Episode 37 Neil Bost

Neil Bost.jpg

Neil Bost graduated from Yucca Valley High School in 2009, where he participated in
the symphonic band and marching band drum line for four years. He graduated from
Humboldt State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in music performance and
music education. Other education includes summer workshops such as the
Explorations in Afro-Cuban Music and Dance workshop, which Neil has taken and
worked for every summer over the past four years. This workshop brought in master
drummers and dancers from Cuba and the United States to teach a week-long intensive
on Afro-Cuban music, dance and culture. California Brazil Camp is another summer
workshop that he has attended for the past five years, which hosts teachers from Brazil
and the US to teach a two week-long workshop on Brazilian music and culture.
In 2013 Neil was hired as musical director of Samba na Chuva, a musical troupe that
specializes in Brazilian styles of music and dance. As musical director he teaches
private and group drum lessons and composes arrangements to be performed in the
group’s annual performances. In 2014 Neil became director of Samba da Alegria
Community Drummers, a project of the Ink People through the non profit group Dance
and Drum in Humboldt, which focuses on community involvement through learning and
playing music. As director Neil teaches weekly drum classes year round as well as
organizes and leads the yearly samba parade of over 200 participants. In addition Neil
develops educational materials for the group such as musical charts, videos and
In spring of 2015 Neil was hired as a substitute teacher for several school districts in
Humboldt County. In fall of 2015 he was hired as an Instructional Aide for Trinidad
Elementary School, where he is an aide for the 8th grade classroom as well as an aide
for the music teacher. He has also been assisting the after school music programs at
both Trinidad and Blue Lake Elementary Schools for the past two years, which includes
group music instruction through use of the steel pan instrument. Neil also assisted two
separate week-long summer drum camps at both of these schools.
Neil has also performed in a multitude of groups on a variety of instruments. Performing
groups that Neil has participated in include sambAmore, a world music fusion group
which has toured extensively throughout the west coast as well as recorded multiple
albums. He also plays with the HSU Calypso Band which specializes in the steel pan
repertoire from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. During his seven years with the
HSU Calypso Band Neil has recorded three albums with the group, one of which
featured him as a soloist, and has had the opportunity to direct the steel band of over 50
people in the director’s absence on multiple occasions. Other groups include Steel
Standing, a small steel band that fused traditional steel pan music with various other
styles, which recorded two albums that featured Neil as a soloist on multiple tracks. He
has also served as Principal Percussionist of the Eureka Symphony since 2015.


Brazilian Beat Podcast Coupon-1.png
Brazilian Beat Podcast Coupon-2.png

Episode 36 Zachary Himelhoch Samba Nashville

Himelhoch_Head Shot.jpg

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Zachary Himelhoch is a world-percussionist with specialization in Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and Caribbean styles. Zachary has performed with numerous artists including Chance The Rapper, Denny Jiosa, Andy Narell, Lenny Castro, Etienne Charles, The Cool Kids, Daru Jones, Mark Walker, and Dave Garfield at events throughout the country including The Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Lollapalooza, the Detroit Jazz Festival, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival Benefit Concert, Windsor Jazz Festival, and the Syracuse Jazz Festival. Currently, he serves as the house percussionist for Tom Hurst presents The Loud Jamz. 

As a World Percussion Specialist in Metro Nashville Public Schools, Zachary teaches Brazilian, West African, Cuban, and Caribbean percussion to students ranging from Grades 2-12. For the past year, he has taught World Percussion for the Classroom, designed to help teachers integrate world percussion into the classroom setting, as an Adjunct Instructor for VanderCook College of Music.

Studying extensively under the direction of Ruben Alvarez, Skip “Brinquito” Burney, Tom Hipskind, Jarett Hicks, James Coviak, and Al DiBlassio, Zachary received his Bachelor of Arts in Instrumental Performance from Columbia College Chicago and his Masters in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music. He has taught clinics and master classes in percussion at a number of venues including the Jim Lee Fine Arts Camp, Columbia College Chicago, Holly Middle School, Mott Community College, Vanderbilt University, VanderCook College of Music, and Metro Nashville Public Schools.

