ASSEMBLIES, RESIDENCIES, INTERNATIONAL NIGHT
FAMILY NIGHT, FESTIVALS, FAIRS, WORKSHOPS
By e. mail click here: or call Luis: 301-649-5217
" They were fantastic!! The energy of the Drums and the involvement with the kids was amazing. All the teachers were involved and said that the show was fabulous on their way out. The kids were enthralled and everyone left the APR upbeat and smiling. Julie Fader, Cultural Arts Chair. Belmont Elementary School , MD"
Graham Road Elementary School: 2-15-08. “Best assembly ever!”
Friday, September 22nd the Luis Garay Percussion Ensemble rocked Ravensworth with two energetic performances. Students and teachers alike shared their musical and rhythmic talents by playing instruments, clapping hands and waving arms. Thanks to Sarah Shannon for finding this awesome group.
Providence ES: 2-5-09. Best Group Ever!! They were fantastic… highly recommended.
Community academy Amos 2: 2-29-08. The students LOVED this performance! The energy and movement were perfect. Teachers, students and staff were extremely excited about this and they didn’t want it to end.
Rock creek forest ES: 12-12-09. This event was amazing! The kids and teachers loved it and learned so much. Thank you for bringing joy and positive energy to our school, what a memorable experience. Muchas Gracias.
Riverdale ES: 9-30-09. The concert was the best we’ve ever had at Riverdale! The students have never loved a concert the way they loved Luis Garay and his performing group! What a treat! Teachers enjoyed listening and participating like never before. I have been teaching for 32 years (as a music teacher in PG County) this concert was the greatest I have ever seen and enjoyed. I learned a great deal about the percussion family. Many people asked for Mr. Garay to return! Our principal and vice principal loved it too!
Rand Middle School: 4-29-09. The Luis Garay Percussion World Ensemble performed two presentations today and was absolutely phenomenal each time. With the accompaniment from his three musicians, we were introduced to better understanding to the family of percussion instruments, Thank you for involving our boys and girls as well as our teachers and parents; it was simply an awesome afternoon!
Assistant Principal, Fairhill ES: 11-15-06. Excellent interactive performance, Luis was a pleasure to have at our school. Dedicated, happy, fun, exciting and educational engaging. A++!
Thea Bownan ES: 12-16-10. The performance was totally awesome. Mr. Garay is a real professional and is great at working with the kids. This was a great learning experience for our school. Awesome!
Ceezlin ES: 1-29-2010. Wow! It was an amazing concert. They engaged all students from pre-K thru 5th grade! The teachers were dancing to his beat! This has to be the best assembly I have ever participating in my 13 years at Arlington Public Schools. Keep promoting them! The children learn beat from around the world!
Music Teacher, Graham Rd ES: 1-22-10. Fantastic! Love every minute/note! Can’t wait to have you in February! Thank you for one of the best school programs I have ever heard! (I have been teaching since the 1970’s). It was so great] that so many students got to come up to play.
LUIS GARAY PERCUSSION WORLD ENSEMBLE was conceived in 1996 in Washington D.C. This multicultural ensemble is comprised of four world class percussionists specializing in the exhilarating rhythms of the Americas and Africa. LGPW’s highly acclaimed high energy concerts are always a hit with both children and adults and demands for their performances increase each year. This dynamic group has performed in over a hundred public and private schools of all levels, enticing their audiences to join in the passion, inspiration, and joy of drumming. LGPW has also performed for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, The Organization of American States, Department of State, Smithsonian Institution, The Argentine Embassy, DAR Constitution Hall & Washington National Cathedral, Strathmore Music Center, the Chinese Embassy.
