2017 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 jackdejohnette.com

Jack DeJohnetteJack DeJohnette, an Ulster County resident, was born in Chicago. In a career that spans five decades and includes collaborations with some of the most iconic figures in modern jazz, Grammy winner Jack DeJohnette has established an unchallenged reputation as one of the greatest drummers in the history of the genre. The list of creative associations throughout his career is lengthy and diverse: John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Keith Jarrett, Chet Baker, George Benson, Stanley Turrentine, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Betty Carter and so many more. Along the way, he has developed a versatility that allows room for hard bop, R&B, world music, avant-garde, and just about every other style to emerge in the past half-century.

Another of DeJohnette’s high-profile projects in the early 1990s was a touring quartet he led consisting of himself, Holland, Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny, the results were then captured on the landmark recording Parallel Realities. In 1992, he released Music for a Fifth World, an album inspired by Native American culture that also included appearances by Vernon Reid and John Scofield. Given the diversity of players and styles that he had embraced by this point, DeJohnette was already describing his music in the ‘90s as “multidimensional.”

And if that weren’t enough to make for a busy year, 2005 also marked the launch of DeJohnette’s own imprint, Golden Beams Productions. His first two projects on the new label were Music from the Hearts of the Masters, a duet recording with Gambian kora player Foday Musa Suso, and a relaxation and meditation album entitled Music in the Key of Om, featuring DeJohnette on synthesizer and resonating bells. The latter recording was nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Age Album category. He closed 2005 with the release of Hybrids, a seamless weave of African jazz, reggae and dance music that featured Foday Musa Suso and an international cast
representing musical styles from around the world.

Two live recordings emerged in 2006: The Elephant Sleeps But Still Remembers (Golden Beams), which captured his first musical encounter with guitarist Bill Frisell at the Earshot Festival in Seattle in 2001; and Saudades (ECM), a 2004 London concert celebrating the music of Tony Williams. DeJohnette and Frisell reunited in the fall of 2006 – along with multi-instrumentalist Jerome Harris and mix master Ben Surman – for a tour to promote The Elephant Sleeps.

DeJohnette continued to explore African music in 2007 via the Intercontinental project, a partnership with South African singer Sibongile Khumalo that included a successful European tour and culminated in a performance at the Capetown Jazz Festival in South Africa. Other projects in 2007 included studio gigs and tour dates with Bruce Hornsby, Christian McBride, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter. DeJohnette also appeared on Michael Brecker’s posthumously released Grammy Award winning final album, Pilgrimage.

DeJohnette’s Peace Time won a Grammy in 2009 for Best New Age Album. The album consists of an hour-long, continuous piece of music that eMusic described as “flights of flute, soft hand drumming, and the gently percolating chime of cymbal play, moving the piece along a river of meditative delight.” But the 2009 Grammy is just one many awards that DeJohnette has received over the years, beginning in 1979 with the French Grand Prix Disc and Charles Cros awards. He has figured prominently into readers polls and critics polls conducted by Downbeat and JazzTimes over the past two decades. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of music from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1991, and was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame in 2010.

In 2011, he was chosen to perform at the Kennedy Center in tribute to his longtime friend and musical inspiration, Sonny Rollins. Marking his 70s birthday in 2012, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Fellowship – the highest U.S. honor for jazz musicians – in recognition of his extraordinary life achievements, contributions to advancing the jazz art form, and for serving as a mentor for a new generation of aspiring young jazz musicians. The year-long birthday celebration included performances at the Monterey and Newport Jazz festivals, a tour of Europe with The Jack DeJohnette Group (a quintet he formed in 2010) and several concerts with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke.

More than any awards and accolades, though, DeJohnette continues to make the creative process his highest priority. To that end, his most recent recordings are collaborations with long-time Chicago legends, Muhal Richarad Abrams, Larry Gray, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill. A live recording from the Chicago Jazz Festival released on ECM entitled Made In Chicago. 2016 brought his first solo piano album entitled Return for the French Newvelle company and the critically acclaimed In Movement on ECM with his ensemble including Ravi Coltrane and Matthew Garrison. In 2017 Jack will celebrate his 75th Birthday with a newly formed collaborative effort called HUDSON featuring Larry Grenadier, John Medeski and John Scofield. Touring will commence in June with a newly recorded album for the Motema label.

