In March, KoSA Music’s international participants ranging in age from 22–70 years young had a chance to study with some of Cuba’s best artists, such as Oliver Valdes (drum set), Panga (congas), Adel Gonzales (congas and timbales), El Peje (drum set), Dyron (conga and timbales), Roelvis Reyez (drum set), and Dr. Olavo Alen Rodriguez (ethnomusicologist). Dr. Olavo’s seminar on the history of Cuban music and culture was a real eye-opener to many first-time participants visiting this beautiful island, and KoSA’s organized walking tours of historic centers of Havana further contextualized this fascinating history.
Besides intimate hands-on classes, attendees were able to soak up the sounds of the talented artists featured in the evening concerts of the Fiesta del Tambor (The Havana Rhythm & Dance Festival). The esteemed artists featured this year included Los Munequitos de Matanzas, Anthony Bravo, Brenda Navarrete y su grupo, and Compania JJ.
A highlight of the week was the special Sabian/Gon Bops night, which featured many of Cuba’s top drummers and percussionists.
Other concerts throughout the week were The Drummers of Burundi, the National Competition winners, Grupo Mas con Menos, Giraldo Piloto & Klimax, Yordys Larrazabat Y Lele Van Van, Maraton Rumbero, Ronald Y Explosion Rumbera, Orquestra Manolito Simonet y Su Trabajo, Alexander Abreu y Habana De Primera, Osain del Monte, and Mykel Blanco Y Salsa Mayor.