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE click here
By e. mail click here: or call Luis: 301-649-5217
Funding available from:
To: Washington DC Public Schools and Title 1 for Maryland and Virginia Schools
More information Contact:
Education Associate. Washington Performing Arts Society. Phone_202-533-1861
LIVE VIDEOS CLICK HERE
*Concert Performance – LGPW is available for family and international night, festivals, conferences, conventions, corporation events, and more
Audience Size: The Passion and Inspiration of the Drum, PreK-Adult, Max size: Full Auditorium
The Roots of Rhythm (Workshop) PreK-Adult, Max size: 30
LUIS GARAY PERCUSSION WORLD’S Washington DC Area Performances
Ridge School, 2013
George Mason HS 2007,09, 2013
Langley School 08, 2011, 13
2008, 11, 12, 13
Nysmith School 2013
Nottingham Elementary School, 2013
Arlington Traditional ES 2009, 11, 12 The Hill School 2011
Crossfield Elem, 2011
Westlawn ES 2006, 11Flint Hill Elementary School 2011
Bailey's Elementary 2011 Woodburn School for the Fine Arts 2011
Long Branch Elementary School 2011 Vaughan Elementary 2010 Oakton Elementary 2010
Stenwood Elementary 2010
Wolf Trap, 2004, 2007, 08, 09, 10
Henry ES 2008, 10
Carlin Springs E.S.2010
Antietam ES 2006, 2008, 2010
Graham Road ES, 2008, 2010
Campbell Elementary School 2010
Wolftrap ES 2010
George Mason HS 2007,09
Guston, MS 2009
Stratford Landing ES, 2009
Tuckahoe ES, 2009
Glebe ES 2009
Lake Seneca ES,2009
Randolph Elementary 2009
Abingdon ES 2009
Hurchison ES, 2009
Taylor ES, 2009
Wakefield HS, 2008
International Children Festival 2007.08
The Harris Pavilion, 2008
Long Branch ES,2008
London Towne's school 08
Long Branch ES, 2008
Kilmer Center 2008
Poplar Tree ES , Chantilly 2005, 2008
Mantua Elementary School 2007
Sherwood Regional Library 2007
Our Lady of Good Counsel School,07
Cunningham Park ES 2007
Farview ES 2007
Fairhill ES 2006
Waples Mill ES, Oakton 2006
North Springfield ES Springfield, 2006
Terraset Elementary School Reston, 2006
Stenwood ES, Vienna, 2006
Cardinal Forest ES 2006
Saratoga ES, 2005
Edge Elementary, Reston 2005
Poplar Tree ES , Chantilly 2005
London Towne ES, Centreville 2005
Guston ES, VA 2004
Bernadette ES 2004
Longfellow MS, Falls Church 2004
Waynewood ES 20043
Radio Shack 2003
The Madeira School, McLean 2002
Our Lady of Lourdes
Catholic School 2006, 13
Groove ES, 2013
Orchard Grove School 2011, 12, 13
Mary B Neal Elementary School 2013
Liberty Elementary 2013
Wayside Elementary School 2013
Branch Library, 2012
den Courts of Silver Spring, 2012
Bells Mill Elementary
Clearspring Elementary, 2012
Ashburton Elementary School, 2012
Chevy Chase ES-2000,
Thurgood Marshall ES, 2012
James McHenry ES, 2012
Lake Seneca ES 2009, 10, 11, 12
Hillcrest Heights Elementary School, 2012 Travilah Elementary 2012 Maiden Choice School 2006-07, 08, 10, 12 William H. Farquhar MS 2011, 12
Landon School, 2011 Fort Smallwood ES, 2011 Belmont ES, 2007, 2011 Oak View ES 2011
Lucy V. Barnsley Elementary School 2011 Oakland Terrace Elementary School 2011 Southeast Anchor Library 2011 CHI Centers 2005-2011 Cherokee Lane ES, 2011 Hillcrest Heights ES 2011 Garrett Park Elementary School 2011
St. John's Lane ES 2011 The Surratts Library 2011 Deep Run ES 2011 Worthington Elementary School 2011 ABurleigh Manor MS 2011 St. Martin's School 2011 Candlewood Elementary 2011 Hyattsville E.S 2011 Lake Seneca ES 2010 Crestwood Middle School 2010 North Glen ES 2010 ABurleigh Manor MS 08,2010 Bethesda ES-2005,2010 St. Martin's School 2010 Candlewood Elementary2010 Hyattsville E.S 2010 Cloverly ES, 2009, 2010 Martin Luther King MS, 2006, 2009 North Glen Elementary School 2009 Mario Loiederman MS 2009 John The Evangelist School 2009 Rock Creek Forest Elementary 2009 North Bethesda ES, 2009 Rosemont ES, 2009 Beacon Height, ES 2009 Rockburn ES 2009 Riverdale Elementary ES 2009 2nd Annual World of Montgomery Festival 09 Urbana, ES 2009 Luxmanor ES-2002, 2005, 2008, 09 Holy Redeemer School 2009 Clopper Mills ES 2009 Kensington Parkwood ES-2002, 09 Ronald McNair 09 Beall ES 08,09 Takoma Park ES 2002, 2009 The Community College of Baltimore County, 2008 Walter Johnson High School 2008 The Stone Ridge School 2008 Bonnie Branch Middle School 2007, 2008 Green Acres School Summer Camp 2008 Earle B. Wood MS, 2006, 2007, 2008 Columbia Pro Cantare 2008 Burtonsville ES 2008 WT Page ES 2008 Greencastle Elementary 08