Zachary owns and operates ZJH Percussion, a company providing instructional programs, presentations, and private tutoring in all aspects of world percussion. ZJH Percussion, in collaboration with Columbia College Chicago’s Community Arts Partnership and the Music Institute of Chicago, served Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Parks District for over four years through the provision of culture and music education to underprivileged learners through the Chicago area. ZJH Percussion now serves the greater Nashville area.


Zachary's Thesis:



get his thesis link

Episode 35 Moyseis Marques


Moyseis Marques is a singer, composer, and guitarist. He began his professional career in 1998 and in the past 18 years of his career he has dedicated himself fully to the rhythms of Brazil, particularly samba, forró, and so-called MPB ("Música Popular Brasileira").

He is a founder of the bands "Casuarina", "Forró na Contramão" and "Tempero Carioca", and in 2001 he began playing frequently in the bars of Lapa -- the bohemian heart of Rio de Janeiro – and participating actively in Lapa's revitalization (along with other leading lights of the Rio music scene). Since then, he has established himself as one of the principal talents of the generation of sambistas that emerged from the resurgence of Lapa. He has released five albums, "Moyseis Marques" (Deck Disc,2007), “Fases do Coração" (Deck Disc 2009), “Pra Desengomar" (Biscoito Fino 2012), “Casual Solo" (Fina Flor, 2014) and "Made in Brasil" (Sarau, 2015),

His repertoire of original compositions includes partnerships with a litany of Brazil's best known musical poets, from both the "old school" and the "new school." He is a partner of luminaries such as Aldir Blanc, Edu Krieger, Nei Lopes, Moacyr Luz, Zé Paulo Becker, Alfredo Del -Penho, Joyce Moreno, Ivan Lins, Zé Renato, Khrystal , Socorro Lira, Pedro Luís, João Cavalcanti, Vidal Assis, João Martins and Yamandu Costa among many others.

He has received nominations for Best Album and Best Singer  in two consecutive years in the National Prize of Brazilian Music, was the star of the musical "Ópera do Malandro" (staged by João Falcão, that debuted at Rio's Municipal Theatre in 2015), and has a long list of shows and recordings to his name all over Brazil, the US, and Europe. He has shared the stage with a "who's who" of Brazilian music, including Chico Buarque, Arlindo Cruz, Paulinho da Viola, Martinho da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Moraes Moreira and Luiz Melodia.

Moyseis is also a long-time California Brazil Camp faculty member.

-Caetano Veloso
-Gilberto Gil
-Chico Buarque de Hollanda
-Tom Jobim
-Ellis Regina
-Maria Bethânia
-Luiz Gonzaga
-Jackson do Pandeiro
-Paulinho da Viola
-Zeca Pagodinho
-Arlindo Cruz

Moyseis Marques
By Moyseis Marques
Moyseis Marques
By Moyseis Marques

Episode 34 Bryan Cooperrider

Bryan Cooperrider photo.jpg

Bryan Cooperrider is an educator, designer, and musician. With a background in art and engineering, he received a masters in product design from Stanford University. He and his wife, also a product designer, run a design consulting firm in Flagstaff.

Bryan started playing piano at the age of eight, and his musical journey has never stopped. His love of music extends from American folk and jazz to Brazilian samba and Afro-Cuban roots music. He is a multi-instrumentalist, playing saxophone, guitar and percussion with various groups. In 2008 he founded Sambatuque, a Brazilian percussion bateria dedicated to the rhythms and grooves of the Brazilian nation, and he regularly appears around Flagstaff with his jazz ensemble The Flat Fives. He has composed many original arrangements for a Brazilian percussion ensemble which are frequently performed by Sambatuque.

Bryan has studied and collaborated with numerous master musicians. Among them, master Guinean drummer Amara Mansare, Jorge Martin from Recife Brazil, Marcus Santos, from Bahia, Dudu Fuentes from Batucalacatuca, Jorge Alabe, as well as American percussionists Brian Rice, Ami Molinelli, Michael Spiro, and body rhythm master Keith Terry, among others. As a teacher by training, Bryan leads frequent workshops. He has taken kindergartners on a round-the-world music tour, taught adults the intricacies of Brazilian groove, and body rhythm to people of all ages.

Bryan has served on local non-profit boards – Northern Arizona Audubon, Flagstaff Sister Cities. He feels that non-profits contribute a strong component of our cultural strength and is committed to helping them serve local communities.




