DBF 2015 Performers

Attendees at the two-stage event will experience international drumming styles through outstanding performances from some of the world’s top musicians, mostly living within a 100 mile radius of Woodstock, NY. A full list of performers to date is below. (updated frequently!)


Jack DeJohnette Jack DeJohnette, an Ulster County resident, was born in Chicago. Widely regarded as one of the great musicians in modern jazz, Jack DeJohnette has a wide-ranging style that makes him a dynamic sideman and bandleader. Jack’s versatility on the drums is accented by his additional accomplishments as a keyboardist: he studied classical piano for ten years before taking up drums. Jack DeJohnette has collaborated with most figures in jazz history. Some of the great talents he has worked with are John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Sun Ra, Thelonius Monk, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Keith Jarrett, Chet Baker, George Benson, Ron Carter, Charles Lloyd, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, and Pat Methany – or rather they worked with him. In February, 2009, DeJohnette received the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, Peace Time. DeJohnette successfully incorporates elements of free jazz and world music, while maintaining the deep grooves of jazz and R&B drummers. His exceptional experience of time and style, combined with astounding improvisational ingenuity, make him one of the most highly regarded and in-demand drummers. In 2012, DeJohnette was awarded an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for his “significant lifetime contributions have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form.”
Jack DeJohnette
Foday Musa Suso and Jack DeJohnette Foday Musa Suso
Foday Musa Suso is an
internationally recognized musician and a Mandingo griot from the West African nation of Gambia. Griots are the oral historians and musicians of the Mandingo people, who live in several West African nations. Griots are a living library for the community, providing history, entertainment, and wisdom while playing and singing their songs. The history of empires and kingdoms, tribal conflicts, cultural heroes, and family lineage are all part of a griot’s traditional repertoire. It is an extensive verbal and musical heritage that can only be passed down within a griot family.

Foday is a direct descendent of Jali Madi Wlen Suso, the griot who invented the kora over four centuries ago. Foday spent his childhood in a traditional Gambian village, in a household filled with kora music. He began to play his father’s kora even before he could hold the instrument on his own. Though his father was a master kora player, in griot tradition a father does not teach his own children the instrument. So from age 9-18, Foday studied music and history under master kora player Sekou Suso in the village of Pasamasi, Wuli District.

After many years of rigorous study, in 1974 Foday spent 3 years teaching the kora at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Legon, Ghana. In 1977, he moved to Chicago and became the first kora player to establish himself in the United States. He formed The Mandingo Griot Society with 3 American musicians, playing a fusion of traditional and jazz that is now known as “world music”. Since 1977, he has performed as a soloist and with other musicians throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. Interested in both traditional and cutting-edge music, he has also written many original compositions, toured and recorded with many prominent musicians. In addition to his virtuosic kora playing and singing, Foday Musa Suso is very skilled in playing traditional West African drums, as well as many other instruments. Foday Musa Suso’s collaboration with Herbie Hancock began in 1984, when Bill Laswell introduced them and they co-wrote a composition for the Los Angeles Olympics entitled ‘Junku’ (‘Let’s Do It’). This song was included on the official Olympic album and on Herbie’s ‘Sound System’ album. Herbie then invited Foday to join his band for a tour of the U.S. and Japan, where they co-wrote and recorded a duet album entitled ‘Village Life’. Afterwards, Foday invited Herbie to play with his band Mandingo on the ‘Watto Sitta’ album. In 1987, both Herbie’s and Foday’s bands joined forces to record ‘Jazz Africa’, a live concert which was released as a CD and video.

Between 1987 and 1997, the musical collaboration between Foday and Bill Laswell resulted in a myriad of recordings and live performances. They coproduced 2 of Foday’s solo CDs, 2 Mandingo Griot Society CDs, and a compilation entitled ‘Ancient Heart: Mandinka and Fulani Music of The Gambia’. In 1991 and 1993, Foday joined Bill and Ginger Baker to tour Europe and Japan, which resulted in the release of 2 live CDs, ‘Imabari Meeting’ and ‘Material: Live in Japan’. Bill also introduced Foday to Pharoah Sanders and produced the 1996 ‘Message From Home’ CD that featured a collaboration between Foday and Pharoah. In 1997, Foday and Bill traveled to Gambia, Senegal, and Guinea Bissau to record ‘Jali Kunda: Griots of West Africa & Beyond’. Foday performed on and co-produced this CD, which was accompanied by a 96-page full-color book of photos and interviews from Foday, his family, and the other griots involved.