Luisito Quintero
Venezuelan born Luisito Quintero is perhaps best known for his incredible Timbale technique. He has played with some of the greatest artists of all time, including Jack DeHohnette, Tito Puente, Fela Kuti, Oscar D’Leon and Alicia Keys to name but a few! South American by birth and culturally Caribbean, Quintero is well-versed in Afro-Cuban rhythms and is adept at applying them in a diasporic context.
David Sancious
David Sancious was born in Long Branch, New Jersey on November 30th, 1953 to Jimmie and Stelma Sancious. David’ s father was an electronics engineer and his mother a school teacher. An early interest in music was shown when at 4 years old David was able to pick out a few notes on a small plastic guitar his parents had given him, and play along to a Calypso record his father used to play frequently.Two years later when the family relocated from Asbury Park to Belmar ,N.J. , a piano was included along with the purchase of the new house. After the boxes and furniture were brought in, his mother sat at the piano and began to play beautiful classical piano selections , much to his amazement. The effect was instantaneous. Music became the most interesting and beautiful thing in the world to me, and being able to express all that beauty and magic was all I wanted.After teaching David herself for the first year, his mother made arrangements for piano lessons with a focus on classical piano repetoire.Being the youngest of three boys and having a father and mother with very different musical tastes, the house was filled with music of all genres. Everything from Mozart to James Brown on a daily basis. Early musical influences ranged from the piano preludes of Chopin and Beethoven to the music of John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Folk music , R&B , and Rock were equally influential . The folk music of Odetta and the blues styl ings of B.B. King inspired him to take up the guitar at 9 years old.I played acoustic guitar for a few years and made some progress. Then one day my brother came home with the first Jimi Hendrix album (Are You Experienced) and instantly I became very serious about the guitar.After several years of playing keyboards and guitar in Jazz , R&B, and Rock Bands on the Jersey shore area, David met Bruce Springsteen at the entrance to a club where Bruce was organizing a jam session. The result was an invitation to join a new band that Bruce was putting together. This eventually became Bruce Springtsteen & the E Street Band, and after recording three albums and touring the country, with Bruce, he left to form the group “Tone” and recorded several albums.The first recordings (Forest of Feelings) in 1975, followed by (Transformation: the Speed of Love), (True Stories), (Just as I Thought), and (The Bridge) showed David’s skills as a composer for the first time, and led to his being considered one of the most talented and sought after keyboard players in the music industry. I’ve always been inspired and motivated by the composing aspect of music, and I’ve always thought of myself as a composer who plays well , rather than a person who is just proficient on a given instrument. The recordings attracted the attention of artist the world over. Recent recordings include (“9 Piano Improvisations”), (“Cinema”), and (“Live in The Now”). Peter Gabriel , Sting , Bruce Springsteen, eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Seal and others, have used his talents as pianist, synthesist, guitarist, arranger, and producer on recording sessions and concert tours, playing an eclectic and diverse range of music.

NEXUS nexuspercussion.com

NEXUS 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 2016-2017 concert season marks their 46th 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.”
Russel Hartenberger Russell 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 – pranasound.com

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 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 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 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 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 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.

NYU STEEL DRUM ENSEMBLE steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/percussion

NYU Steel Performers: Josh Quillen (Director) + 21 student players

NYU Steel, under the direction of Joshua Quillen, emphasizes an artistically and culturally diverse array of performance styles that break with traditional boundaries surrounding the esoteric genre of steel pan music. The ensemble seeks to create a bond between artist and audience that warrants an environment of creativity and community. With a hunger for innovation and desire to explore all the possibilities of steel pan music, NYU Steel is a unique ensemble, drawing from the rich cultural sounds of the Caribbean while incorporating the works of prominent composers such as Philip Glass in order to gain the instrument prominence on the world stage. As part of a global initiative instituted in collaboration with New York University, NYU Steel is constantly pursuing ways to reach audiences of an international scope, striving to cultivate a niche on the world stage. At the same time, the group continues to nurture relationships with the local community, intent on becoming a leader in education, performance, and creativity.