Episode 33 Batalá New York Directors Deinya Phenix and Laura Torell

Deinya Phoenix and Laura Torell

Deinya Phoenix and Laura Torell

Batalá New York is a part of a global arts project made up of over 30 bands around the world. The music of Batalá originates in Salvador, the capital of the state of Bahia, in northeastern Brazil. The international Batalá family owes its existence to Giba Gonçalves, a percussionist, composer and choreographer from Salvador. The first representation of Batalá in New York City, known as ‘Batalá NYC,’ was born in 2012. In the summer of 2016, under new leadership, this band incorporated as a not-for-profit organization, now called simply ‘Batalá New York.’

Their instruments and costumes are all made in Salvador. The main musical genre they play is samba-reggae.


Episode 32 Alessandro Cardozo


Alessandro Cardozo is an accomplished cavaquinista, composer and music producer and musical director. His first steps into the music world were taken when he was only 8 years old. In spite of his young age, he went to serestas and rodas de choro. As a teenager, Cardozo decided to go further and deepen his studies; seeking further specialization, he enrolled in music classes. Alessandro is a true cavaquinho scholar, and such dedication and skills have led to being a sought after musician for rodas, recordings, and television, in both choro and samba.  

Alessandro has performed at festivals in various countries around the world, and with artists such as Beth Carvalho, Elza Soares, Marcos Sacramento, Zeca Pagodinho,Grupo Fundo de Quintal, Moyseis Marques, and he was a member of singer Luiz Melodia’s band.  

In 2010 he formed the instrumental ensemble, Rio Trio with Netinho Albuquerque (Pandeiro) and Leandro Saramago (Guitar 7 Strings),hoping to promote choro, keeping its traditions and playing music of the greats, like Waldir Azevedo, Pixinguinha, Ernesto Nazareth, João Pernambuco, Jacob do Bandolim and others. Besides these great names, the Rio Trio innovates by including in its repertoire composers of the new generation.

He currently is busy with many projects, including producing Diogo Nogueira’s upcoming release marking the artists 10 year anniversary music career.  If you are in Rio, look for one of his many performances.  

LInks to Projects




Episode 31 Lorin Hansen and Mason Aeschbacher of Samba Fogo

Lorin and Mason.jpg

Samba Fogo is a non-profit Cultural Arts Organization inspired many years ago by the excitement and beauty of Afro-Brazilian Music and Dance. For over a decade we have been studying, performing and teaching in Utah along the Wasatch Front and the Western United States.

Our mission is to enrich our community and inspire others through live performances, arts education, classes and workshops





Mason, Mestre Jonas, and Lorin

Mason, Mestre Jonas, and Lorin

Episode 30 Margareth Menezes


One of the most powerful voices of Brazilian popular music, Margareth Menezes has been in the Brazilian music scene for the last 30 years. She is famed for her energetic live performances and regularly tours and performs at carnival celebrations.  Her career began in 1987 when she recorded her first LP single (Pharaoh - Divinity of Egypt by Luciano Gomes) and sold more than 100,000 copies. True to her roots, she mixes elements of African, Brazilian, indigenous and pop music in a movement she calls Afropop Brasileiro Movement. She is famed for her energetic live performances and regularly tours and performs at carnival celebrations.

Margareth remains one of the most dynamic and popular of the contemporary Brazilian artists achieving international recognition.

Margareth Menezes has gained international prominence since the 1990s, when she joined the King Momo tour with the group, Talking Heads at the invitation of David Byrne. Since then, she has 22 international tours. Their album Kindala (1993), that had participation of Jimmy Cliff, yielded the first indication to the world-wide Grammy. With the CD Margareth Menezes Pra Você (2006) and the Brazilian CD / DVD (2006) was again indicated. In 2004, with the participation of Alcione and the Mangueira drummer, Margareth recorded her first DVD (Live at the Salvador Summer Festival), which sold 50,000 copies.

In addition to awards, the singer keeps in her career several successful songs, such as Dandalunda, Elegibô, Toté de Maianga, Selei (Salute to the Caboclo). In 2010, the artist released her most recent work, the DVD Naturalmente - Acústico, with contributions by Carlinhos Brown, Roberto Mendes, Luís Represas, Saul Barbosa and Marivaldo dos Santos from  Stomp.  


