ASHEVILLE PERCUSSION FESTIVAL
MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON
This event is funded in part by the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority,
Festivals and Cultural Events Funding Program.
(artists subject to change)
Acclaimed percussionist, Kasiva Mutua, of Nairobi, Kenya, is working to elevate the place of the African woman in music. Her exuberant performances reflect a panoply of influences, including afrobeat, zouk, samba, reggae, and soul. Kasiva is a member of the internationally-touring East African music collective, The Nile Project, and has served as a Fellow of the US State Department’s international music exchange project. In 2017, Kasiva Mutua was named a Global TED Fellow. She now tours the world both as a solo artist and in collaboration with leading talent in an array of genres.
Raquy is a celebrated performer, teacher and performer known for her expertise on the Middle Eastern dumbek or darbuka. She has distinguished herself as a unique phenomenon, specializing in the Turkish split hand technique and has performed with some of the most famous Middle Eastern drummers and given concerts and workshops in the USA, Middle East, Asia, Europe, Russia, and South America. Raquy will be coming from her home in Istanbul, Turkey to share her musical spirit and extensive knowledge with us.
Naghmeh Farahmand is a Persian percussionist from a musical family and grew up in a house of full drums. Her father, Mahmoud Farahmand, is one of the leading percussion masters of Iran. She has studied tonbak, santoor, daf: all traditional Persian and Kurdish intruments. Naghmeh has performed in many well known Iranian traditional bands in Iran and festivals around the world. She has performed with Hassan Nahid, Iranian master of the ney and Hengameh Akhavan, a singer of traditional music. She now lives in Canada where she explores world music: Arabian, Bulgarian, Turkish, Indian and Jazz. She teaches master classes and workshops internationally.
Monette Marino began drumming at age eight. She has studied traditional African, Cuban, Brazilian and Korean drumming traveling to Guinea, Cuba and Korea to study with master drummers to deepen her understanding. She apprenticed and later toured with Master Djembe Drummer Mamady Keita, from Guinea, West Africa. Together they have performed in over twenty countries on six continents. Now as a solo artist, Monette currently runs her percussion school, MO’ RHYTHM in California and continues to explore many drumming systems from around the world with deep respect for the cultural heritage preserved and passed on through the language of the drum.
Lisette Santiago is a percussionist, vocalist and composer from Brooklyn, NY. At age nine, she was accepted into the Metropolitan Children’s Opera and later received both jazz and classical vocal training at La Guardia H.S. of Music and Art and Columbia University’s program with The Juilliard School. Versed in Latin percussion, Lisette is recognized as one of a handful of female Bata players.Along with her performance and teaching schedule, she composes, writes, creates percussion instruments and runs a company, Music Across Bridges, that focuses on world music education.
Isabel Castellvi is a versatile cellist, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, songwriter, and music educator. She has performed, recorded and taught throughout North America, Europe, India, Asia, South and Central America and the Middle East. These experiences are a great source of inspiration, deepening the understanding of music as a universal language and revealing it's powerful ability to connect people and communities. Isabel aspires to share this oneness through art, creativity and healing practices. She received a Bachelor’s in music performance at DePaul University and a Master's in the Contemporary Performance Program at Manhattan School of Music. After years in New York City, Isabel is now living, teaching and performing in Asheville, NC.
Jessie Lehmann has an innate passion that she brings to her performances and teaching of traditional West African djembe music. Patient and knowledgeable, she strives to share the culture, music, drumming and dance of West Africa with all communities. She has taught and performed in a wide variety of contexts: elementary through high school residencies, lecture demos, summer and after school programs in public schools, private camps, therapeutic programs and corporate team building. Jessie is currently lead djembe player for the performing ensemble Mosso-Kan under the Director, Barakissa Coulibally of the Ivory Coast and is excited about her new project playing traditional music with Arouna Diarra of Burkina Faso and Biko.
Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Megan Sprague is a Sound Practitioner. She began studying traditional singing bowl meditation with Mani Carter, a Nepalese woman. Megan explored a variety of sound healing modalities with leading instructors Diane Mandle, Dr. John Beaulieu, Silvia Nakkach, and Phillipe and Lea Garner. In 2014, she became certified as a Sound Practitioner at the Sage Center for the Healing Arts in New York. Since then, she has completed a Gong Master course with the legendary Don Contreaux as well as a two week intensive at the Dome Center, in Spain. Restorative Sounds is the name of Megan’s practice, where she facilitates experiences of awakening the heart into “Health, Happiness, and Harmony.”
Abby the Spoon Lady is one of very few professional spoon players in the United States and has been a professional street performer for over a decade. Abby studied American folk percussion, music, and folklore while traveling the United States by foot and rail. Now an internationally known performer, she plays with some of Asheville’s finest local and visiting musicians at festivals, within venues, and right on the sidewalk. She is currently President of the Asheville Buskers Collective and hosts a radio show on Asheville FM 103.3 called Busker Broadcast, highlighting the street performance scene in Asheville, NC.
River Guerguerian, Director of Asheville Rhythm, draws upon his richly diverse experiences, to play across a remarkable span of musical genres and traditions, both obscure and mainstream. As a highly regarded studio musician, River has recorded on over 200 albums and film soundtracks. He has performed with such groups as the BBC Symphony Orchestra, New Music Consort, Tibetan Singing Bowl Ensemble, Paul Winter Consort, Talujon Percussion Ensemble, Lizz Wright, Chuck Berry, Sophie B. Hawkins, and Ziggy Marley and The Gipsy Kings.
Chris and Eliot will be joining our Teaching Artists for the Saturday night concert at Diana Wortham Theatre to perform various original pieces with them. Chris is a composer and multi-instrumentalist well known for his unusual stringed instruments, Indian dotar and Turkish cumbus oud. Eliot plays the upright bass with masterful grace. Both men are master musicians and play internationally. When joined by River, they become the much loved Free Planet Radio.