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Máirtín de Cógáin

Máirtín de Cógáin, 21st Century Irish Storyteller

We warmly welcome Máirtín de Cógáin, who joins World Music in the Schools as a teaching artist in residence.

Máirtín de Cógáin-drumming-2Center for World Music artist in residence Máirtín de Cógáin is a singing, dancing, story-telling bodhrán (Irish frame drum) player, who also is a noted playwright and actor. He performs all over the United States, as well as in his native Ireland. An infectious personality, Máirtín pleasantly commands the attention of all audiences, from concert halls to intimate porches.

Descended from a long line of storytellers, Máirtín is the winner of two All-Ireland awards from Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. He often tours with The Máirtín de Cógáin Project, The Fuchsia Band, or Gailfean. A true promoter of “the Ballad,” he searches for those forgotten songs of old and breathes new life into them, as well as writing some new songs of his own. Máirtín learned from many famous Irish singers such as Danni Maichi Ua Súilleabháin, Séamus Mac Mathúna, and Ciarán Dwyer. He is a fluent speaker of Irish (Gaelic) who was brought up in a bilingual home, and attended primary and secondary schools taught in Irish. Máirtín holds a degree in the Irish language from University College Cork.

Máirtín de Cógáin-drummingIf not on stage singing, storytelling, dancing, or playing the bodhrán, Máirtín is treading the boards as an actor, notably in the film The Wind that Shakes the Barley. He has co-written many productions with the Be Your Own Banana Theatre Company, recently playing De Bogman off-Broadway in New York.

Máirtín has been playing the bodhrán for many years, learning first from Eric Cunningham (The New De Danann) and later from Colm Murphy (The Old De Danann). Máirtín has taught bodhrán technique at the Catskills Irish Arts Week, Augusta Irish Week, as well as giving workshops at major U.S. festivals including the Kansas City Irish Fest, CelticFest Mississippi, Minnesota Irish Fair, and La Crosse IrishFest. He also gives private lessons in the San Diego area and along the road while touring.

Máirtín de Cógáin-dancing

A traditional brush dance with his father Barry Cogan

Growing up in a house full of dancing, Máirtín helped teach the steps at the family-run céilís (social gatherings) from an early age, and now teaches the folk dances of Cork to dancers everywhere.

Máirtín makes friends wherever he goes. In a very short time, de Cógáin has become a regular performer at some of the most prestigious Irish festivals in the U.S. Although he can often be found leading a tour group in Ireland, or entertaining guests on a traditional Irish music-themed cruise ship, he now spends most of his time in California, where he lives with his wife Mitra and their young son, who shows great promise as a dancer and bodhrán player himself.

Want to learn more about Máirtín and his career? Visit www.MairtinMusic.com. You can also catch him on YouTube telling a story or singing with friends.

 

Fandango at Eduardo's

Eduardo García, Building Community Through Son Jarocho

Professor Eduardo García, a member of the San Diego-based son jarocho group Son de San Diego, teaches in the School of Arts at California State University San Marcos. He is also, we are proud to say, a teaching artist for the Center for World Music’s World Music in the Schools program. He has delved deeply into the study of son jarocho, the traditional music, dance, and songs of Veracruz, Mexico. His focus includes the instruments, the style of music, and above all creating a safe place for learning music and building community.

cynthia-_-eduardo-garciaEduardo’s interest in son jarocho regional folk music was sparked by an immersive study trip to San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz, Mexico in 2002. His journey to the home of son jarocho inspired his study of the tradition, taking him through many varied experiences in community-based music.

He believes it is important for young people to have access to as many musical cultures as possible. This global arts-based approach to learning brings the world to his students, and broadens their perspectives and sensibilities.

