concerts, presented Indian percussion summer camps, workshops, and academic lecture-/ at eminent institutions Rohan founded and directs an Indian percussion ensemble at the Eastman School of Music. Rohan will offer lessons in Indian drumming and vocal percussion techniques.

Jeff Sipe (aka “The Apartment Q-258”) has an amazing touch and feel on the drumset. He is well known on the touring circuit and has performed with Trey Anastasio, Bela Fleck, Steve Vai, John Medeski, Joan Osborn and his own group the Aquarium Rescue Unit.

Adama Dembele is a master 33rd generation Djembe player from Ivory Coast, Africa.He has traveled internationally and leads his own group Zansa, and is a frequent guest with afro-surf-rock outfit Toubab Krewe.

Michael Lipsey is an incredible educator and plays everything from Afro-Cuban percussion to Balinese Gamelan. He is the Director of the Percussion program and the New Music Ensemble at the Aaron Copland School of Music as well as the City University of New

Matthew Richmond is an accomplished jazz vibraphonist and is well known in the Western North Carolina community. He is currently a member of the Asheville Symphony, Stephanie’s Id, and is a Percussion instructor at UNC-Asheville.


There will be workshops for beginners and advanced players that will focus on the following styles:
Middle Eastern, West African, Indian, Drumset, Jazz Vibes, South American, Performance Techniques, Improvising, Composing, Electronics, Microphone Techniques, Multiple hand drum set-ups, Hybrid set-ups.

Friday 3-6pm
Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 11am-5pm


Frame drums, riq tambourine, kanjira, dumbek, jembe, talking drum, ashiko, conga, gongs, pandeiro, cajon, drumset, tabla, mridangam, singing bowls, shakers, vibes

*Bring you own drums, but some will be available (please RSVP Adam if you need one)

Concerts – June 8th & 9th 8:00 pm
Friday night concert will include performances from the teachers and local talent from Brazilian and African troupes, as well as Jazz and Middle Eastern music.

Saturday Night will feature a ‘Masters Concert’ with the collaborative efforts from all the teachers. They will create new and innovative percussion pieces through an Artist Retreat that will take place the week before.

There will be opportunities for participants to jam with each other and the teachers.

Asheville Percussion Festival
June 8th-10th 2012
All Concerts and Workshops will be held at:
Creative Technology & Arts Center
Odyssey Community School
90 Zillicoa St.
Asheville, NC 28801

More information:

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.


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