The Barnesville School 2008
Bannockburn Elementary School 2008
S. Christa McAuliffe ES 2008
Bowie Community Center 08
Germantown ES 2006, 2008
Piney Branch ES-2000,2005, 08
Cresthaven ES 2008
Brown Station Elementary 2008
Rachel Carson ES 08
Clinton Grove ES 2008
Mid-County Regional Services Center 08
Stedwick Elementary School 08
Bradley Elementary School 08
City of Gaithersburg 2007, 2008
Cabin Jones MS 2007
Westland MS 2006,2007 Westminster ES 2007 Jones Lane ES 2007 Strawberry Knoll ES 2007 North Bethesda MS 2007
Mount Rainier ES 2007
Fulton ES 2007
Carderock Springs Elementary 2007
Waters Landing ES 2007
St. John The Baptist School 2002, 2007
Deep Run ES, Elkridge, 2005, 2006, 2007
Columbia Festival of the Arts 2006
Candlewood ES, 2006
Centennial Lane ES, 2006
Thunder Hill ES 2006
Bellows Spring ES 2006
Swansfield ES, Columbia, 2006
Somerset ES, Chevy Chase, 2006
Fallsmead ES, Rockville, 2006
South Shore ES, 2006
Forest Ridge E.S., Laurel, 2006
Takoma Academy 2006
John Poole MS-2000, 06
Stone Mill ES 2006
Landing ES 2006
Germantown ES 2006
Archbishop Borders School, 2006
Maiden Choice School 2006-(two times)
Brookhaven ES-2005, 2006
Rotary Club Silver Spring 2005, 06
Montgomery College Takoma Park 05
Holton-Arms School, Bethesda, 2005
Thurgood Marshall ES 2005
St. Paul's School, Brooklandville, 2005
Clarksburg Elementary School 2005
Worthington ES. Ellicott City, 2005
Elkridge Landing MS Elkridge, 2005
Capt. James Daly ES-2005
Cashell ES-2002,2005 (three times)
The Mansion at Strathmore, 2004
Lawn Theater 2004
Worthington ES. Ellicott City, 2004
Flower Hill ES-2004
Ellicott City, Maryland-2004
Triadelphia Ridge ES, 2003
Mill Creek Towne ES-2003
Rolling Terrace ES-2003
Weller Road ES-2003
Sequoyah Elementary School 2002
Rolling Terrace ES 2002
Julius West MS-2001
Caithness Shelter Home-2000-2001
University of Maryland, Baltimore, 98
The World Bank 2006, 2013
Warner Brothers Theater at the National Museum of American History 2013
National Cathedral. 2001-2010,11, 13
National Cathedral. 2001-2010,11, 13
Kenlworth ES 2013 Patterson ES, 2010, 2012, 13
Lisner Auditorium, 2011, 2012
Carlos Rosario International School , 2012 Wellness and Arts Center Iona Senior Services, 2012 Savoy Elementary, 2012 Shiloh Baptist Church, 2012 Cesar Chavez Public Charter 2010, 11, 12 Newmusean, 2011
Bowman Preparatory Academy 2011 Horace Mann Elementary School 2011 Elsie Whitlow Stokes 2011
Brighwood School 2010, 11
St. Albans School, 2002 -2011, 12, 13
St. Coletta School 2011
Mann Elementary School
MaMcFarland Middle School
2011 Naval Research
Levin School Of Music 2010
Catholic University of America-1998-2011
MaMcFarland Middle School
2011 Naval Research
Levin School Of Music 2010
Catholic University of America-1998-2011
Catholic University of America-1998-2011
The Lincoln Theatre 2010
Embassy of Italy 2010
Millennium Stage-Kennedy Center 02,05, 06, 10
Stevens Education Campus 2010
Savoy ES 2010
Francis Stevens Education Campus 2010
All Souls Church Unitarian Washington, DC 2009
Elizabeth Hospital, 2007, 09, 10
Key ES. 2009
H.D.Cooke School 2009
Brookland ES 2006, 08, 09
Community Academy PCS 2008,09
Community Academy Charter School 09
Smithsonian, Discovery Theater, 2008
Chevy Chase Concerts, 38TH Season , 08
The Choral Arts Society 2003-2007
Martin Luther King, DC Public Library 2006, 2007, 08
Sitar Arts Center 2008
Marshall Education Center 08
Janney Elementary School 08
Birney ES 08
National Zoological Park, 2007
Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History07
The Church of the Epiphany , 2007
Blow Pierce MS, 2007
Friendship Southeast Elementary Academy 07
Border's Books 2007
Simon ES 07
Miner ES 07
Cast of Thousands 2006
Blessed Sacrament Church School 2006
Georgetown Day School 2006
SAIL-Upper School 2006
Robert Brent 2006
Peabody Early Childhood 2006
National Children's Center 2006
Seaton, ES 2006