Foday also has a long history of collaboration and performance with renowned composer Philip Glass. In 1985 they co-wrote the soundtrack for the movie ‘Powaqqatsi’, and in 1990 co-wrote the music for a revival of the Jean Genet play ‘The Screens’. In 2004 they collaborated on the music for ‘Orion’, a concert work commissioned by the Cultural Oympiad which premiered in Athens Greece preceding the Olympic Games. Since the early 1990’s, Foday and Philip have performed in concerts together at venues all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, and Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Barbican Center in London, and the Melbourne Arts Centre.

In addition, Foday has worked closely with the Kronos Quartet, an ensemble who ommissioned him to compose five works. ‘Tillyboyo’ (Sunset) was released on their 1992 CD ‘Pieces of Africa’. Foday and Kronos have performed together at venues such as Lincoln Center in New York, Staatsoper Opera House in Vienna, and the Royal Festival Hall in London.

From 2003-2005, Foday and Jack De Johnette toured extensively together and recorded 2 CDs, ‘Music from the Heart of the Masters’ and ‘Ripple Effect’. In 2008, Paul Simon invited Foday to perform with him in ‘American Songs’, a weeklong musical retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Also in 2008, Foday composed music for the acclaimed Susan Cohn Rockefeller documentary about Dr. Rick Hodes work in Ethiopia, entitled ‘Making the Crooked Straight’, due to be released on HBO in 2010. After 32 years in Chicago, Foday Musa Suso now makes his U.S. home in Seattle, Washington.


Matthew Garrison
Born June 2, 1970 in New York. Here he spent, with his mother Roberta Escamilla Garrison and sister Maia Claire Garrison, the first seven years of his life immersed in a community of musicians, dancers, writers, visual artists and poets. After the death of his father Jimmy Garrison (John Coltranes bassist), his family relocated to Rome, Italy where he began to study piano and bass guitar. In 1988 Matthew returned to the United States and lived with his godfather Jack DeJohnette for two years. Here he studied intensively with both DeJohnette and bassist Dave Holland. In 1989 Matthew received a full scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. Here he began his professional career with the likes of Gary Burton, Bob Moses, Betty Carter, Mike Gibbs and Lyle Mays to mention a few.

Matthew moved to Brooklyn, New York in 1994 and since then has performed, toured and recorded with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Chaka Khan, Pino Daniele, Meshell Ndege Ocello, Joni Mitchell, Whitney Houston, Wayne Shorter, Jack Dejohnette, Steve Coleman, Jim Beard, Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Rita Marcotulli, Bill Cosby, Paul Simon, Cassandra Wilson, Wallace Roney, Geri Allen, Gary Thomas, John Mclaughlin, Scott Kinsey, Scott Henderson, The Gil Evans Orchestra, Tito Puente, Mike Gibbs, John Scofield, The Saturday Night Live Band, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Mike Stern, Pat Metheny and many others.

In 1998 Matthew founded GarrisonJazz Productions through which he currently Produces, Promotes and Markets his music. The latest projects are “Shapeshifter Live 2010 – Part 1, Matthew Garrison Solo”, “12 Months” and “GarrisonJazz Productions Music Center” a website which provides a modern approach to music education, production and proliferation.

In 2012 Matthew opened, alongside his business partner Fortuna Sung, ShapeShifter Lab which is quickly becoming one of the most important and influential music venues in New York. The Brooklyn based venue features performances by the most important artists on the music scene today and has been voted by Time Out New York (2013) as one the best 10 venues in NY, and by Downbeat (2014) as one of the best 160 jazz venues in the world. The space is also a place for audio and video capture, photo shoots, workshops, private events, lessons, art exhibits amongst a variety of other possibilities that can take place within the 4,200 square foot location.

Additional information and media may be obtained through:



Mandara Mandara has performed to rave reviews all over the world. The Washington Post called their music “delicate, intense, incantatory,” while The Chicago Sun-Times described their musicianship as “wonderfully versatile”.

A quintet of multi-instrumentalists / vocalists that performs music of West and Southern Africa and the diaspora, and original works on instruments from many countries. The group’s director, Valerie Naranjo is a member of NBC’s Saturday Night Live Band and Broadway’s Lion King Orchestra. Mandara is a fascinating assemblage of instrumentalists and vocalists from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds. In the spirit of music as a unifying force for the world’s peoples, Mandara’s original music combines marimba, vibes, piano, bass, keyboards trombone, drum-set and vocals with traditional instruments from Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, South Africa and the Caribbean. Mandara will be joined by special guest, dancer – Hettie Barnhill from the Broadway shows “FELA!”, “Leap Of Faith” and “Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark”.

