KoSA Cuba 2018 Gives International Drummers an Intensive & Immersive Musical Experience

kosa cuba 2018Montreal-based KoSA Music, which stages percussion camps and workshops around the world, just wrapped up the 17th edition of its annual KoSA Cuba drum and percussion camp and festival in Havana.

The KoSA Music directors, Aldo Mazza and his wife- Dr. Jolán Kovács, say they returned from Cuba “high on emotion.” This week-long drum and percussion camp and festival in collaboration with the “Fiesta Del Tambor” festival puts a spotlight on the immense talent of Cuban musicians and dancers and provides an insight on this country’s rich history and fascinating culture.  This year’s trip took place from March 4-11, 2018.

KoSA Cuba participants came from all over the U.S, Canada, and as far as Switzerland this year and ranged in age from 19 to 87 years young. The program offered intensive days of hands-on classes, workshops, concerts, lectures, cultural visits and the exciting activities of the Havana’s Fiesta Del Tambor (Havana Rhythm and Dance festival). Conga, bongo, timbales, bata, drumset and other instruments were studied as participants were immersed in Cuban rhythms, and seminars on Cuban music (given by the renown ethnomusicologist Dr. Olavo Alin). All instruments were provided, and participants studied, and played along Cuba’s top international artists, such as Amadito Valdes (Buena Vista Social Club), Enrique Pla (Irakere), El Peje (Chucho Valdes), El Panga (Havana top studio musician), Adel Gonzales (Afro Cuban Allstars), and Miguelon Rodriguez .

ADD KosA CubaThe capital city of Havana where the workshop took place, is scenic, historical and renowned for the richness of its Cuban culture, folklore and music. An incredible variety and depth of knowledge has been passed through the generations, maintaining centuries old African-based traditions. Havana is also the cultural Mecca of the Caribbean and a hotbed of new and contemporary creative music. All of this and more was seen, felt and heard during the week.  An added bonus for the KoSA Cuba participants was the VIP access to the Fiesta del Tambor, a growing national percussion competition with associated clinics and concerts spearheaded by Giraldo Piloto (Klimax) in honor of his late uncle Guillermo Barreto.

The KoSA Cuba experience culminated each evening with concerts in Havana’s classic theatres, which featured the talent of Cuba’s top artists in music and dance.

Special guest artists joining Aldo Mazza in Havana this year were Jim Riley, Antonio Sanchez and Nanny Assis whose talent were also featured in the jam packed Fiesta del Tambor concerts as well as a special evening concert, “Sabian Night” featuring SABIAN artists.  A welcome surprise was the “Recognition Award” bestowed upon Aldo Mazza and KoSA Music for their tireless efforts in promoting the music and culture of Cuba for nearly two decades.  A further highlight of the week was  the spectacular “Nights in Brazil” concert which featured the mega talent of Nanny Assis, Janis Siegel (Manhattan Transfer), and famed Brazilian artists Joao Donato and Fabiana Cozza.

The dates are set for next year’s KoSA Cuba & Fiesta del Tambor- March 3-10, 2019

For more information on KoSA Cuba, go to

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Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief at Canadian Musician and Canadian Music Trade magazines. He also hosts the Canadian Musician Podcast.
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