Sidwell Friends School 2005
Argentine Embassy 1999, 2005
George Washington University, Marvin Center 05
Ronald Regan Building, 2003
Smithsonian, National Museum-African Arts02
Department of State 2001
Holy Trinity School Georgetown, 2001
Washington Children's Hospital 1999
Trinity College, 1997
"Sacumba is lively! What a disc!" - Neil Bement, WBZC, Chicago IL
"Very bombastic and tribal! It really gets you fired up!" - House of Music, Chicago IL
"Luis Garay has some fire in him!" - Derek Rath, KPFK, North Hollywood, CA
"We are beating the drums of Sacumba!" - Christopher Albright, WTUL, Harvey, LA
"Sacumba makes a drummer skip a heartbeat!" - Judith Gill, WCNI, New London, CT
"Sacumba is a wonderful CD." - Jackie Sauter, North Country Public Radio, Canton, NY
"Sacumba is a fine recording by the multi-talented percussionist Luis Garay, and it's in regular rotation on KXLU's Groove Time here in los Angeles." - Chris Johnson, KXLU, Los Angeles
"Of course I am playing Sacumba; it's a great album!" - Avotcja Jiltonilro, KPFA/KPOO, San Francisco
" 'Sacumba' is a strong 'good vibe' CD, and percussive as can be!" - Jenny Kaybee, KEOL, Oregon
Spirit of Maculele
You can order the CD by credit card at:
Also in DC area at: DALE MUSIC 8240 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring area. MD, (301) 589-1459
To get a free autographed poster please purchase the CD by check or money order click here to order
Picture yourself right in the midst of thousands of dancing, squirming, half-naked celebrants in a Mardi Gras parade in Rio, with drums pounding fast and furious all around you in a half-mad frenzy, and you'll know what to expect from the title track of Luis Garay's Percussion World: Sacumba. It's so HOT! It just SIZZLES! (Do you have any idea how hard it is to type and dance at the same time?) Luis Garay leads percussionists Wilbur Wood, Leon Eynatyan, and Miguel Alfaro on kit drums, whistles, Argentinean drums, whistles, gongs, bells, ngoma, chimes, congas, djembe, colanuts, bongo, agogo, timbales, surdo – basically, if you can hit it and make rhythm, it's here! Sacumba is full of power and grace. Don't miss this one!
The Luis Garay Percussion World proves once again that percussion can hold its own. On the newly released Sacumba the group is lead by percussion legend Luis Garay. Other members of the ensemble include, Wilbur Wood, Leon Eynatyan and Miguel Alfaro. They perform on a variety of percussion instruments including, kit drums, whistles, marimbas, Argentinean drums, and a wealth of Afro-Latin percussion such as congas, surdo, bongo, agogo, timbales, tambourine, colanuts, djembe, ngoma, and if that were not enough, they also throw in gongs, bells, and chimes.
Garay who was born in Cordoba, Argentina, studied at the Cordoba State Conservatory of Music. He continued his education at the Catholic University of America, with advanced studies at the Escola de Musica de Brasilia in Brazil. The intense, yet organized percussion arrangements highlight Garay’s classical training. The variety of instruments used throughout every piece brings a liberal and verbose intensity to the arrangements.
Garay has received numerous awards and accolades over the years for his incredible use and understanding of percussion. The prestige and honor has not changed his dedication and willingness to experiment with new and innovative percussion techniques and sounds. This innovation can be heard on every track of Sacumba.
The addition of the incredible conga player Wilbur Wood adds a cohesive sound to each track. The combination of Latin American and African percussion beats is an exhilarating and ongoing barrage of beats, bangs, rhythms and phonic riots.
Percussion World rallies between the varied and irregular beats of Latin music to the constant and full tribal rhythms. On the track “Dumbe”, Garay, Wood, Eynatyan and Alfaro all play only Afro-Latin drums, including the djembe, congas, ngoma and bongo. The driving and weaving sounds created by the drum circle of musicians shows the power of the mighty drum. The puling beats will course through your body and direct your momentum.
