KoSA International Percussion Workshop and Drum Camp celebrated its twenty-second edition in Montréal, Québec this past June. KoSA Co-Founders and Directors, Aldo Mazza and Dr. Jolán Kovács, did not disappoint individuals who came from all over Canada and the United States to attend this inspiring and intense event.
The jam-packed schedule included a total percussion immersion of instruments and styles that were offered to all students regardless of their age or level of ability. An unforgettable time was had in the energetic West African classes of Billy Konaté, and then there were the soothing sounds of the classical marimba delivered by Beverley Johnston, who performed a duet with Mazza, featuring the compositions of former KoSA faculty Julie Spencer and Christos Hatzis.
Aldo Mazza continued on with his own class on Southern Italian frame drum techniques where he also introduced his “tamburino” signature frame drum, exploiting its applications for the drumset. He then gave an additional class on hybrid drumset playing for the percussionist, mixing African drumming, Cuban drumming, hand percussion of all types, electronic percussion and looping within a live performance.
Mario DeCiutiis wowed the participants with his latest innovation: the JamKAT’R, a banjo-shaped electronic hand percussion instrument with incredible sounds and surprises. A surprise class was inserted in the schedule by rocker Jerry Mercer of the Canadian group April Wine, which was inspirational for those who know the history of this legendary group.
The week continued with Glen Velez, who taught Asian and Arabic frame drum techniques and hypnotized everyone with his interactive vocalization and Central Asian overtone singing. Vovo Saramanda, Brazilian master percussionist, taught Brazilian rhythms and worked with the participants on Brazilian Batucada Ensemble.
A special concert/presentation was delivered by Nanny Assis, an award-winning singer/songwriter, percussionist, and drummer. He was accompanied by trio members Leonardo Lucini on bass and KoSA faculty alumnus Arthur Lipner on vibes and marimba. Horacio Hernandez showed why he is known in the industry as “the octopus” as he effortlessly instructed and performed his multilevel independence techniques on the drumset.
Participants were inspired to showcase their own talents on Friday afternoon. There were many memorable performances including the West
African djembe ensemble, various trios featuring participants on drumset accompanied by KoSA’s talented rhythm section, Reinaldo Gomez Ruiz from Cuba on bass, and the talented Montreal artist who also is on faculty at the KoSA Academy, Yoel Diaz. Finally, the icing on the cake was attending the mind-blowing concert of Mark Guiliana and Donny McCaslin at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
“Hey. Change Your Life. Drum.” was this year’s theme and a fitting message about having the power to change one’s current circumstance in life by making the choice to live life to the fullest through the power of music. Mazza and Kovács urged participants to actively change the fast-paced, over-worked nature of our lives and breathe, listen to one another, and free themselves through the proven magic of drumming.
Continuing the long-standing tradition, KoSA awarded Lifetime Achievement awards this year to two faculty members: Horacio Hernandez, for his tremendous contribution to bringing Cuban music to modern day drumset performance and jazz improvisation, and Mark Guiliana, a first-time KoSA faculty member, for his creative and innovative drumming concepts and techniques that continue to inspire the next generation of drummers and percussionists worldwide.
The event was graciously sponsored by Ludwig, Sabian, Evans, Promark, PinchClip, Gon Bops, Pearl, Gretsch, Istanbul-Mehmet, Remo, KAT, Vic Firth, Alfred, Marimba One, Cympad, and Mike Balter Mallets.