International Musicians Gather at Asheville Percussion Festival


International Musicians Gather at Asheville Percussion Festival

  • Zansa AfroBlog

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When I hear people in Asheville say things like "yeah, Asheville's cool and all, but where is the culture?" I bring up events like the Asheville Percussion Festival that happened June 20-22. This was an extraordinary event, put on by River Guerguerian and Lizz Wright, that brought musicians from around the globe to share their art. There were workshops, masterclasses, solo and ensemble performances, drum vendors, ceremony, dancing, and more. I was at a rehearsal at Echo Mountain Studios and saw what must have been over 100 percussion instruments- frame drums, gourds, marimbas, tablas, djembes, congas, and on and on. A beautiful sight to see.



I've included a few videos here from Friday's solo feature performances, including one from Iranian musician, Naghmeh Farahmand, playing traditional Persian rhythms on a frame drum called a "daf." Another video is of Lionel Loueke, from Benin, very percussively playing a custom-made guitar/bass hybrid (at least that's what it seemed like to me). And, of course, I had to get our good friend and 33rd generation musician from Asheville by way of Ivory Coast Adama Dembele! I would have videoed everything if I could have, but technology let me down. (Yeah, my phone died).

Here is a list of perfomers and presenters from the entire weekend. Click the links, get some new music in your life, and quit bitching about "where's the culture in this town?" (Disclaimer- I have probably made similar statements in the past, too, but I say it because we need MORE events and happenings like this one. I say it to encourage us to break the mold of the b.s. that our ears take in on a daily basis! Ok, mini-rant over)



Nacho Arimany-

Adama Dembele-

Naghmeh Farahmand-

River Guerguerian-


Sameer Gupta-

David Kuckhermann-

Marla Leigh-

Lionel Loueke-

Adam Maalouf-

Ferenc Nemeth-

Lizz Wright-

And more- Billy Jonas, Matthew Richmond, German Baratto, Lisa Zahiya