To change up the drum circle vibe, the ensemble pulls together “Marimba Azucar”, which is a tribute to the beauty and vibe of the marimba. The marimba solicites memories of the pacific coast and the fresh ocean air. Garay refers to it as the classic surfer film feeling. It is the driving force behind the surf guitar.
Sacumba is an album that commands the listeners attention. This is
not a CD to put on at a party for mellow background music. This is a CD for the
musician and specifically, the percussion enthusiast. Drum lines, jammin’ drum
circles, the symphonic timpani solo, the guy in the subway playing the bucket;
if these are the sounds that appeal to you, then Luis Garay has created an
ensemble and a CD that will bring the beat home.
Visit www.luisgaray.com for more information.
Luis Garay, Wilbur Wood, Leon Eynatyan, Miguel Alfaro, drums, marimba, Argentinian drums, Afro-Latin percussion, etc.
This is an adventurous and highly enjoyable trip around the world of Afro-Latin percussion through the eyes, ears and hands of multi-instrumentalist Luis Garay. Perhaps most notable about Sacumba is Garay's fashioning a cohesive and satisfying musical ensemble from a unit of four players, playing nothing other than percussion instruments. It's a tribute to his leadership and artistry that his own individual virtuosity was de-emphasized in favor of the ensemble sound itself, and that the arrangements manage to sustain interest throughout. Even those not fanatical about drums and percussion will find something fresh and enjoyable here.
A native of Cordoba, Argentina, where he was highly accomplished both as a performer and an educator in symphonic, Latin and other musical fields, Garay has continued his successes since emigration to the U.S. Now based in Washington, D.C., Garay brings a special focus and orientation to percussion, and to "Afro-Latin" music. There is an exposure to Argentinian instruments and approaches (as distinct both from non-South American ones, and from those of neighboring Brazil) which is different from what might be heard from many or most such ensembles. Not to worry, as Garay also is quite adept and knowledgable regarding the Brazilian aspects too, so he is able to bring an original fusion of elements together to convey what he calls "the passion and inspiration of the drum."
A particular favorite of mine is tuned percussion instruments such as the marimba, a wooden keyboard played with mallets, and this instrument is used evocatively in a number of settings. It conveys an Asian flavor on "Afro-Chin," and just as effectively brings Mexico and Central America to my mind on "Marimba Azucar."
This release is one well worth seeking out, both for percussion lovers interested in a new twist or two, and for anyone else open to something crisp and tastefully different. Neither bombastic nor monotonous, Sacumba provides us a compelling introduction both to a noteworthy artist in Afro-Latin music, and also to the vitalily of percussion ensembles themselves.
by Eric Golub
Luis Garay Percussion World - Sacumba
Luis Garay is from Argentina and is the former principal timpanist with the Cordoba Symphony Orchestra and his skills I dare say are unmatched. As a drummer myself I already have a predisposition towards percussion but I’m quite critical of others. But this is like a study of the masters all wrapped together as one. The sounds of Afro-Latin percussion aren’t just complex and ornate, they’re able to literally write a song and melody line by themselves. This is the best introduction to the wide world of solo percussion and all its complexity.
Luis Garay Percussion World
Hey, back to South America - I mentioned Brazilian religions before and one of those is Macumba, which is on the black magic side. I have no idea if Sacumba bears any relation other than a similar name, Luis Garay being from Cordoba, Argentina and all, but the very first song on this album employs a two-note samba whistle, which I first heard in Brazil. Garay also plays a quica (spelled cuica in the liner notes), which is another instrument I first encountered in Brazil. It is a drum more or less, but instead of beating on it, one plays it by sawing at a hole in the head. There is no berimbau, but there are djembe, surdo, ngoma, agogo, marimba, timbales, and bongo and conga drums. Yep, other than that one little two-note whistle, it's all percussion, hypnotic and highly charged. I suspect that the time signature employed most often is like 16/8. Ah, here it is in the liner notes: in addition to the Cordoba State Conservatory, he studied at the Escola da Musica de Brasilia, which is in the capital of Brazil. He currently has a studio in Silver Springs, Maryland. He wrote the songs and recorded them with Jim Curtis at Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, Maryland. If you're into percussion, this is an amazing album for the variety of ritmos and instruments that you experience under one cover - and I was just kidding about the time thing
Sacumba with Luis Garay is an ensemble recording performed entirely on percussion instruments. Garay, along with Wilbur Wood, Leon Eynatyan, and Miguel Alfaro, (collectively known as Luis Garay Percussion World), perform on kit drums, whistles, marimbas, Argentinean drums, and a wealth of Afro-Latin percussion. These eclectic influences really groove together, with grace, style, power, and fire, whether you're listening to the melodic and breezy "Marimba Azucar", the hypnotically smooth twin-marimba rhythms of "Afro-Chin". or the blazing energy of "Sambazo."