Valerie Dee Naranjo – Marimba, Percussion, Vocals

f_DBF_ValerieNaranjo Valerie plays in NBC’s SNL Band (for her 20th season), Broadway’s “The Lion King”, and – on six continents – solo, with Philip Glass, The Paul Winter Consort, Airto Moreira, Zakir Hussein, and others. She performed at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and at the White House for the 2013 Gershwin Awards. The 2005 and 2008 reader’s poll for “Drum!” magazine named Valerie “World Percussionist of the Year” and the 2011 “Mallet Player of the Year”. The film “Knock on Wood”, documenting Valerie’s activity in Ghana, is currently part of several documentary film festivals internationally. She created the transcription series “West African Music for the Marimba Soloist” in collaboration with the late master of the West African gyil, Kakraba Lobi. Valerie affected a chiefly decree in Ghana’s upper West that allowed women to play the gyil in public. She and Barry Olsen are the only to date non-West Africans to place “first” in the
“Kobine Festival of Traditional Arts” in Lawra, Ghana.

“If you’ve ever had the split-second opportunity to spy Naranjo in action when SNL cuts to a commercial break, you’ve witnessed energy behind a fortress of percussion.” –Andy Doershuk, “DRUM!” Magazine, May 2005

Barry Olsen – Trombone, Piano, Marimba, Percussion, Vocals

Barry’s performance / recording credits include; Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, Hector Lavoe, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, Paul Simon, David Byrne, The Paul Winter Consort, Airto Moreira , Jose Neto, South African Pops Mohammed and others. Barry played piano with the Latin-Jazz group Syotos, appearing on their five recordings. He plays marimba and percussion for the Broadway hit “The Lion King”, and trombone and keyboards with the Broadway show “Fela!” which features the music of the Nigerian Afro-Beat pioneer Fela Kuti. He toured with “Fela!” in Amsterdam, London and the U.S. He toured five East African countries in 2007 in a US State Department tour. Barry recorded the CD “Always Climbing” with his piano trio and the CD “Mandara”.

Essiet Okun Essiet – Bass

Essiet is established as one of New York’s premier bassists. Born to Nigerian parents in Omaha, Nebraska, his father’s job for the U.S. and Nigerian governments took his family to Europe, Africa and America. His early exposure to many languages, folkways and religions fostered his world view of strength through diversity. He has played with Adullah Ibrahim, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Benny Golson, Johny Griffin, James Moody, Bobby Hutcherson, Freddy Hubbard, Cedar Walton, Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Higgins,Abby Lincoln, Eddie Palmieri, and Dee Dee Bridgewater to name a few. In 1997 he toured the Americas and Japan with the Blue Note Allstars. Essiet leads the group “Ibo” which mixes jazz harmonies with West African rhythms.

Bryan Carrott – Percussion

Bryan has toured and recorded with Jay-Z, David “Fathead” Newman, Ralph Peterson, Dave Douglas, Henry Threadgil, Muhal Richard Abrams, The Lounge Lizards, Charlie Hunter, Greg Osby, Tom Harrell. Bryan is a two-time recipient of New York’s Meet the Composer Foundation award and has been cited for several consecutive years in “Down Beat” Magazine’s International Critics’ Poll. He has also been featured on BET’s Jazz Central, and on the feature film soundtrack, “3 A.M.”, with Branford Marsalis. Bryan led an educational performance at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference and was a featured soloist with Germany’s WDR Orchestra.

Vince Cherico – Drums

From 1995 – 2006, Vince was the drummer for the late Ray Barretto and his “New World Spirit” Sextet. He performs with The Caribbean Jazz Project, the Paquito D’Rivera’s Quintet, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Manhattan Transfer, Claudia Acuna, Eric Alexander, Randy Brecker, Ray Bryant, Joe Lovano, Eddie Palmieri, Arturo O’Farrill, Cristina Pato, David Sanchez, Diane Schuur and pop artist Jessica Simpson. He has given Master classes across the United States, and in Europe, Mexico, South America and Asia. He is a faculty member at the Drummers Collective and the Queens College Jazz Program and teaches privately in his own Manhattan studio. When in New York, Vince performs on Sunday nights with the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra at the famed Birdland Jazz Club.