2 Grammy nominations

1 Indication to the Brazilian Music Prize

2 Caymmi Trophies

2 Press Trophies

4 Dodo and Osmar Trophies




Episode 29 Beto Guimaraes


Born and raised in Olinda in the state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil, Beto Guimareas is dedicated to sharing the richness of his culture through many forms of Brazilian dance such as Samba, Samba de Roda, Pagode, Coco de Roda, Samba Reggae, Frevo, and Maracatu. Beto has performed throughout the U.S, as well as internationally.. He is a long-time teacher of dance at California Brazil Camp, and is currently the director of dancer for Portland, Oregon’s MARACATUpdx..  



Episode 28 Chris Quade Couto

Chris Quade Couto was born in 1981 in Cologne/Germany.
He began his career as a musician already as a child and with only 15 years, specialized in Brazilian percussion. He played with famous artists like Dudu Nobre and Joyce Cândido, participated in intensive workshops in Brazilian and Cuban percussion with teachers like Dudu Tucci and Ravin Jayasuriya, played in groups such as Pimenta Malagueta, Tim Sein Lada and Cologne Street Beat, founded and directed the samba school Unidos de Colônia and the samba group Suco Legal and played percussion in the Samba Funk band Muamba.
Nowadays he is a musical director of Bloco X, singer and percussionist of the forró trio Capangas, percussionist of the Denise Krammer Trio, founder and percussionist of the Roda de Samba do Alemão and since 2004 he plays in the bateria of Unidos da Tijuca (winner of the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro in 2010, 2012 and 2014) and other samba schools in Rio.

Chris works as a musician and teacher of Brazilian percussion, as a producer of cultural events and CEO of the town twinning association Köln-Rio e.V.

He is famous for his excellent samba workshops, with which he travels each year throughout the whole world. During the last years, he visited many countries, such as Japan, USA, France, Italy, Poland, Finland, Sweden, Scotland, Serbia, Portugal, etc. and in spring 2010 even held a special workshop for the percussion students in the famous Conservatory of world music in Rotterdamm/Netherlands.
Chris is endorser for instruments of the brand Contemporânea.


Episode 27 Mestre Curtis Pierre

Curtis Pierre “The Samba Man” of New Orleans.

He is the founder and director of Casa Samba, the first School of Samba in the Louisiana and the Southern Region. Born and raised in the carnival traditions of New Orleans for the first 20 years of his life. He was introduced to Brazilian percussion in 1979 by Airto Moreira, world renown Brazilian drummer for Miles Davis. He later studies percussion with Bill Summers, percussionist for Herbie Hancock; Munyungo Jackson, percussionist for Stevie Wonder; and Ron Powell, percussionist for Sergio Mendez & Kenney G. just to name a few.

Since 1988 he has studied with many Masters of Samba percussion, whom are known in Brazil as Mestre de Bateria (Maestro of the percussion band). He has studied at some of the top Samba Schools (carnival groups) in Brazil with Mestres like Mestre Marcoa of Salgueiro, Mestre Jonus of Mocidade and Mestre Ailton of Mangueira just a few of the ones a long list of the very best. He has studied exclusively with master Brazilian folkloric and percussionist, Jorge Alabe from Rio de Janeiro in self-supported residency endeavor for over 15 years. In the past five years, he has also studied with master percussionist Marcio Peters from the world famous Brazilian Samba School, Ile Aye in Salvador Bahia.          
In 2004,  Curtis paraded with the percussion group for Salgueiro in Rio de Janeiro carnival,the biggest carnival performance in the world. In 2009, he gave a workshop to members of ILE AYE on Samba from Rio de Janeiro. In addition to all this, Curtis Pierre is a teacher of the Afro Brazilian martial arts Capoeira Angola for over 20 years.  He was taught by his master teacher of Capoeira Angola, Cobrinha Mansa of Salvador Bahia. 

Since 1998, Curtis Pierre "The Samba Man" has conducted his interactive Brazilian drumming programs at workshops, schools, museums, performing arts centers, libraries, conventions, festivals, and team-building events from California, Oregon, Washington & Washington D.C., New York, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, Arizona, and internationally in Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Korea.