Accent Tampa Bay
This Luis Garay character has been AROUND! He started out playing percussion in his homeland of Argentina and has since performed for the Pope, at the Kennedy Center, Constitution Hall... He has also founded numerous educational endeavors to help young people learn to be percussionists that can pull off this kind of record. This is a recording of exclusively drums and drummers, so if you put it on expecting an Afro-Latin jazz combo or something, you'll be surprised. There are 13 cuts here of extensive and highly technical polyrhythm. This isn't really sing-along music or driving music, obviously, but for a good idea of what some of the top Afro-Latin percussionists in the country, maybe the world, are up to, give this a spin.Key track: "Afro-Chin"
After Mickey Hart whetted your appetite for drum planets, Garay picks up the stick and beats his own drum. Packing a raft of instruments that go beyond just the regular drum related instruments, Garay and his pals bang on everything in sight but take it much farther than something like "Stomp" or "Blue Man Group". With the added edge of adding international flavor, Garay opens your ears and handily beats a great time into shape.
- Midwest Record
Luis Garay is a world percussion virtuoso that combines his talents with a playful spirit resulting in unexpectedly joyful concoctions. For instance, take the Sino-African "Afro-Chin" with its exotic blend of tribal beats and Oriental allusions. This percussion quartet employs an entire spectrum of percussions instruments from kit drums to whistles and congas to chimes on this instrumental CD. (5)
Listen to or Buy at Amazon.com
GARAY PERCUSSION WORLD: SACUMBA
©2004 Scott Allan Stevens, Earball Media
Whistles, congas, timbales, agogos and shakers fill the soundscape of "Sambazo", a muscular piece with a powerful groove. Just when you feel settled by the music's metric phrasing, Garay and company shift gears, adding fills and syncopations that keep a sway in the dance. "Afrodezia" features more antiphonal interplay between the musicians; a top strand of busy activity is set against a heavy underlying pulse. Both of these compositions have something of a relentless demeanor, but at three minutes per song, this intensity doesn't wear out its welcome.
The Garay Percussion World also create material with gradual build-ups and more subtle shapes. "Afrochin" is an example: it features a wide array of instruments, both pitched (chimes, marimbas, gongs, whistles) and unpitched (congas, bongos, drums). The arrangement doesn't employ everything all at once, but brings different portions of the percussive palette in and out of the texture, creating a shimmering musical surface.
Polyrhythms and a complex meter are explored on "Afro 11/8", a duet between Garay and Eynatyan. Taking a fearsomely fast clip, the twosome alternate claps with performances on djembe, ngoma and congas. "Chacara" is another virtuosic duet between these two, who this time play Argentinian drums with authority.
My favorite piece here, however, is "Marimba Azucar". Both Garay and Eynatyan play marimba, while Wood and Alfaro articulate a Latin rhythm on drums, bongos, conga and shakers. Single-note solos and rolled chords juxtaposed against lively beats make an attractive combination of sounds. Still, picking a favorite wasn't easy, as Sacumba entertains throughout. Garay and company ably remind us that the oft-neglected percussion family of instruments can create a whole range of music in which keeping time is only the beginning.
Luis Garay Percussion World - Sacumba (Percumba)
Argentine-born and U.S. based, Garay is a powerful percussionist, joined by three others here to explore Afro-Latin roots, which they do in excellent fashion (and with pristine recording). The sambas crackle, but perhaps the biggest joy comes with the marimba pieces, which simply glisten.