with Special Guest

Hettie Barnhill – Dance and Vocals

Hettie Barnhill

Today, Hettie’s constantly back and forth from New York City and Los Angeles, CA. Working on her debut album, set to release in 2012. She is currently choreographing for different projects and performing with the Broadway Vintage Variety Show. She is also a member of A Long Walk Home, Inc. is a five year non-profit organization that uses art therapy and the visual and performance arts to document, to educate and to bring about social change. Providing safe and entertaining forums through which the public learns about healing from trauma. (Rape and Violence) Hettie shares with them what has been given to her – a passion for the arts, a love for dance and a listening ear. Dance Coordinator for the 60×60 Festival. A 2011 NAACP recipient of the Top 12 Leaders 40 and Under Award in the field of Arts and Culture, IL,Chapter. Ms. Barnhill is a 2006 Honors graduate of Columbia College in Chicago majored in dance and twice honored in Who’s Who of American Colleges and Universities. Hettie has worked with numerous choreographers internationally and received many awards including several dance scholarships, such as the Young Artist Scholarship (American Dance Festival); the Wiesman Grant for her choreographic piece (Homegrown). Cast member of the Broadway show “FELA!”, “Leap of Faith” and “Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark” is on her list of many outstanding credits.



NEXUS has been dubbed “…the high Priests of the Percussion World” by the New York Times. The first, entirely improvised NEXUS concert in 1971 marked the formation of a group that would touch and entertain people of all levels of musical learning, in all genres of percussion music. Bob Becker, Bill Cahn, Russell Hartenberger and Garry Kvistad are virtuosos alone, and bring elements of their knowledge and character to a distinct and powerful whole. They stand out in the contemporary music scene for the innovation and diversity of their programs, their impressive history of collaborations and commissions, their revival of 1920’s novelty ragtime xylophone music, and their influential improvisatory ideas.

They have enjoyed participating at international music festivals such as the Adelaide, Holland, Budapest Spring, Singapore Arts, Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Blossom Music Festivals, as well as the BBC Proms in London, Music Today and Music Joy festivals in Tokyo, and many World Drum Festivals. NEXUS was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1999, just before celebrating their 30th anniversary season. Especially renowned for their improvisational skills, NEXUS was called upon to create the musical score for the National Film Board’s “Inside Time”, which won the 2008 Yorkton Golden Sheaf award for best social / political documentary and the 2008 Robert Brooks award for cinematography. NEXUS also created the chilling score for the Academy Award-winning feature-length documentary “The Man Who Skied Down Everest”. NEXUS’ list of high-profile collaborations includes Steve Reich, the Kronos Quartet, the Canadian Brass, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

The 2014-2015 concert season marks their 44th year.

Bob Becker
Bob Becker

Bob Becker’s performing experience spans nearly all of the musical disciplines where percussion is found. Here’s a few of the highlights from his body of work: He has been timpanist with the Marlboro Festival Orchestra under Pablo Casals; he has performed and recorded with such diverse groups as the Ensemble Intercontemporaine under Pierre Boulez; he has appeared as tabla soloist in India; he is a founding member of the Flaming Dono West African Dance and Drum Ensemble in Toronto; and he is a regular member of the ensemble Steve Reich and Musicians.

Bill Cahn
Bill Cahn

Bill Cahn has been a member of the NEXUS percussion quintet since its founding in 1971, and was the principal percussionist in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1968 to 1995. Since 2006 Bill has been an Associate Professor of Percussion at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He is also a faculty artist-in-residence at the Showa Academy of the Arts in Kawasaki, Japan since 1998. Bill has received the Rochester Philharmonic League’s FANFARE AWARD (1988) for a “significant contribution to music education in Rochester,” and several other awards as well. In 2006 Bill received a GRAMMY Award as part of the Paul Winter Consort on the DVD titled, “2004 Solstice Concert.”

Russell Hartenberger
Russel Hartenberger

Russell Hartenberger received his B.Mus degree from Curtis Institute – upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Air Force Band and toured throughout the US, Europe and South America as xylophone soloist. Russell holds a PhD in World Music from Wesleyan University where he studied mrdangam; he has also studied table, Javanese Gamelan and West African Drumming. He is Professor of Percussion at the University of Toronto where NEXUS holds a residency. Russell has been a member of Steve Reich and Musicians since 1971, and performed on the Grammy Award-winning recording of Music for 18 Musicians.