POOK (the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston) and Energy Dance Company cce-kingston.org

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 Evry Mann – Executive Director
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.
Drew Andrews Bryant “Drew” Andrews – Artistic Wellness Director
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
Batu Attila – Drums


Karl Berger, vibraphonist, is a six time winner of the Downbeat Critics Poll as a jazz soloist, recipient of numerous Composition Awards (commissions by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, European Radio and Television: WDR, NDR, SWF, Radio France, Rai Italy. SWF-Prize 1994). Professor of Composition, Artist-in-Residence at universities, schools and festivals worldwide; PhD in Music Esthetics.He has recorded and performed with such notables as Don Cherry, Lee Konitz, John McLaughlin, Gunther Schuller, the Mingus Epitaph Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Ingrid Sertso, Dave Holland, Ed Blackwell and many others at festivals and concerts in the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, India, Philippines, Japan, Mexico, Brazil. His recordings and arrangements appear on the Atlantic, Axiom, Black Saint, Blue Note, Capitol, CBS, Columbia Double Moon, Douglas Music, Elektra , EMI, Enja, Island, JVC, Knitting Factory, In&Out, MCA, Milestone, Polygram, Pye, RCA, SONY, Stockholm, Vogue a.o.

Dr. Berger is founder and director of The Creative Music Studio, a not-for-profit corporation, dedicated to the research of the power of music and sound and the elements common to all of the world’s music forms. He has conducted CMS Residencies worldwide. In the 90s, he was Professor of Composition and Dean of Music Education at the Hochschule feur Musik, Frankfurt, Germany, the chairman of the Music Department at UMass Dartmouth till 2006 and presently is re-establishing CMS programming, directing the CMS Archive Project, recording and producing. CMS is joining forces with Planet Arts, Inc. Performing internationally with the Allstar Ensemble “In the Spirit of Don Cherry” and with numerous projects, collaborating with vocalist / poet Ingrid Sertso. Contact: CreativeMusicAgency@gmail.com.


The ensemble weaves together the Ragas and Talas of Hindustani and Carnatic Music with a seamless flow of voice and flute, and the vibrancy of the world of Indian percussion.
Ray Spiegel – Hindustani Tabla – Ray Spiegel is a disciple of the late Tabla Master Ustad Alla Rakha since 1975, specializing in the Punjab Gharana (style) of Tabla playing. He has also benefited from the intensive training and guidance he has received from Ustad Zakir Hussain from 1973 to 1980. Ray began his formal training at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, CA under Sri Shankar Ghosh in 1970. He studied with Sri B.S. Ramanna, (a disciple of Sheik Dawoodkhan of Hydrabad) in New Delhi in 1971 and 1972. He has performed with leading artists of Indian music, including Pandit Barun Kumar Pal, Ustad Shakir Khan, Pt. Ramesh Misra, Snehasish Mazumder. Steve Oda, and Samarth Nagarkar. His catalog of recordings on www.shimlahouse.com, include Pandit Vidyadhar Vyas, Mita Nag, and a classic recording of Ustad Ahmedjan Thirakwa.
Balu Balasubrahmaniyan– Carnatic Vocals – A South Indian Karnatak performer, educator and researcher, he began his music lessons from his father Sri. D. Balraj and subsequently studied under several teachers including Sangita Kala Acharya. Sri. B. Krishanamurthy, Sangita Kalanidhi.T. Brinda and Sangita Kalanidhi, and T. Viswanathan. Since 1985 he has been giving concerts in India and abroad. He is a recipient of several awards, scholarships and the title, “Tamil Isaip Paanar” (Musician of Tamil Music) from Thanthai Periyar Tamil Isai Mandram , Chennai. Since 2003, Balu has been a faculty in South Indian Music at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT. He is currently working on a paper titled “Fashioning Ancient Tamil Hymns: Hybridization in the Current Practice of Tevaram.
Steve Gorn– Hindustani Bansuri Flute – Steve Gorn’s bansuri is featured on the 2011 Grammy winning recording, “Miho– Journey to the Mountain,” with Dhruba Ghosh and the Paul Winter Consort, as well as the Academy Award winning Documentary film, “Born into Brothels.” His gurus are the late bansuri master Sri Gour Goswami, of Kolkata, and Pt. Raghunath Seth of Mumbai, who he often accompanied in concert. He has often performed in India, appearing at Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal, Habitat Center and Triveni Hall in New Delhi, The Sangeet Research Academy in Kolkata, NCPA, and The Nehru Center in Mumbai, and numerous other venues. In 2013, he was awarded the Pandit Jasraj Rotary Club of Hyderabad Award for Cross Cultural Achievement. His numerous recordings include Luminous Ragas, Rasika, (with tabla by Samir Chatterjee), Illuminations, (with Nepali bansuri wallah, Manose,) and Between Two Worlds.
David Nelson – Carnatic percussion – David Nelson, mrdangam, has been performing and teaching South Indian drumming since 1975. From his principal teacher, the renowned T. Ranganathan, he learned to accompany a wide range of styles, including Bharata Natyam, South India’s classical dance. He has a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University, where he is Artist in Residence in South India n drumming. He has accompanied well-known artists throughout the United States, Europe, India, and China. He has also written extensively on South Indian drumming, including a major article in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. His first book, Solkattu Manual: an introduction to the language of rhythm in South Indian Music, was published in 2008 by Wesleyan University Press. In March 2013 he was awarded the title “Kala Seva Mani” by the prestigious Cleveland Tyagaraja Festival.