If you like drums and percussion instruments, you'll enjoy this quartet of master percussionists led by Luis Garay. Born in Cordoba, Argentina, Garay is an accomplished percussionist who held a timpanist position in the Cordoba Symphony Orchestra, prior to relocating to Washington, D.C. in 1992. In his 30-year career, this classical, jazz, and Afro-Latin multi-percussionist has performed throughout the world, receiving numerous honors and awards, including recognition by the U.S. Government as an "Artist of Exceptional Ability," the Gold Modal from the International Rotary Club, and the honor of performing for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. A faculty member of several major educational institutions in Washington, D.C., as well as in his native Argentina, Garay enjoys teaching, solo performing, and leading his percussion quartet. This CD includes 13 original compositions interpreted in their totality by percussion instruments from around the world by a cast of four. Garay plays trap drums, Antillean percussions (congas, timbal and bongo), African percussions (djembe, shakers and bells), Brazilian percussions (surdo, cuica, whistles and agogo), Asian percussions (bamboo chimes, temple blocks and gongs), Argentinean percussions, and marimbas. Completing the quartet are Wilbur Wood on Latin and African percussions, Leon Eynatyan on ngoma, colanuts, Antillean and Brazilian percussions, and Miguel Alfaro on trap drums, Antillean and Brazilian percussions. Highlights include the opening track Sambazo (a Brazilian descarga of batucada and samba rhythms), Afro-Chin (a blend of world percussions that sets the scene for a duet of marimbas by Garay and Eynatyan), and Martillo (a 3/2 clave beat featuring both Garay and Wood on bongo.
COPYRIGHT 2003 Latin Beat
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group
Luis Garay - Sacumba 3/4
O's Notes: The power and passion of the drum is explosive. Argentine drummer and percussionist, Luis Garay has assembled his 'Percussion World' to perform an entire session centered on beats and beating. His band is Wilber Wood (congas, percussion), Leon Eynatyan (percussion, marimba) and Miguel Alfaro (bongo, timbales). Songs like "Martillo" will help get your blood circulating, as does the opener, "Sambazo" and the melodic sounds of "Afrodezia" are intoxicating. Sacumba is a step away from the mainstream and into the halls of Garay. It is an invigorating session.
D. Oscar Groomes
O's Place Jazz Newsletter
P.O. Box 2437
Naperville, IL 60567-2437
passion for percussion: Luis Garay at BlackRock
by Chris Slattery
Talking to master percussionist Luis Garay, one can almost hear the exotic birds of his native South America and beyond chirping happily in the background -- possibly because his Silver Spring home/studio is a haven for the creatures.
"I love the jungle," he admits. "I love its sound, and the sound from the birds makes me feel connected.
"I have exotic birds: lovebirds, African grays, eclectus from the Solomon Islands, cockatiels. I always liked birds."
Not that he's a country boy: Garay was born in Cordoba, Argentina's second largest city.
"My parents were born in the country," he explains. "When I was a kid, my parents took me to my grandparents, and the birds -- parrots -- were a passion there."
Also a passion: music. His parents favored Argentina's tango, but Garay says, "Some people tell me, 'You were born in a different country!'"
That's because he's passionate about percussion, especially as it manifests itself in the Afro-Latin tradition. And on Saturday night at BlackRock Center for the Arts, Garay is planning to unleash the rhythms of the carnival on the Germantown crowd.
"I chose my career as a drummer when I was 14," Garay explains.
That career spans 30 years and includes performances as a percussion soloist and as director of the Luis Garay Percussion World Ensemble plus current academic appointments at Catholic University, St. Albans School, National Cathedral School and Berman Hebrew Academy.
Back then, though, it was about rock and roll.
"My friends played guitar and bass," he remembers. "My friend said 'Luis, you have to play the drums!'"
That garage band is just a memory, but Garay was hooked on performing.
"All the magic of the music, all you can do to inspire people," he says. "It's so much fun."
For Garay, inspiration came in a combination of classical, Brazilian and jazz music. He graduated from the Cordoba State Conservatory of Music and was a professor there, as well as chairman, instructor and director of the percussion ensemble for 12 years.
"Studying classical music was good," he says. "It gave me the musicality.
"Studying Afro-Latin music gave me the creativity."
With that in mind, perhaps, Garay left his position as principal timpanist for the Cordoba Symphony Orchestra in 1992. The draw? A fellowship from philanthropist Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat to study at the Catholic University of America. There was a job offer, and a green card application, more jobs and a CD called "Sacumba."
Garay's a United States citizen now, delighted to be part of the eclectic cultural and musical scene right here in Silver Spring.
"I was attracted from the beginning to Afro-Latin rhythms," he says, "but here, I met the world!"
August isn't the traditional time of year for a Latin-flavored carnival, but percussive salsa sounds like the perfect combination for a sultry summer night.
"I'm really very happy to have the opportunity to play for people in Germantown," says Garay. "You have to feel happy to make other people happy with the music."
His music has taken him farther afield -- to Europe where, most notably, he performed for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican.
