KoSA Cuba’s Percussion Workshop & Havana’s Drum Festival ‘Fiesta del Tambor’ celebrated another Sizzling HOT edition!

Montreal, April 7, 2014 — KoSA Cuba held the 12th edition of its annual workshop and festival from March 9-16, 2014. Cuba–the cultural jewel of the Caribbean–was a fascinating discovery to KoSA participants coming from the USA, Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands. The program’s rich itinerary did not disappoint with highly informative classes, hands-on lessons and jaw-dropping musical performances by the talented KoSA Cuba faculty. New this year, KoSA’s Director, Aldo Mazza, and the Fiesta del Tambor’s organizer Giraldo Piloto, welcomed the talents of Jo Jo Mayer – – who wowed Cuban artists and audiences alike and whose presence delighted participants of the KoSA workshop.

The week started with a conference & introduction to Cuban music by the distinguished and renowned ethno-musicologist Dr. Olavo Alén.  Dr. Olavo gave a fascinating presentation to KoSA participants on the history of Cuban music, its many expressions, and the cultural meanings associated with each.  Educational clinics additionally featured percussion greats like Juan Carlos Rojas “El Peje”  long time drummer for Chucho Valdez, and 2010 Grammy Award winner – who gave an exciting clinic focusing on Latin Jazz drum set and also gave several private lessons.

Rodney Barreto, Valdez’s present drummer also gave a class on Latin Jazz drumming in today’s music in Cuba.

Also instructing was “conguero” Tomas “El Panga” Ramos, one of the top studio musicians in Cuba.  Both a consummate musician and a compassionate teacher, El Panga wowed attendees with his brilliance on conga drums.

The ever-smiling “El Capitan” astounded with his “Cuban Contraptione”-a unique fusion of conga drums, timbales, bongs, guiro, bells and multiple pedals, including innovative new technologies and instruments for expanding the drummers’ horizons. One of his recent inventions was the “Fusheke” or maracas on a foot pedal (currently manufactured by LP).

The great timbalero, Amadito Valdés (best known for his work with the famous Buena Vista Social Club) gave an engaging introductory clinic on Timbales in relation to the Clave.

The inimitable Jose Luis Quintana, better known as “Changuito”, famous for his work with Los Van Van and the creation of the “Songo”, was yet another highlight of the week.

The astounding nightly concerts: included the spectacular 50th Anniversary Gala of the Egreem record label featuring such legends as singer Omara Portuando (Buena Vista Social Club), and many other legendary Cuban artists who recorded on the label.  Alicia Alonso National Ballet Company, Havana Compas Dance as well as several other well known dance companies performed during the week. International drummer Jojo Mayer from New York was also featured in concert during the festival and was on hand to give a clinic to Cuban percussionists in the event.  Jojo also spent time with the participants in some out-of-class musical discussions giving the workshop a very personable and distinctive flavor. Additional classes during the week were taught by the two Klimax group percussionists: Jean Roberto Figueroa and Julio Lopez.

Many of the classes would wrap up with impromptu jam sessions where the workshop participants were joined by everyone in the room including our artist faculty: Changuito, El Peje, Amadito Valdes and more.

KoSA’s official hotel of the event-the Havana Libre – featured music every night, including special concerts associated with the Festival: the great Juan Formell and Los Van Van, Alexander Abreu, and Manolito Simonet.  For those who ventured out into the Havana nightlife, there was even more fantastic music to be heard.  The final Festival Concert featured the finalists in the drumset, congas, and Bata drums competitions.  In addition the audience was treated to a spectacular performance by the legendary drummer Giraldo Piloto and his band Klimax. A very special surprise for everyone was the impromptu appearance at the Karl Marx theatre by Cuba’s “Los Hoyos de Santiago de Cuba-the revered traditional “Conga Comparsa ” group.

The annual KoSA Cuba event is a fantasy come true.  If you haven’t yet attended a KoSA Cuba Workshop, it is a MUST ATTEND event each year.

KoSA Cuba 2014 Festival was sponsored in part by Sabian, Gon Bops, Evans, ProMark, Regal Tip and KoSA Music.  Dates for KoSA Cuba Workshop & Havana Rhythm and Dance Festival ( Fiesta del Tambor ) are March 1-8, 2015.  For more information, please visit www.kosamusic.com

KoSA Cuba 2014… a BIG thank you !!!

It was amazing meeting everyone at Kosa Cuba! What an amazingly special program! I felt really privileged to meet each person teaching and learning through Kosa. It’s great to be a part of the family! I would like to personally thank Aldo and Jolan for all the hard work they put into this; there is SO much behind the scenes that happens, so many challenges, it’s amazing that this awesome program comes together from people of vision, perseverance, and passion. THANK YOU Aldo and Jolan for these amazing experiences! We are all the better for it, and each of us has grown a lot, I’m sure.

See you all again!