THE BEATBOX HOUSEbeatboxhouse.com

Based out of New York City, The Beatbox House is a collective of the most talented and diverse beatboxers in the United States of America. Hailing from different regions of the country, The Beatbox House looks to push the boundaries of what is possible with the human voice. Beatboxing has grown into a world wide phenomenon that has branched out from its Hip-Hop roots. The collective looks to rebrand the art form as a part of the new “mouth music” movement.
Each artist that is part of the collective is a soloist, educator and musician in their own right. However, their greatest strength is their ability to work together; bringing their audience an awe inspiring musical experience that will leave a lasting impression no matter age, race or creed.
NaPoM – 2x American Beatbox Champion, Vice World Beatbox Champion
Kenny Urban – Grand Beatbox Battle Champion, Vice American Champion
Kaila Mullady – Female World Beatbox Champion
Gene Shinozaki – 2015 Grand Beatbox Battle Champion, 2v2 American Beatbox Champion
Amit – East Coast Beatbox Champion
Chris Celiz – 2v2 American Beatbox Champion


Organized exclusively for the 2017 Drum Boogie Festival, many of the premier Ghanaian drummers and dancers in the northeastern US present an exciting performance of dance-drumming pieces representing Ghana’s various musical traditions — Ewe, Asante, Dagomba, and Ga. The performance will feature Tufts professor Attah Poku playing the Asante royal court music of Kete, Koblavi Victor dancing the Ewe war music Atsiagbekor, Ga drummer Francis Akotuah leading Kpanlogo hand drumming, NYC-based Ahenema Cultural Troupe members Gloria Nyame and Yaw Kusi dancing the graceful movements of Adowa, Brandeis professor Ben Paulding adapting Ghanaian rhythms to the drumset, and much more!
  Attah Poku is a prominent master drummer from the Ashanti Region of Ghana, West Africa. Born and raised inside the walls of the Ashanti King’s palace, Prof. Poku began training with his grandfather when he was only five years old, and officially joined the Ashanti King’s drum ensemble when he was ten. He currently is on leave from employment at the Centre for National Culture in Kumasi, where he is the master drummer for the resident Amamereso Agofomma Folkloric Troupe. Prof. Poku directs the Kiniwe ensemble at Tufts University, the West African drum and dance ensemble at Wesleyan University, and is the Artistic Director of the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society.


Francis Akotuah is a musician from Accra, Ghana and is now based in Ann Arbor, MI. As an instructor at the University of Ghana for almost two decades, he mentored many of Ghana’s up-and-coming performers and introduced countless students from around the world to Ghanaian traditions. He has performed with Ghana’s leading ensembles and conducted workshops at universities throughout the US, Canada, and the Netherlands.