Garry Kvistad
Garry Kvistad

Founder and Executive Director of the Drum Boogie Festival, Garry joined Nexus in the Fall of 2002 when John Wyre, one of the group’s original members, retired. He has been performing and recording with Nexus co-founders Bob Becker and Russell Hartenberger since joining Steve Reich and Musicians in 1980. Garry is one of 18 musicians to win a Grammy award for the 1998 recording of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians. Garry attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, earned his BM from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and his MM from Northern Illinois University where he studied music, art and physics in the pursuit of musical instrument building.

In the 1970s, Garry worked with composer / conductor Lucas Foss as a Creative Associate in Buffalo, New York, he then joined the faculties of Northern Illinois University and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. The Balinese Gong Kebyar Gamelan ensemble, Giri Mekar, which he formed in 1987, is currently in residence at Bard College. Garry’s credits include positions with the Grant Park Symphony of Chicago, the Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra of California and even a gig with the Temptations at the Kool Jazz Festival in Oakland Stadium.


with special guests Baird Hersey and Prana

Baird Hersey and Prana

Prana is a Sanskrit word meaning: breath, vital energy, life force. It is also a five voice, a cappella ensemble who uses only their breath to make sound to relax the body, still the mind and open the heart. Their sound is a unique blend of traditional western vocal music and the music of India, Tibet, Tuva, Mongolia, Bulgaria and Georgia, with a strong emphasis on vocal harmonics. Each member is a respected performer in their own right who join together in Prana to create beautiful rising harmonies, shimmering vocal textures, and high arcing melodies. The members of Prana are Amy Fradon, Kirsti Gholson, Baird Hersey, Bruce Milner, and Timothy Hill!

Baird Hersey

Baird Hersey is a National Endowment for the Arts Composition Fellow. His diverse musical career has encompassed Commissions from Harvard University, New York State Council for the Arts, New Mexico Council for the Arts, The Brooklyn Bridge Centennial Sound and Light Spectacular, The Public Theater, Meet the Composer, The Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and performances throughout the US and Europe in such different setting as the Berlin Jazz Festival and MTV. Hersey has recorded 14 albums as a leader or soloist, and recorded or performed with; Krishna Das, Wah!, Steve Smith (Journey), Doane Perry (Jethro Tull), Graham Parker, and Aine Minogue. In 2000, he formed the vocal group Prana. His composing for the group embraces traditional western vocal music heavily influenced by the music of India, Tibet, Tuva, Mongolia, Bulgaria and Georgia and with an emphasis on vocal harmonics.

Amy Fradon

Amy Fradon is a singer / songwriter, a passionate teacher and an ordained minister. She is the founder of the Vocal Visionary Training Program. She has recorded 10 albums under her own name and with her former partner Leslie Ritter and performed with Maria Muldaur, Happy and Artie Traum, Robbie DuPree, Livingston Taylor, Ed Sanders and the Fugs, Orleans, Peter Yarrow, Tiny Tim, and Rick Danko. and in the Broadway Touring Company of Pumpboys and Dinettes.

Kirsti Gholson

Kirsti Gholson is animal rights activist, environmental advocate, singer / songwriter, recording artist and performer. Before moving to Woodstock, Kirsti made music in Philadelphia with her bands “Art Can Kill” and “Sweet William”. She was chosen to perform on The Emerging Artists Stage for Woodstock ’99. Her song, “I got the Message” was aired on MTV’s Laguna Beach. Last year her song “Ways to Kiss the Ground” was nominated for the 13th Annual Independent Music Awards. She recently released an album titled, “The Summer I Stopped Whining” under the band name “Little Green Blackbird”.

Bruce Milner

Bruce Milner is in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of “Every Mother’s Son” who had a #1 radio hit in 1967 with “Come on Down To My Boat Baby” off of their LP record on MGM. As a keyboard player and singer, he works in many musical contexts.

Timothy Hill

Timothy Hill is singer / composer who has has released three recordings of original songs “This Bright World”, “The Human Place”, and “Spirit’s Body”. He is also a pioneer in the art of harmonic singing, having recorded 8 albums as an original member with David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir. Mr. Hill is a Grammy nominee for his work on Pete Seeger’s “The Storm King”. He co-leads Wayfarer, Sleeping Bee, and Weave Vocal Research Group, and has performed with John Cage, Bill Frisell, Jeff Buckley, Odetta, Pete Seeger, Pauline Oliveros, Madan Gopal Singh, Joe Maneri, Butch Morris and Carter Burwell, Hill has been a visiting lecturer at the Bard College Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program.



COBU Japanese Taiko Drumming

This New York City based group performs a unique mix of Japanese Traditional Taiko Drum & American Tap Dance as a Live-Rhythm-Performance.