Chris Lesso / www.chrislesso.com

PAS, NYU and KoSA Pull Out All the Stops For their 2014 WEEKEND OF PERCUSSION Edition!

New York City, February 2014 – – The 2014 PAS KoSA NYU “Weekend of Percussion,” delivered 20 hours of FREE clinics, concerts, and competitions ,in New York City last February 15&16 pulling out all the stops to make it another smashing success. Hosted by Andrew Beall (President, PAS NY Chapter), Jonathan Haas (Director, NYU Percussion Studies Program), and Aldo Mazza (renown multi-percussionist and Director of KoSA), the 2014 edition brought once again a unique collaboration from two of the most dedicated percussion and education organizations in the world (PAS and KoSA).

(more article below photo collage!)

Clinics began early Saturday morning February 15th, with John Hadfield and Shane Shanahan, teaching all about the world of frame drums  in both traditional and modern applications   Javier Diazfollowed with a “How to build the book of a broadway show” – taking participants through the process from audition to collaborating in the creation of the final book. The morning concluded with the Youth Percussion Showcase, which featured Juilliard Pre-College (Jonathan Haas, Director), Rutgers Youth Percussion Ensemble (Peter Saleh, Director), and very special guests:  The Siberian Percussion Ensemble (Edward Kurguz, Director). The afternoon continued with a panel discussion on Music Business and Entrepreneurship moderated by Aldo Mazza featuring Jim Neglia (New Jersey Symphony) and Steve Maxwell (Owner, Maxwell Drum Shop).

KoSA Faculty Alumnus Eriko Daimo along with Marimba artist Pius Cheung, headed up a marimba master classes, discussing their ideas of “Between the Notes”, and coaching  participants on musical interpretations of compositions. Saturday’s final clinic featuring Keith Carlock (Steely Dan, Toto), had the audience’s complete attention, as Carlock aptly demonstrated his concepts on building  grooves and musical technique ideas for musical drumming . The day concluded with a Showcase Concert, featuring the Siberian Percussion Ensemble, NYU African Ensemble, Synchronicity/Jonathan Haas/Steve Beck/Pius Chung, Eriko Daimo, Lisa Pehger, Iktus Percussion, Excelsis ( Women’s Percussion Ensemble), NYU African Gyil and Percussion Ensemble, Sister City Percussion, and the snare drum competition winners.

Sunday was kicked off with Jason Haaheim, principal timpanist of the Metropolitan Orchestra who gave a novel clinic on his concept of “Deliberate Practice – How to do it and Why we do it”- explaining his own path from working full time in the tech industry to preparing and winning the Met timpani audition.  Next on was percussionist/DJ John Donovan who wowed the full room with his stimulating percussion/DJ ensemble.  John covered the topic of how the DJ industry benefits the percussion world and its latest developments.  Joining him were Chris Triola, Jotan Atanador, Jimmy Topez,, Chris Scherer, .Mike Eagle, Andrew Barlow, Jay O’Brien and the Nymm Drummers.

Following Donovan was the triple-threat of Aldo Mazza, Anders Astrand, and innovative guitarist Ian Case who gave an ultra original and superbly improvised performance. Then all attendees were treated to an awe-inspiring Brazilian performance/ clinic on “Brazil’s Bahia and Beyond” by Marcus Santos, Nanny Assis and Memo Acevedo, and joined by Jacqueline Acevedo.  Toward the end of the day, attendees were treated to another fascinating audience-participation clinic entitled “Application of Indian Rhythms through Percussion and Dance” given by Pradhanica & the Taalim School of Indian Music.

The musically inspiring and talent-packed weekend concluded with a highly electric finale concert featuring the ensemble “Clozeshave” featuring Jonathan Haas (Rockin Kettles), Ian Finkel (Xylophone extraordinaire), Scott Thomas(vocals), Ken Hadfield (bass) and Abbot Finkel (Drums).  Special thanks to all those in front and behind the scenes at New York University, Percussive Arts Society New York and KoSA home office for contributing to this fantastic annual event.

KoSA 19 is coming up fast!  If you haven’t registered for this world famous drum camp, go tohttp://kosamusic.com/14_Kosa19Registration.php and get signed up.  Our annual KoSA summer camp, workshop and performance festival has been a game changer for hundreds of participants over the past twenty years… many of our participants have gone on to successful participation as full time drummers and percussionists.  Stay tuned for more information..!

We remain grateful to all those helping us to spread the joy of music and percussion world wide.  We believe that much can be gained from working closely with our artist faculty, in a fully spherical, embodying manner.  Music remains the only “needs no translation” humanity has.  Through improving our understanding of technique, history, academics and community, we can all contribute to both preserving the legacy of those who have taught us, as well as building upon that foundation with new developments and artistic creativity in the future.See you at the gig.Sincerely,

Aldo Mazza and Dr. Jolan Kovacs Mazza

KoSA Founders






































































































































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