Wednesday, July 19, 2017

CANADA: KoSA 22-Drumming up a Storm in Montréal!

Montreal, QC - The renown KoSA International Percussion Workshop and Drum Camp celebrated its 22nd 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 very intense event. And, we mean intense as every faculty member worked these participants to the bone in hands-on classes! In fact, on certain days, the participants played relentlessly for nearly 10 hours! (with meal breaks of course!) As first time KoSA participant Amy Bloom of Maryland (USA), stated: “Participating in KoSA was exhausting and exhilarating. Sometimes difficult and sometimes just plain fun. Altogether an incredible experience.”

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 hugely energetic West African classes of Billy Konaté, and then there was the soothing sounds of the classical marimba delivered by Beverley Johnston who performed in an exuberant duet with Aldo 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 drum set. He then gave an additional class on hybrid drum set 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. And speaking of surprises, a surprise class was inserted in the schedule by the infamous 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 the incomparable 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. As the week progressed, KoSA reserved another surprise for the participants – a special concert/presentation delivered by Nanny Assis – an award-winning singer/songwriter, percussionist and drummer. He was accompanied by his trio members, Leonardo Lucini on bass and the superbly talented KoSA Faculty alumni, Arthur Lipner on vibes and marimba. This performance was so completely moving, none wanted this magical evening to come to an end.

And what can be better in KoSA’s “drum heaven” then being in the intimate company of masters like Horacio Hernandez who clearly showed why he is known in the industry as “the octopus” as he effortlessly instructed and performed his multilevel independence techniques on the drum set.

Participants were inspired to showcase their own talents on Friday afternoon. There were many memorable performances including 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 immensely 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.

KoSA donated Jazz Festival tickets to all registered KoSA 22 participants. And surprise, Mark Guiliana then arrived early the next day to be a part of the KoSA Faculty and to share stories with the participants, to perform and to give priceless music educational advice to all – Guiliana was a KoSA camp participant for two years in a row when he was a teenager.

This year’s theme: “Hey. Change Your Life. DRUM” was 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; to listen to one another and to free themselves through the proven magic of drumming. This is just what KoSA 22 participants practiced, morning, noon and night. Regardless of the wide-ranging ages from young teens to mature adults, all attendees bonded as family members within the unique and special ambience all KoSA events exhibit.

Continuing the long-standing tradition, KoSA awarded “Lifetime Achievement” awards this year to two very deserving KoSA 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, was the recipient of the second award, for his creative and innovative drumming concepts and techniques that continue to inspire the next generation of drummers and percussionists worldwide.

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.

The KoSA world is continuously in expansion with programs not only in USA but also in Cuba ,Europe and in China. For more information on all things KoSA, visit us at and at

Aldo Mazza
Adjunct Instructor Castleton University
KoSA Academy
KoSA Cuba Travel

Artist interviews:

Aldo Mazza book: Cuban Rhythms for Percussion & Drum Set”

join our email list :

NEXT event: KoSA 22nd annual Camp with legends-MONTREAL , June 26-July 1, 2017 & Attend the Montreal Jazz Festival
University credits available

* KoSA DVD available at -9 lessons with the Masters