COBU was created as a Live Rhythm Performing Arts Group in 2000. It combines elements of the Japanese traditional Taiko drumming with NY style street dancing. Yako Miyamoto, the founder of COBU is a veteran member of the off Broadway hit STOMP. COBU’S motto is ‘Dance like Drumming, Drum like Dancing’, inspired by the combined sounds of New York and traditional Japanese culture. Their signature sound is created organically through acoustic instruments rather than digital transcription. A 3D film based on COBU by Hollywood director Duane Adler will was released in Summer ’13.

Performers: Yako Miyamoto & Group: Yuki Yamamori, Haruna Hisada, Micro Fukuyama, Namiko Yamada, Takae Kawabe, Nozomi Gunji



Great American Fife & Drum Band

Nick Attanasio, Therese Cuccia and Dominick Cuccia are recognized as the leading exponents of innovative rudimental drumming. Performing from Boston to Austin and beyond, the Great American Fife and Drum Band can also be seen throughout the northeast as the American Colonials Fife and Drum Trio, marching with the Civil War Troopers from Cornwall, New York and are featured performers on the DVD of the historic, Drummers Heritage Concert.

Ninety year old Nick Attanasio, bass drummer, former member of the Sons of Liberty Ancient Fife and Drum Corps is the most decorated rudimental bass drummer in the history of percussive competition. He continues to have a profound influence on the direction of the entire marching percussion world.

Therese Cuccia, fife player and drummer, is a former member of the Spirit of America fife & drum corps from Epcot Center at Walt Disney World. She is a Northeastern Snare Drumming Champion and has appeared on stage at the Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention four times.

Dominick Cuccia, a highly sought-after teacher, performer and corps leader, was a member of the famous Hellcats at West Point as well as group leader of Walt Disney Worlds Founders of Freedom. He is the author of The Beat of a Different Drummer.



Directors: Jonathan Haas and Josh Quillen
NYU Steel

Performers: Josh Quillen + 18 student players

The NYU Steel Drum Ensemble is dedicated to exploring the art of Caribbean steel pans to the fullest, performing rare compositions and arrangements ranging in scope from Philip Glass to the Trinidadians who invented the art form.

Leading the group are virtuoso timpanist Jonathan Haas, Head of Percussion Studies at NYU, and Josh Quillen, (a member of So Percussion) Director of the NYU Steel Drum Ensemble. Josh Quillen has forged a unique identity in the contemporary music world as all-around percussionist, expert steel drum performer, and composer.

Steel pan originated in Trinidad and Tobago from steel drums or barrels used for oil. One circular metal end of a steel drum is hammered into a bowl shape and then tuned. Like other finely crafted instruments, harmonic overtones are part of the tuning process which gives the instrument its beautiful sound.

Performers: Directors: Jonathan Haas and Josh Quillen + 18 student players.


Joe Locke

An institution in the world of vibes players, Joe Locke has made a great name for himself (and his instrument) in the past few decades. The Jazz Journalists Association have made him a three-time Mallet Player of the Year, he’s a world traveller who bounces between London, Tokyo, Berlin, Prague and Amsterdam on a regular basis, and is a sought after performer who’s worked with everyone from NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron to the Beastie Boys. The Chicago Examiner says he “engages even casual listeners with a mixture of edgy attitude and artistic purity.” He is prominently listed in the Penguin Encyclopedia of Jazz and is referred to as one of the most important contemporary vibraphonists in Michael Stephans’ “Experiencing Jazz – A Listener’s Companion“.

Not content to rest of his laurels, Locke has embarked on a bright career as an award-winning composer in the past decade. His latest project is made up of entirely original pieces, and anchored by the five-movement suite Love Is A Pendulum, an interpretation of poetry by multi-dimensional writer and artist Barbara Sfraga. This new music – collectively celebrated by critics as his “most personal and emotive work to date” – is brought to life with the help of a stellar ensemble: special guests Rosario Giuliani and Donny McCaslin on saxophones, Victor Provost on steel pan, Paul Bollenback on guitar, and vocalist Theo Bleckmann join the core touring group of Locke, pianist Robert Rodriguez, drummer Terreon Gully and bassist Ricky Rodriguez.

Locke’s new compositions are full of lush, layered harmonies, at times moving in stepwise, choral shifts, then full of powerful, percussive energy. His trademark vibes sound pristine on top of the mix, driving the melodies forward.

