CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 19, 2002
Percussion and jazz students will present World Percussion Concert
The percussion and jazz areas of the University of Iowa School of Music will
join forces to present The World Percussion Concert, featuring
music from Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad and Brazil, as well as Latin jazz and salsa
from North America, at 8 p.m. Friday, May 3 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI
The concert will be free and open to the public.
A celebration and exploration of rhythms from around the world, the concert
will feature two steel pan ensembles from the School of Music, directed by
Dan Moore; the Afro-Cuban Drum Ensemble and Latin Jazz Ensemble directed by
James Dreier; and several guest musicians and dancers.
The concert will open with performances by the Bat Trio, with local musicians
Justin Feinstein, Paul Cunliffe and James Dreier playing Afro/Cuban based
bat drums. Feinstein will also perform as a guest with the Afro-Cuban Drum
In addition to the performances by the larger ensembles, Jean Montes, a graduate
student in orchestral conducting at the UI who is from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti,
will join with UI percussion students to perform Haitian Rara music. The concert
will conclude with Conga de comparsa, one of the traditional Afro-Cuban
dances of the Carnival season, performed by all participants in the program.
Latin dances will be performed during the program by Modei Akyea, Juan Santiago
and Nicole Luchauer, and members of the UI Latin Dance Club.
Bat drums are associated with orisha worship, a religious practice derived
from the Yoruba people of Africa. Yorubas brought their religion to Cuba,
and it has since spread to Miami and other cities in the United States. Percussion
is a crucial component of the religion, in that it is the vehicle through
which devotees communicate with the deities, known as orishas. For the most
important religious ceremonies an ensemble of three double-headed bat drums
Rara is a Haitian festival that takes place during the Carnival season. A
complex mix of Voodoo and Christian elements, rara is an event of great importance
in the ritual calendar of rural Haiti. Rara bands, featuring unusual percussion
and wind instruments, are found throughout Haiti. Their performances are exuberant
and playful, but also highly competitive between bands. The music has had
a strong influence on all forms of Haitian popular dance music.
The steel pans, or steel drums as they are variously known, are actually
55-gallon oil barrels that have been carefully crafted into tuned musical
instruments. Originating on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, these
tuned drums have a remarkable timbre that is immediately recognizable as a
Caribbean sound. They characteristically play the infectious Calypso, Soca
and Reggae music of the West Indies, as well as Afro-Cuban, American pop and
other styles -- even including arrangements of classical music.
Starting as a single volunteer group in 1994, the UI steel band has grown
to the point that the percussion area of the UI School of Music now maintains
two complete steel bands.
Feinstein is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, where he participated
in the World Music program. He is performing and teaching in the Iowa City
area while his wife participates in the Iowa Writers Workshop.
Cunliffe is the staff percussionist/accompanist for the UI Dance Department.
An active musician in the Iowa City area, he plays with the Orquesta de Jazz
y Salsa Alto Maiz and the UI Faculty Jazz Ensemble.
Dreier is an instructor in the UI jazz studies program where he coaches small
jazz ensembles and assists with the large format jazz groups. He teaches drumset
and world percussion, and is founder and director of the Afro Cuban Drum Ensemble.
As a member of the Orquesta de Alto Maiz he has performed throughout the Midwest
and in Europe. He has studied percussion and drumming in Brazil and Cuba and
has written articles for Percussive Notes.
An internationally known percussionist, composer and teacher, Moore has experience
from concert to marching percussion, and from jazz to classical styles. Performing
all aspects of percussion, including keyboard percussion, drum set, ethnic
and multi-percussion, he is considered a total percussionist.
For the past 12 years he has toured as a member of the Britain/Moore Duo,
whose CD Cricket City has been described by Pan-lime Magazine
as a brilliant collage of pan-marimba pieces.
Moore joined the UI music faculty in 1996. Only the second full-time professor
of percussion at the UI, he succeeded Thomas L. Davis, who taught percussion
at the UI for more than 35 years. He is a performing artist for the Yamaha
Corporation of America, Sabian Ltd., and Innovative Percussion.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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