Mardi Gras Mergin with Brasil Fa Show
By Curtis Pierre aka ?The SambaMan?


Casa Samba
Samba Kids
The Samba Man

Video of Curtis:

Video of Curtis' favorite memories from California Brazil Camp through the years

Episode 26 Reed Flygt

Reed Flygt is the Head Percussion Instructor at the Evanston Escola de Samba. Originally from Baraboo, Wisconsin, Reed is now enjoying life even more.  He is in his seventh year of teaching in Chicago Public Schools where he serves as a music instructor at Lane Tech College Prep High School. Reed attended the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, where he studied Instrumental Music Education and Percussion Performance with Dane Maxim Richeson. His further experience in African and Brazilian percussion comes from study with Nani Agbeli at the Dagbe Cultural Institute in Kopeyia, Ghana, (2008, 2010, 2012); ethnomusicologist Philip Galinsky in Rio de Janeiro (2010); and attendance at California Brazil Camp.  In addition to teaching Brazilian percussion at EEDS, Reed’s current music projects include playing drums with the bands Fatbook, Ragged Claws, and leading the Chicago-based professional samba group Bloco Maximo.  He would like to personally acknowledge all of his teachers.  More specifically Dr. Philip Galinsky and Samba New York, Dane Richeson, and Jorge Alabe.  Also Marcus Santos, Ailton Nunes, Jimmy Biala, Dudu Fuentes and many of the Chicago area musicians such as John Beard, Marcos Oliveira, Dill Costa, Heitor Garcia, Geraldo de Oliveira, Dedé Sampaio, Felipe Fraga, Will From Brazil, and Moacyr Marchini.

Lastly, he would like to acknowledge the members of Bloco Maximo which include John Beard, Rudy Loo, Kyle Dallman, Matt Korajczyk, Peter Korajczyk, Andrew Green, Harjinder Singh, Evan Jacobson, Collin McCanna, Eric Kummer, Ted Toussaint, Jake Crowe, Zach Himelhoch, and Caitlin Andrew. He would like to thank his Mom, Dad, Brother, Aretha, and Fergus for all of their continuous support. 

Episode 25 Amy Cadle of Super Sonic Samba

Amy was honored to accept the musical directorship of Super Sonic Samba School in the winter of 2014 and is excited to share her knowledge of Brazilian drumming with the community.  She began playing percussion at eight years old, and continued her education in percussion performance to achieve a BA from Humboldt State University under Dr. Eugene Novotney and a MA From The University of Akron, Ohio under Dr. Larry Snider.  Although thoroughly rooted in Western music, Amy fell in love with the music of Brazil at age 18 and followed her passion to study the technique and rhythms of the baterias of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, as well as the traditions of Maracatu, Pagode, Forro, and Candomble.  Her teachers have included Mestres Ailton Nunes, Marcos Santos, Mark Lamson, Michael Spiro, Marivaldo of Ile Aiye, Guiereme Concalves, and Zorival of Olodum. Amy approaches the teaching of Brazilian music from a place of respect for the culture and the traditions behind the music.  She uses Western methodology in the teaching of technique and rhythm as well as a traditional folkloric approach, making her classes an excellent learning place for beginning as well as experienced community members.



Episode 24 Brad Boynton owner of Rhythm Traders

A drummer since the age of eight, Rhythm Traders founder Brad Boynton set off in 1990, for a nine month trip to West Africa, with a degree in Anthropology and his backpack. He chose Africa because it appeared to be the epicenter of rhythm itself. Whether it was American jazz, Brazilian Samba, or Cuban Rumba, all roads pointed back to Africa. While in Ghana, he lived with nomads, drummers, drum makers, fortune tellers, and oral historians.  And today he is going to share some stories about his journey.


Episode 23 Mestre Ailton Nunes Part 2

Aílton Nunes grew up in the community of Mangueira in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From early childhood he was involved in the revered samba school of his community, Estação Primeira de Mangueira. Over time, he became known for his passion for samba, his talent as a musician and his leadership style. He served as director of Mangueira da Manhã, the children's version of the Mangueira drumline, for many years. Since becoming Mestre da Bateria da Mangueira (leader of Mangueira Samba School’s carnaval drumline) in 2011, Aílton has developed a reputation for surprising innovations in the evolution of samba. As a teacher, Aílton Nunes is famous for never raising his voice or losing his temper. Consequently, he is able to motivate 300 to 500 of the best drummers anywhere to play some of the best samba on the planet. 