This particular music of Veracruz—son jarocho, son abajeño, or música de cuerdas, as it is known in different areas of the Sotavento region—is important because at its core lies the central component of cultivating community. Whether playing, singing, or dancing, this music is not created as a solo venture: it is a shared social activity. The instruments, the call and response nature of the singing, and the communicative percussion of the dancing between singers and musicians, creates myriad social and musical interactions. It is a social music, and Eduardo has tried to remain true to this central aspect of son jarocho music as he continues his efforts to cultivate a similar musical community in the San Diego region.cwm-festival-5-13-son-jarocho

— Cynthia Carbajal, Teacher at Lexington Elementary School in El Cajon, CA and Teaching Artist for the CWM’s World Music in the Schools

Read more about Eduardo García’s contributions to San Diego and his bridge-building efforts through the musical tradition of son jarocho:  

Sharing Music Across the U.S.-Mexico Border’s Metal Fence, New York Times — May 29, 2016

Son Jarocho Creates Community on Both Sides of the Border, KPBS — May 30, 2012

 Wu Man Makes Pipa an Instrument of Change, San Diego Union Tribune — May 8, 2014.

Watch a video:

Wu Man and Son de San Diego collaboration at the Carlsbad Music Festival.

Alex Khalil

Alex Khalil: A Neurocomputational Ethnomusicologist (Yes, really!)

A Supercomputer Center is an unconventional place to find an ethnomusicologist. Yet, this is where we find Dr. Alex Khalil, an unconventional musician-scholar in whom the disjunct worlds of musicology and neural computation converge. This makes him, in a word, “eccentric.” No, not the “zany, frizzy-haired and absent-minded genius” type of eccentric. (Well, the “genius” likely applies, though Alex would deny it vehemently.) Rather, he is eccentric in that he makes a habit of pursuing those questions that carry him far beyond the comfortable center of any one world of standard practice or academic discipline.

Alex Khalil performing on gender wayang

Balinese Gender Wayang Performance, Seaport Village

Alex holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Music Composition and Performance from CalArts and a PhD with an emphasis in ethnomusicology from U.C. San Diego. He has spent more than twenty years conducting research on several Asian musics (primarily those of China, Japan, and Indonesia), speaks Mandarin and Indonesian, plays a host of traditional instruments (specializing in Balinese gamelan and Chinese guqin), and has worked extensively with the Center for World Music for over three decades, including stints as Executive Director and Teaching Artist in Residence. His current post? Project scientist at UCSD’s Institute for Neural Computation and research fellow for the Temporal Dynamics in Learning Center. How did this happen?

What may appear as a dramatic career shift is really a natural continuation, a fulfillment of Alex’s varied abilities and ideas that were sparked while he was teaching in the CWM’s Balinese gamelan program, which he established alongside Center founder Robert Brown back in 1999. In gamelan, rhythmic precision and tight group synchrony are vital. Gradually, Alex noticed that most children synchronized relatively easily, while a few struggled. “It clearly wasn’t for a lack of effort, nor did it correlate with their musical ability in anything other than rhythm. This was strange.” He later discovered that all of these struggling students also had attention deficits. Through further testing he established a definitive correlation between attention and rhythmic timing.  

Further study could show that musical practice might facilitate improvement, not just in musical timing but beyond gamelan and into interpersonal communication, which is also fundamentally rhythmic.

“Attention is dynamic, that is, changing in time, and so it is rhythmic in nature.” Alex believes that developing proficiency in music, especially rhythm, may improve communication skills in children with ADHD or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), and perhaps even for all children. His road from the classroom to scientific research has been a long and difficult one, but it is starting to pay off. Recently, he and partnering institutions were awarded a substantial grant from the National Science Foundation (Science of Learning Center) to further study synchrony in group brain dynamics. “If the hypothesis is true,” he says, “we have an army of skilled music teachers who can offer help.”

“We tend to wonder what happens when music is included in cognitive development, but a musical brain is a normal brain . . . and music just isn’t in our lives in the same ways it used to be.”

Alex Khalil embodies the heart of what the CWM promotes in its youth education program, World Music in the Schools: we solve problems better when we are skilled at listening and acting across the boundaries between cognitive worlds, even those that seem so stubbornly divergent as “science” and “the arts.” Something as seemingly simple as learning an unfamiliar musical style can, in a sense, make us bilingual. Nine-year old Olivia, a gamelan student from The Museum School, makes this crystal-clear when she says that “it’s fun to learn another culture’s music because then you can kind of speak with them, in a way.” You’re right Olivia!  