Often complimented for his “crystalline tone” with a “warm glow around the edges,” Locke is one of few in his field who can really make the vibraphone sing. Watching him live, he plays with an almost mechanical precision, mallets blurring across the bars so furiously it’s a wonder they don’t melt. His latest work has a rich, atmospheric and distinctly modern quality – you’ll want to lose yourself inside these songs.

When Locke isn’t busy writing, recording, or touring, he is active as a clinician and educator in the USA and Europe where he is on the visiting faculty as International Vibraphone Consultant (HonA RAM) at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and a regular guest professor at the Prins Claus Conservatoire, Groningen NL among others.


POOK (the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston) and Energy Dance Company

POOK and Energy Dance Company

The Center for Creative Education was established in 1989 in Kingston, New York. The mission of the Center for Creative Education is to create a better world by nurturing and empowering youth and community through the arts. In 2005, CCE opened a performing arts training center in midtown Kingston. This new complex has a 1300 square foot dance studio, a percussion studio, homework and tutoring center, and a computer music lab that is being developed in collaboration with the Kingston City School District’s Department of Fine Arts and Enrichment. CCE has worked closely with the Kingston City Schools for a decade and runs three successful arts education programs in Kingston including the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK), The Energy Hip Hop Dance Company, and the arts component of the TOPS after school program at George Washington and J.F. Kennedy Elementary Schools. The Center for Creative Education is led by founder, and full-time Executive Director Evry Mann and Artistic / Program Director Bryant Andrews.

Evry Mann – Executive Director
Evry Mann

Evry is a musician, composer and writer who founded CCE in 1989 as a way to bring high-quality, innovative arts education programs to underserved children and youth. Ev is featured as a percussionist on fifteen recordings and has performed with Don Cherry, Ana Ruiz, Terry Riley, David Hykes and the Harmonic Choir, OmU, Bantu, and the Gasha Band among others. He was artist in residence with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico for six years and has studied music in Mali, Senegal, Colombia and Cuba. He has a masters degree in Religious Studies from McGill University and a masters in Music Composition from Mills College. He is a published poet and has written two curriculum guides for use in K-12 education.

Bryant “Drew” Andrews – Artistic Wellness Director
Drew Andrews

Founder and director of CCE’s award-winning hip hop dance troupe, Energy, Drew has over 20 years of experience working with youth. He has trained in the streets of New York City as well as with professional choreographers in the business. Drew has been teaching choreography and performing various styles of dance in the Tri-state and Hudson Valley area for many years. He has also recently taught and studied in Cuba. He has a focus on Hip-Hop fusion and is known for his high-energy dance style and his rich hard-hitting choreography. His passion for dance and for the welfare of children and young adults is evident in the way he encourages discipline and motivation for a healthy lifestyle. Having fun living and pursuing your passion in life is a major focus of Drew’s. Drew serves as a mentor to youth, parents and other community members. He manages his role as the organization’s program and artistic director along with being a leader to the staff and an inspiration to all.



The Big Takeover

The Big Takeover is a unique concoction of backgrounds and spirits that perfectly creates a version of reggae that is fresh and vivid. With Jamaican born and raised NeeNee Rushie as a captivating and memorable front woman, this movement complete with a playful horn section, pulsating bass and drums, and a hypnotizing rhythm section fills its audience’s hearts with good vibes and solid joy.

This New York based band was formed in 2008, and since then has played over 500 shows in cities all over the east coast. They have released two full length studio albums, and anticipate a third by the new year. They also have the pleasure of calling true reggae royalties such as The Wailers, The Skatalites, The Slackers, Yellow Man, Taurrus Riley, Inner Circle, and Sister Nancy their stage mates.

    Nee Nee Rushie – Lead Vocal
    Rob Kissner – Bass
    Andrew Vogt – Trombone
    Chas Montrose – Saxophone
    Alex Figura- Guitar
    Hector Becerra – Drums


Balinese Gameland Orchestra The Gamelan Giri Mekar All-Stars and Special Guests performance features the music and dance of Bali from the Gamelan Gong Kebyar repertoire played on instruments including bronze gongs, metallophones, drums, cymbals, and flutes. Popularized in early 20th century Bali, this music is noted for its explosive dynamics, tempo changes, and intricate interlocking rhythmic patterns. Special guests include Balinese master musicians and dancers including: I Nyoman Windha and I Agung Ayu Warsiki—both courtesy of the College of the Holy Cross and ISI Denpasar; I Nyoman Suadin of Bard College; the Skidmore College Balinese Dance Troupe under the direction of Dr. Liz Macy; Giri Mekar alumni John Carnes, and members of Hudson Valley Gamelans at Bard College featuring Bard students and community members. Gamelan Giri Mekar was founded in 1988 by Woodstock Percussion CEO Garry Kvistad. In 1998 Kvistad and his wife, Diane, loaned the instrument to Bard College where a second student ensemble, Gamelan Chandra Kanchana was formed.