Mestre Ailton took over Mangueira’s bateria in 2011, that same year receiving the coveted Estandarte de Ouro for best bateria performance at Rio’s Carnaval.

Ailton also participates in the group Dose Certa and Ensaio de Escola de Samba de Leandro Lehart.

Folder Carro executivo 2 ingles (1) (1)-1.jpg

Episode 22 Mestre Ailton Nunes Part 1

Aílton Nunes grew up in the community of Mangueira in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From early childhood he was involved in the revered samba school of his community, Estação Primeira de Mangueira. Over time, he became known for his passion for samba, his talent as a musician and his leadership style. He served as director of Mangueira da Manhã, the children's version of the Mangueira drumline, for many years. Since becoming Mestre da Bateria da Mangueira (leader of Mangueira Samba School’s carnaval drumline) in 2011, Aílton has developed a reputation for surprising innovations in the evolution of samba. As a teacher, Aílton Nunes is famous for never raising his voice or losing his temper. Consequently, he is able to motivate 300 to 500 of the best drummers anywhere to play some of the best samba on the planet. 

Mestre Ailton took over Mangueira’s bateria in 2011, that same year receiving the coveted Estandarte de Ouro for best bateria performance at Rio’s Carnaval.

Ailton also participates in the group Dose Certa and Ensaio de Escola de Samba de Leandro Lehart.



Episode 21 Marco Castrucci of Bloco Energia

Marco is one part insurance professional, one part musician, one part lover of the outdoors, one part Cuban salsa dancer and lover of the runon sentence. Along with Nick Fabin, Marco leads Bloco Energia in Vancouver, B.C. Marco started playing Brazilian Rhythms in 2007 with Sambata, led by Paul Bray. Since 2012, he has been focused on growing the community that is Bloco Energia and spreading his love of Samba, and rhythm in general. Marco has been fortunate to have learned from many teachers such as Paul Bray, Jorge Alabe, Jimmy Biala, Mark Lamson, Marcus Santos and Dudu Fuentes, among others. Marco loves to travel and play with other groups when he can. Besides Vancouver, Marco has also played with groups in Toronto, Seattle, Oakland, Portland and Rio.





groove masters percussion: http://gmpercussion.com/

the Samba Gypsy Blog: http://sambagypsy.blogspot.com/

BipBip Musicians' bar in Rio

Batulacatuca - Dudu Fuentes group


Episode 20 Alex Bordokas of Maracatu Mar Aberto

Alex is a cultural producer based in Toronto, and often moonlighting in Rio de Janeiro. He is the founding Artistic Director of Uma Nota Culture and has spent many years as both an artist and an independent music promoter, always focusing on music from the ‘tropical world’.  He has been at the forefront of many productions in conjunction with Lula Music & Arts Centre and the Luminato Festival, as well as several projects in Brazil. He is currently an Artistic Associate at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.

Since 2002, Alex has lived within the rhythm of maracatu and has researched and studied various styles; immersing himself in the style of the northern area of Recife. He counts among his teachers Mestre Walter de França and percussionist Eder Rocha. Alex was among one of the first to start a maracatu group in North America in late 2003 when he founded Maracatu Nunca Antes. Today, Alex is the artistic director of Maracatu Mar Aberto, spearheading the young troupe’s artistic initiatives and community driven presence in downtown Toronto.


Maracatu Mar Aberto's Website

Maracatu Ethnography: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5564cee5e4b07d5fa8a2ea14/t/556d2f99e4b0975c0bb06ae3/1433218969402/Maracatu+Ethnography+-+Alexander+Bordokas.pdf

Padê Onã - Maracatu Mar Aberto LIVE at in/future festival

Maracatu Mar Aberto Brazilian Drummers - CMRTV


Episode 19 Michael Spiro

Michael Spiro is a world-renowned percussionist, recording artist, and educator, known specifically for his work in the Latin music field.