"It was very peaceful -- a blessing," he says. "It happens only one time in life, and I'm reminded of it in my heart. It inspires me to do what I am doing."
Which is to bring the joyous Afro-Latin beat to audiences.
"People are looking for inspiration, for fresh stuff, ways to use the imagination and feel good," he notes. "We'll make a carnival, with the drums and dancers and my quartet: Wilbur Wood, Leon Eynatyan and Axel Garay -- my son."
The percussion quartet (they use congas, surdos, bongos, cajons, djembes, whistles, timbales, marimbas, cuicas, bamboo chimes, and cowbells) promises a high-energy show, but Garay is coy about whether or not the audience will be compelled to dance.
"I believe in spontaneity," he says. "We're going to play exciting music with a lot of creativity."
Anything else would be for the birds.
Luis Garay performs with Afro Cuban Drummers and Dancers at 7 p.m. Saturday in the BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown. Admission is free. Call 301-528-2260.
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For 33 years, Silver Spring resident Luis Garay has been making a living banging on things. Drum sets, bongos, steel drums, timpani — if you can name it, he can likely play it.
Garay’s proficiency with percussion has garnered international acclaim and has provided opportunities to perform at locales such as the Kennedy Center and the Vatican, where he played for Pope John Paul II in 1993.
And to think, as a 14-year-old boy growing up in Cordoba, Argentina, during the 1970s, Garay’s first drum set consisted of a fork, a knife and a shoebox he used to play songs by The Beatles in a band friends urged him to join.
‘‘There was a singer, a guitar player and a bass player, so my friend said, ‘Luis, you play the drums.’ And I loved it,” Garay said. ‘‘From then on, I knew what I wanted to be. A doctor, a lawyer, no. It was too much fun playing the drums.”
Though The Beatles provided early inspiration, Garay credits the influences of classical and jazz compositions for providing him with his ‘‘musicality” and his ‘‘creativity.”
Since moving to America in 1992, Garay has discovered a new world of cultures and elements that have inspired him to experiment with his music.
‘‘It’s a global influence. I take the soul and the rhythm from South America, and then, from here and there, influence from Cuba, Africa, the Caribbean,” Garay said.
For seven years, Garay has lived in Silver Spring, where he has found inspiration in Montgomery County and Washington, D.C.
‘‘What I love about this area is the diversity. It’s made my music richer, because it helped me understand the world, and I love that,” said Garay.
For the sake of creativity, Garay said he has learned to play every percussion instrument in the world, with the exception of the tabla, which is popular in India.
Between the 60 to 100 concerts he performs each year, Garay finds time to share his passion for percussion with Washington-area residents during private lessons at his home studio.
Though he has students of all ages, including some who are close to 70 years old, Garay most enjoys teaching children.
‘‘When I teach, I enjoy taking my students through the world of music and exploration. The music will always be a part of their lives. It doesn’t matter what they will be when they are older,” said Garay, who has had a few students become professional musicians.
Garay’s ‘‘exploration” approach to music is what makes him a unique teacher, according to parents.
‘‘I think what distinguishes Luis as a teacher is his strong belief that students need to find their own motivation and inspiration to play,” said Silver Spring resident Greg Pearson, whose son, Gabe, 12, has been taking lessons for five years.
‘‘As a result he is very low-key in his teaching approach and open to letting Gabe try out new instruments and virtually any type of music,” Pearson said. ‘‘Gabe always looks forward to his lessons with Mr. Garay, which are often more like jam sessions than structured lessons.”
For nine years, Garay has hosted a percussion camp during the last week of July at Catholic University. The camp lasts five days, and ends with a free concert at Catholic University where the students put their newly developed skills on display.
All music performed at the camp and concert is arranged and composed by Garay, who tailors it to correspond with the abilities of his students.
When he’s not immersed in music, Garay enjoys spending time with the more than 20 exotic birds he owns. A few of his larger parrots are regular guests in Garay’s home studio, where they sit silently most of the time except when motivated to interrupt Garay’s performances with joyful cheers of approval.
The parrots even contributed to a song aptly titled ‘‘Dance With The Birds” on the new, soon-to-be-released CD by Luis Garay Percussion World, a quartet featuring fellow percussionists Wilbur Wood, Leon Eynatyan and Miguel Alfaro.
‘‘I’ve always loved the sound of the bird, of the jungle. So spontaneously one day, I fit the sound of my birds with my music,” he said.
‘‘This is just the beginning. It never ends until we die,” he said.
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