I Nyoman Windha I Nyoman Windha
I Nyoman Windha is one of Bali’s renown composers of gamelan gong kebyar music although he has also composed in many other genres. He is a graduate of the National Institute of the Arts (ISI Denpasar) where he has served on the faculty since 1985. A master kendang (Balinese drum) player from the village of Bajar Kutri of Singapadu in Gianyar, Bali, Windha has taught and performed extensively in Bali and around the world. Many of his compositions have been incorporated into the standard repertoire of Balinese ensembles and have won numerous awards at Bali’s annual gamelan competition. He is currently serving a one year position as a visiting scholar at the College of the Holy Cross for the 2015-2016 academic year.
I Gusti Agung Ayu Warsiki I Gusti Agung Ayu Warsiki
Ibu I Gusti Agung Ayu Warsiki will be appearing with the Gamelan Giri Mekar All-Stars at the Drum Boogie Festival 2015 courtesy of the College of the Holy Cross and ISI Denpasar. We look forward to her performance of Tari Margapati, an elegant and powerful Balinese dance depicting the actions of a lion roaming the jungle while considering it’s prey. Created in 1942 by I Nyoman Kaler, Margapati was originally conceived for male dancers but has in recent times gained popularity with female dancers as well.
Suadin I Nyoman Suadin
I Nyoman Suadin is the Artistic Director of Hudson Valley Gamelans Giri Mekar & Chandra Kanchana at Bard College where he serves as an associate professor. He is a performer, teacher, composer and master kendang player from the village of Banjar Wani in Kerambitan, Bali where he spends his summers teaching and performing. In addition to Bard College, Suadin also teaches gamelan at Eastman School of Music, Swarthmore College and the University of Maryland. Educated at the High School of Arts (KOKAR) in Bali, Suadin came to the United States as a young man through the auspices of the Indonesian Consulate in Washington DC and served as Gamelan Giri Mekar’s first teacher in 1988.



Aanadhha is a truly unique experience of Indian drumming. The group is comprised of members who come from diverse backgrounds. They also represent very different stages of a life in music. Despite this they would identify themselves as one family, united in their shared discipleships under guru Pandit Samir Chatterjee. With his encouragement they have set out to explore uncharted territory within the realm of Tabla drumming. With the deepest appreciation for the rich tradition they have inherited, they seek to create new meaning for what it means to be a drummer in the Indian tradition by using the full potential of the musicality of their instruments. Their music is a collaborative creation, resulting from a shared journey inwards.

    Aditya Phatak
    Amod Dandawate
    Dan Weiss – Drums
    Tejas Tope
    Dibyarka Chatterjee

WARD TODD – Master of Ceremonies

Ward Todd

Ward Todd is President / CEO of the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce and is a graduate of the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management at Villanova University.

He was a member of the Ulster County Legislature where he served as Chairman and Majority Leader. He also is a member of the Junior Achievement Steering Committee and the American Cancer Society Legislative Committee and the Phoenicia Rotary Club. He was a member and President of the Kingston City Schools Board of Education and also served on the Onteora Board of Education. He served as chairman for several years of the Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk and was also a member of the Hudson Valley Alzheimer’s Association Board of Directors. He was Vice President of WKNY’s Toys for Tots campaign and was President of the Children’s Annex Board of Trustees. He also served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Ulster Country, American Heart Association, Rip Van Winkle Council Boy Scouts, American Cancer Society and Ulster County Girl Scouts. He is a well-known friend to many other charitable organizations and frequently volunteers as Master of Ceremonies at fundraising events.

In 2006, Todd was honored at the Belleayre Conservatory Snow Ball and given their “Spirit of the Catskills” Award. He was recognized for his community service in 2004 as Gateway Industries “Toast of the Town” honoree and was the 2003 Ulster County Arts Council “Arts Advocate of the Year” for his efforts to promote and advance the arts in Ulster County.

Ward is a familiar voice to radio listeners in the Hudson Valley. He was Operations Manager and Morning Show Host at WKNY-AM Kingston. He was Chief Staff Announcer at WTZA-TV (now WRNN) and was a network TV Ring Announcer for professional boxing evens involving former World Champions Billy Costello and Tracy Patterson.