Spiro's formal education includes a bachelor's degree with honors in Latin American Studies from the University of California, and three and a half years of graduate work in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. His practical education consists of a seven- year apprenticeship with Francisco Aguabella (a relationship which continues today) and extensive study throughout Latin America. He has studied annually in Cuba since 1984 with musicians such as Jose Luis Quintana ("Changuito"), Esteban Vega Bacallao ("Cha-Cha"), Daniel Diaz and Juan "Claro" Blanco of Orquesta Ritmo Oriental, Regino Jimenez, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas and Grupo Afro-Cuba de Matanzas. In addition, in 1986, he spent two months training at G.R.E.S. Portela, the famous Escola de Samba in Rio de Janeiro.

Spiro currently resides in San Francisco, Calif., where he is an integral part of the Bay Area music scene. He records and produces with groups throughout the West Coast and still tours world-wide with the percussion trio Talking Drums, which he co-leads with David Garibaldi and Jesus Diaz. In June 1996, his recording Bata-Ketu was released on Bembe Records to international critical acclaim, including being voted one of the top 50 drum records of all time by Drum Magazine.

In 2004, Spiro received a Grammy nomination for his work as both producer and artist on Mark Levine's Latin/jazz release Isla, and, in 2005, he released BataMbira, which he wrote and produced with Professor B. Michael Williams. The CD received rave reviews around the world for its fusion of Afro-Cuban folkloric music with the mbira music of Zimbabwe, and that same year, he was voted runner-up in the jazz/fusion category in Drum Magazine's Reader's Poll Awards. In 2006, Chuck Sher Publications released his book, The Conga Drummer's Guidebook, and it has already become the standard in the field for intermediate/advanced instruction.

He is a frequent visiting artist at universities worldwide. In addition to the position he held in the Jazz Department at the University of California, Berkeley, Spiro has taught at numerous colleges throughout North America and Europe, and continues to be a presenter at national and statewide conventions of the Percussive Arts Society and the International Association of Jazz Educators.

Spiro's recording and performing credits include such diverse artists as David Byrne, Cachao, The Caribbean Jazz Project, Dori Caymmi, Changuito, Richard Egues, Frank Emilio Flynn, Ella Fitzgerald, David Garibaldi, Gilberto Gil, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Holman, Toninho Horta, Bobby Hutcherson, Dr. John, Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge, Machete Ensemble, Bobby McFerrin, Andy Narell, Ray Obiedo, Chico O'Farrill, Eddie Palmieri, Lazaro Ros, David Rudder, Carlos Santana, Grace Slick, Omar Sosa, Talking Drums, Clark Terry, McCoy Tyner and Charlie Watts. In addition, he has recorded on soundtracks to such major motion pictures as Soapdish, Henry and June, True Stories, Sworn To The Drum, Walker, Eddie Macon's Run and Dragon-The Life of Bruce Lee. He also wrote several arrangements for the Tony Award-winning Broadway show BLAST!, which was released on video by PBS in 2002.

Bata Ketu

Episode 18 Dana Monteiro of Harlem Samba


Dana Monteiro is a proud New York City public school teacher with thirteen years of experience, twelve spent at the Frederick Douglass Academy.  Monteiro has a B.S. in music education from N.Y.U., a M.A. in music education from Teachers College, Columbia University and is currently a doctoral candidate in music education at Boston University.  Originally a classical trumpet player, his interest in Brazilian music began on a trip to Rio de Janeiro, where he was brought by local musicians to the Vila Isabel Samba School.  It was there that he heard his first bateria and decided that this music would be successful at the Frederick Douglass Academy.  Since that first visit, Monteiro has made 16 study related trips to Brazil and made visits to samba schools and community music ensembles in London, Tokyo, Chicago, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Uruguay, Argentina, and the Cape Verde Islands to study local musical practices and more importantly, the various methods for how music is taught.  

Monteiro was a panel discussant on alternative practices in music education at the 7th International Symposium of the Sociology of Music Education, a presenter in the Education Section at the annual meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology in 2013, and presented aworkshop in samba percussion at the 2015 Teaching World Musics Symposium at Northern Illinois University.  He is currently conducting research for his dissertation titled Samba: The Sense of Community in Participatory Music. 


Youtube links for Harlem Samba:

Download Dana's dissertation:

Dana's book: