James Stanley: Teaching Hawaiian Ukulele, Movement, and Culture

James Stanley is a San Diego native who was raised embracing, embodying, and sharing Hawaiian culture and arts. He is the eldest son of Kumu (Hula Teacher) Kathy Heali’i Gore Stanley, the founder of San Diego’s Heali’i’s Polynesian Revue. As such, James was immersed in Polynesian arts and began performing dance and playing the ukulele at a very young age. His love of dance and movement eventually inspired him to earn a BA in kinesiology from CSU Northridge in 2018.

Image of James Stanley performing traditional Hawaiian dance

James Stanley performing traditional Hawaiian dance

James has performed with many of Hawai’i’s music legends, including HAPA, Na Leo Pilimehana, Amy Hānaiali’i, Makaha Sons, and Kalani Pe’a. Today, James is an alakaʻi (co-leader) and kāne director (men’s director) for Heali’i’s Polynesian Revue. He pours his aloha into nurturing his family’s hālau (Hawaiian dance school) through music, dancing, and traditional practices.

We are proud to have James as a teaching artist for the CWM’s youth education program, World Music in the Schools. James engages over 900 San Diego County school children a week with Hawaiian language and traditions, ukulele, and dancing.

Image of James Stanley in a World Music in the Schools classroom

James Stanley in a World Music in the Schools classroom

James’ brother, Anthony Kauka Stanley is also a teaching artist for the School’s program. Learn more about Anthony from his profile on our website.

For Further Exploration

Watch James Stanley on stage performing Hawaiian dance to the music of the Mākaha Sons.

Silvio Diaz: Empowering Students through Latin Rhythms

Born in Mexico City, Silvio Diaz grew up in Ensenada and Tijuana in an artistic household. His family produced educational performances for children, featuring puppetry, theater, and music. At a young age, Silvio played various musical instruments, including the clarinet, guitar, and drum set, along with other forms of percussion. Additionally, he participated in his family’s puppetry, theater, and music productions, performing in Mexico, Spain, and the United States.

While performing with his family, Silvio pursued his interest in visual arts and Latin percussion. He attended an arts high school in Mexico City before earning a bachelor’s degree in music composition from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. His journey as a musician involved playing in several bands, each specializing in different genres—including reggae, rock, and Latin music—while pursuing his own musical goals.

In 2018, Silvio relocated to San Diego to join his father and brother in their percussion ensemble Drummers Without Borders. Since its formation, Drummers Without Borders has been dedicated to providing music education to underserved communities, schools, correctional facilities, and the general public. The group uses rhythm as a fundamental tool to engage students and help them feel a sense of accomplishment. Their programs sometimes end with a parade with large puppets and rows of children marching with drums.

Drummers Without Borders has performed for the Center for World Music in two recent series: “Music on the Move: Border Stories” at The Front Arte Cultura Gallery and “Sound of the Border | Sonido de la Frontera” at Mingei International Museum.As a teaching artist with the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program, Silvio introduces students to the percussive rhythms of Latin America. He encourages his pupils to start simple, try new things, collaborate, and express themselves. His goal is to inspire confidence and teamwork.

Thanks to a partnership between the CWM, San Diego Unified’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Department, the VAPA Foundation, and the California Arts Council, Silvio participated in a program at Balboa Elementary highlighting the music and rhythms of Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America.

San Diego’s KUSI News featured this class for bringing culturally relevant music programming into schools:

Silvio teaches for organizations such as the San Diego Guild of Puppetry, Arts Education Connection San Diego, The House of Music, and Bocón Arts. He also enjoys playing music at home with his daughter. His ultimate dream is for everyone to recognize the power of art in education and human development.

Kaylie Kirby: Continuing a Legacy of Indonesian Arts

Sharing her love of Indonesian arts through the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program, Kaylie Kirby is patient, passionate, and playful as a teaching artist.

Kaylie is no stranger to Balinese gamelan angklung (metallophone ensemble) in the K–8 classroom. She began her journey with Indonesian music and dance when she was in 5th grade at Museum School, the school in which she now teaches young students. There she studied Balinese gamelan and dance with master teachers I Nyoman Sumandhi and Ni Putu Sutiati, who were CWM distinguished visiting artists in San Diego back in the early 2000s. You can learn more about her full-circle performing arts journey from this feature story on our website.

After her first exposure to Indonesian arts as a 5th grader, Kaylie continued her studies, attending after-school classes in Balinese dance. Later, she joined Puspa Warsa, an ensemble of advanced students organized by former CWM teaching artists Alex Khalil and Kaori Okado. With that group, Kaylie performed all over Southern California for numerous universities and festivals, and on television.

Kaylie with daughter

She later studied under other Balinese masters, including I Nyoman Wenten, renowned Balinese musician and dancer, at CalArts and UCLA. In 2018–19, she was a member of the Balinese gamelan angklung ensemble Gunung Mas at the University of San Diego, directed by Dr. David Harnish.

Today Kaylie finds joy in sharing her passion for Indonesian music and culture, especially as her own children are now enrolled in the program at Museum School in San Diego’s Bankers Hill neighborhood.

Meghan Hynson: Sharing the Music and Culture of Indonesia

Image of Meghan Hynson in Bali Holding an Angklung

Meghan Hynson with angklung in Java

Meghan Hynson was first exposed to Balinese gamelan (gong ensemble) while studying for her undergraduate degree in music education and oboe performance at Boston University. Intrigued by the sound of the gamelan, she soon began studying Indonesian ensemble music, took private lessons on Balinese gendèr wayang (metallophone duo or quartet), and was awarded a scholarship to travel to Bali to follow her passion for Indonesian music and culture.

She eventually earned her MA and PhD in ethnomusicology at UCLA, writing her dissertation on Balinese shadow puppet theater. Having taught at Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Monmouth University, Dr. Hynson is currently adjunct assistant professor of ethnomusicology at the University of San Diego, where she directs the Balinese gamelan ensemble and teaches courses in global music.

Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, the national language of that multi-cultured nation, Dr. Hynson has spent over a decade living and studying in Southeast Asia. In 2019, Dr. Hynson toured internationally as a vocalist for the Indonesian pop band, the Dangdut Cowboys, under the invitation of the U.S. State Department. She typically spends several months each year at her second home in Mas Village, Bali, doing research and furthering her study of the island’s rich traditions.

Image of Meghan Hynson in Classroom

Meghan Hynson in San Diego classroom

During her career, Dr. Hynson has developed world music curricula and outreach programs for K-12 schools, worked with major museums and international world music festivals, and spoken out for global diversity through music via campus and community activities.

As a teaching artist with the CWM’s World Music in the Schools program, Dr. Hynson teaches Balinese gamelan angklung and Indonesian angklung rattles.

Photo of Luisa Corredor and Ignacio Arango

Luisa Corredor and Ignacio Arango: Sharing Cuban Music in Partnership

Luisa Corredor, a singer and teacher native to San Diego, and Ignacio Arango, a guitarist and bassist from Cuba, are each talented musicians and educators in their own right. Together, they pack a punch in our World Music in the Schools program, working as a duo in the classroom, sharing songs in Spanish and English, and providing musical accompaniment for the students.

Luisa Corredor and Ignacio Arango

Luisa Corredor and Ignacio Arango

Coming from a musical family, Luisa Corredor was exposed to the arts at a young age and has committed much of her life to the performing arts as a singer, actor, teacher, and producer. She is a force of nature on stage and in the classroom, touching audiences and inspiring students with her powerful, soulful voice. She has studied and performed musical traditions from cultures worldwide. Her repertoire includes English folk songs from the Renaissance era, Flamenco, Middle Eastern, Greek, and Irish songs, as well as Cuban, Mexican, Brazilian, and other traditional music from South America.

Luisa has experience teaching as a private voice instructor and for the Encinitas Union School District as an instructional assistant for bilingual and special education classrooms. She also taught Spanish as a second language at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School.