Koblavi Dogah is a man of many names – Victor, Danger Blue, Zogo – just to name a few. Dogah is a percussionist and dancer born in the southern part of Ghana. He started learning Ewe music when he was 5 years old, and by the age of 12, was teaching at the Dagbe Cultural Centre, run by the late Mr. Godwin Agbeli. Koblavi attended Berklee College of Music with the first full-ride scholarship through the African Scholars Program, and received his Bachelor of Music with an Education focus. He has performed and taught workshops at universities such as Berklee, Tufts, and St. Michaels, as well as countless elementary schools, middle schools, festivals, and camps.
Gloria Nyame is originally from Ghana, and currently lives in the Bronx where she dances for the Ahenema Cultural Group, New York City’s premiere Ghanaian drum and dance ensemble. She started dancing in the Ashanti Region of Ghana when she was six years old, and danced professionally throughout Ghana and Nigeria with the Centre for National Culture, the Adinkra Cultural Troupe, and the Catholic Youth Organization at St. Peter’s Cathedral. Gloria is well known for her graceful movements in the Ashanti dances of Kete and Adowa.
Richard Dwomoh is a highly acclaimed dancer from the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Touring Germany, Italy, Nigeria, and Ghana, Richard has danced with the Centre for National Culture, the Adinkra Cultural Troupe, and Bishop Sarpong’s Cultural Troupe at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Kumasi. When living in Ghana, Richard earned the reputation throughout the Ashanti Region as one of the premier Kete and Fontomfrom dancers of his generation. Richard currently lives in New York City where he drums and dances with the Ahenema Cultural Group.
Nii Boye is known as one of the top Ghanaian drummers of his generation, and is credited with many popular innovations in the Kete drumming style. Nii Boye was lead drummer of the Nsuase Kete Group, one of the most well-known Kete groups in Asante. When living in Ghana, Nii Boye also played with the Centre for National Culture, as well as Bishop Sarpong’s Cultural Troupe. Nii Boye currently lives in New Jersey, and regularly performs with the Ahenema Cultural Group.
Michael Ofori is a multifaceted performing artist from Ghana. He has been drumming since childhood, learning from many master drummers from the Center for National Culture in Kumasi. Michael’s creative interests lie in African performing arts traditions. He has performed with Amammer?so Agofomma (Cultural Center’s Folkloric group), Azaguno Inc. (Athens, Ohio) Manhyia Tete Nnwomkr? (The Ashanti King’s Singing and Drumming Ensemble), The Ghana Dance Ensemble at University of Ghana, The National Dance Company at the National Theater of Ghana and NOYAM Dance Institute. Michael holds a BFA in Theater and Dance from University of Ghana, an MA in African Studies from Ohio University and is currently pursuing an MFA in Theater Education at Boston University. He is excited to be sharing his music with all.
  Ben Paulding is an American percussionist who extensively lived in Kumasi, Ghana, drumming on national television and performing for Ghanaian presidents, traditional chiefs and queen mothers. In West Africa, Ben had over 200 performances with the Centre for National Culture and the Nsuase Kete Group. Ben currently lives in Boston where he directs the Fafali music and dance ensemble at Brandeis University, serves as Drum Leader for the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, and instructs the Hyde Park Youth Percussion Ensemble. Publishing credits include the chapter “ Kete for the International Percussion Community” , in Discourses in African Musicology: J.H. Kwabena Nketia Festschrift (ed. Kwasi Ampene, 2015), as well as multiple articles on African drumming for Rhythm! Scene, digital magazine of the Percussive Arts Society.

Ryan Loud graduated with honors from UMass Dartmouth. He holds a bachelors degree in percussion performance with a focus in jazz and world music studies. After graduating, Ryan went on to teach as a percussion specialist at King Philip High School in Wrentham, a position he has now held for thirteen years. Upon arriving at King Philip, Ryan started a program called “World Percussion” . Unique to its kind in the New England area, students perform in a West African music ensemble, a Steel Pan ensemble, as well as study Afro-Cuban styles. Ryan was also a temporary professor at UMass from 2013-2015, teaching West African music. Ryan continues to perform professionally throughout New England on drum set, vibraphone and world drums.

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.