Ignacio Arango

While growing up in Havana, Ignacio Arango was surrounded by Afro-Cuban polyrhythms and the improvisational craft of the native rumberos and soneros (rumba and salsa artists). His deep musical roots shine through in his rhythmic, tasteful, and skillful playing. When he was 12, Ignacio enrolled in the Guillermo Tomas music conservatory in Guanabacoa (featured recently on NPR) where he studied for 5 years with a focus on guitar. His musical career began during his military service, playing euphonium in La Banda Música del Estado Mayor.

Upon demobilizing, Ignacio’s musical career blossomed. He was the bassist for “Show Tropicana” in Cuba for ten years, with which he toured Italy, Mexico, and Monaco. Ignacio has played guitar and bass with a number of diverse bands and artists, including Fusión 4, La Orquesta de Radio y Televisión, Kokopelli Latin Jazz Ensemble, Gilbert Castellanos’ La Conciencia, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Carlos Washington & Giant People, and many others.

Since 2006, Ignacio has dedicated his attention to performing folklore jazz with his family band, Los Hermanos Arango, with whom he continues to perform.

Rogelle Zamora Celebrates Philippine Musical Heritage

Rogelle Zamora is a musician and educator based in Southern California. As a second-generation Filipino American, he is passionate about providing opportunities for community members to learn about the musical cultures and practices of the diverse peoples of the Philippine Islands.

Rogelle’s journey into Philippine music began in 2018 when he met Bernard Ellorin, Ph.D., a leading Southern California expert in Philippine music and musical director of the Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts & Education Center in San Diego. Building upon his experience playing violin with Mariachi Los Broncos, the premiere mariachi ensemble of Cal Poly Pomona, Rogelle developed a strong desire to learn about the musical practices of his own cultural heritage. After graduating with his B.A. in music education from Cal Poly, he moved to San Diego to study with Dr. Ellorin and pursue this interest.

In 2021, he received the Apprenticeship Program Award from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts in support of his study with Dr. Ellorin of Tagunggu’ gong ensemble music, unique to the cultures of the Sulu Archipelago. With this funding, he was also able to supplement his studies with Dr. Ellorin through participation in the 2023 edition of Tribu Tur, a cultural immersion trip in the Philippines organized by KULARTS, San Francisco.

Today, Rogelle performs regularly with the rondalla (string ensemble) of Samahan and the Pakaraguian Kulintang Ensemble. When opportunities arise, he also teaches private lessons and performs for weddings, anniversaries, and other special events. He most recently joined the Palomar Symphony Orchestra, maintaining connections with his Western classical upbringing as a violist. As an educator, he teaches students of all ages, serving as an instructional staff member with various school music programs and independent organizations across Southern California such as the Filipino Cultural School, Rancho Bernardo High School Royal Regiment, and Pulse Percussion Inc.

Rogelle is excited to further the CWM’s mission to foster intercultural awareness as a teaching artist for World Music in the Schools.

Kourosh Taghavi: Excellence in Persian Classical Music

Kourosh Taghavi is a master of the Iranian setar, a prolific composer, and a teacher of Persian classical music. Based in San Diego since 1984, he has studied under the tutelage of world-renowned virtuosi Mohammad Reza Lotfi and Hossein Alizadeh. These studies have been the source of his unique approach to the art of Iranian music. Taghavi’s passionate and melodic approach to music is the foundation of his many collaborations and recordings with numerous artists, performing both traditional and modern forms of Iranian music. His collaborative projects with master musicians and international and local cultural organizations help fulfill his lifelong commitment to raising awareness of the importance of music in people’s lives.

Kourosh teaches setar and voice throughout California, as well as lecturing, composing original music for plays and pieces based on contemporary Iranian poetry, holding music workshops, and recording. These and numerous other endeavors are expressions of his passionate quest to promote Persian classical music.

Kourosh is a founding member of Namaad Ensemble, with which he has toured throughout the US, Europe, and Asia. His collaborations with renowned master artists such as Hossein Omoumi, poets Robert Bly and Coleman Barks, and prestigious cultural organizations such as the Konya Mystic Music Festival (Turkey), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the Carlsbad and Del Mar Music festivals are a few highlights of his efforts to introduce Persian classical music and poetry to a broad audience.

As a San Diego State University faculty member, Kourosh taught a course in Persian classical music and oversaw a related thesis.

Kourosh Taghavi at Poway

Kourosh Taghavi teaches the Persian setar. UT hoto by Don Boomer

His ongoing collaboration with the Center for World Music as a teaching artist in residence brings Persian music to schools across San Diego through weekly classes and occasional performances. Kourosh’s curricula provide children with high-quality instruction in Persian classical music and singing. Through age-appropriate lessons, Mr. Taghavi introduces the world of music and rhythm through hands-on music-making in a fun, harmonious environment where children thrive musically and socially.

A parent of two children, Kourosh recognizes the significance of music in early childhood education. Fatherhood inspired Kourosh to explore and compose music for the youngest of audiences, as captured in the album Epiphany by the Namaad Ensemble.

For Further Reading and Viewing

The San Diego Participant Observer spotlights Persian Classical Musician, Kourosh Taghavi

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports on how Kouresh helps Poway Students Encounter a World of Music

Our friends at the Persian Cultural Center of San Diego have published a nice article about Kouresh’s work as CWM teaching artist at King-Chavez Academies in San Diego.

Kourosh’s lecture and performance at the 2012 Baraka Retreat in Santa Barbara.

KUSI TV Visits CWM Schools Program Classroom

Teaching artist Silvio Diaz was happy to have a visit from a KUSI TV crew during a recent CWM World Music in the Schools percussion class at Balboa Elementary School. Stefanie Schmitz, our program director, was on hand to chat with KUSI’s Allie Wagner about what was going on.

Through a generous grant from the California Arts Council, the nonprofit VAPA Foundation has provided funding for 7 such World Music residencies in San Diego. All are specifically aimed at schools in underserved communities with high Latino and Hispanic populations.

Here’s the video, which aired on April 26:

Read a related article from our friends at the Times of San Diego.

CWM Teaching Artist

San Diego 4th Graders Take Musical Journey

The Times of San Diego has a nice write-up this week on our World Music in the Schools program and the State and local partners whose help is so much appreciated:

With support from a California Arts Council education program that places artists in schools, the VAPA Foundation and the Center for World Music has provided support to give each fourth-grade class 12 visits from a teaching artist.

Students will sing, play instruments, use music vocabulary, collaborate with their peers and analyze auditory examples as they explore the geography, history, culture, language and traditions of Mexico, Cuba and/or Brazil.

Read the full article on the Times of San Diego website.

View a KUSI TV report on this same program.

Preserving Cultural Heritage Through Drumming: Teaching Artist Monette Marino

Monette Marino is an accomplished percussionist, well-versed in several drumming traditions from around the world, including those of West Africa (Guinea and Mali), Cuba, Brazil, and Korea. She has studied with a multitude of revered master teachers, including Malian drummer Yaya Diallo, Korean drummer Kim Duk Soo, and particularly Guinean Master drummer Mamady Keïta.

Monette has performed globally for decades with elite folkloric drum and dance ensembles, including Mamady Keïta’s Sewa Kan, Sabougnouma GPS, Les Amazones, Omo Aché, Afrekete, Zinco, and Sol e Mar. Additionally, she has performed in the popular music arena with many notable local musicians as well as international stars. Appearing on American Idol and The Voice, she has played everything from jazz to salsa, samba, reggae, funk, disco, soul, R&B, rock, and even country music.

Monette continues to explore many drumming traditions and disciplines from around the world. She has a deep respect for the cultural heritage preserved and passed on through the language of the drum.

In addition to her robust performance career, Monette is a sought-after teacher. In 1995 she founded Baraka International Arts, since renamed the MO’RHYTHM School of Percussion. A non-profit organization, the school fosters participation in traditional West African drumming and dance, and seeks to preserve and transmit the Mandingue musical tradition, as a way of promoting tolerance, understanding, equality, and international peace.

Monette has extensive experience teaching West African djembe drumming in both private and group lessons to students young and old. In her World Music in the Schools drumming classes, students are inspired to take risks and express themselves. A patient and amiable instructor, Monette is passionate about bringing people together through music and seeing them smile.