Cultural fluency can be fun, and, as Alex demonstrates, it can also provide a lens for viewing and solving old problems in new ways.

alexkhalil-1200x627

Japanese Shakuhachi Performance, USD

Speaking of cultural fluency, can you guess Alex’s central passion since childhood? It’s unlikely that Byzantine chant came to mind. But for Alex, who still frequently performs as a cantor in a Greek Orthodox Church in San Diego, this is not just another thing he does. Just as gamelan rhythms might improve communication skills, on a cognitive level our various activities don’t stay in neat compartments as we might expect.

The many worlds in which we participate converge, integrate, and become the world we know.

As we depart the supercomputer center where we found Alex Khalil, our world has already grown. But it also imparts a question, really a personal challenge: how will you expand your horizons today?

Read an article written by Alex on the value of music education for kids for The Smithsonian’s Museum of Asian Art here.

Learn more about the CWM’s World Music in the Schools gamelan program at the Museum School.

James Gutierrez, PhD, Northeastern University

Nomsa Burkhardt, Teaching the Traditional Music of the Zulu and Xhosa Peoples of South Africa

The Center for World Music would like to welcome back Nomsa Burkhardt to our family of outstanding teaching artists in residence, rejoining our World Music in the Schools program.

Update: Congratulations to Nomsa Burkhardt, Teaching Artist for the World Music in the Schools program, for winning a grant from Rising Arts Leaders San Diego to attend the Teaching Artist Institute.

Born in Soweto, Center for World Music distinguished teaching artist Nomsa Burkhardt is an extraordinary South African musician and dancer. She spent her formative years in KwaZulu, Natal, a region famous for its rich Zulu heritage and culture. There, she studied various traditional dance styles with master dancers, such as Indlamu, ukuQhobosha, and ukuSina. After immigrating to Philadelphia, she co-founded the African dance troupe HIMOSHA. Her artistic skills and passion for dance quickly propelled her into serving as both the director and lead choreographer for the troupe for seven years. She collaborated with well-known Philadelphia-based South African multi-instrumentalist and artist Mogauwane Mahloele at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center, and at many universities and schools. She also performed and conducted workshops annually at the Philly Dance Africa Project. In 2000 she returned to South Africa to study with the accomplished ethnomusicologist Prof. Meki Nzewi at the University of Pretoria. Upon her return to the USA in 2004, she joined the Grammy-nominated South African band Sharon Katz & The Peace Train. As part of the Peace Train Project at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, Nomsa was instrumental in developing a teacher-training program that focused on South African history and conducted a series of educational performances. Nomsa has toured throughout the USA, South Africa, Israel, Italy, and Germany. She is the co-founder of IZINDE, an Afro-fusion band composed of performing artists from around the world.


RALSD LogoUnder the sponsorship of the Center for World Music, Nomsa was selected in September 2017 to participate in the Teaching Artist Institute, a professional development program offered by Arts for Learning San Diego, an affiliate of Young Audiences/Arts for Learning. For a working musician who collaborates with schools as a teaching artist, this program is of tremendous value. Nomsa was awarded a Virgil Yalong matching grant from Rising Arts Leaders San Diego to support her participation in the Teaching Artist Institute.


 

Nomsa Burkhardt at Garfield Elementary

Nomsa Burkhardt at Garfield Elementary

Nomsa is a distinguished teaching artist for Center for World Music’s NEA-funded hands-on schools program. Her student-centered curriculum exceeds California arts standards by bringing joy and heartfelt fun into San Diego classrooms, while addressing core learning outcomes. Through the study of the traditional music and dance of South Africa, Nomsa’s classes focus on the importance of history and culture in the creation of music, the use of musical instruments, and the expression of community unity and collaboration through the performing arts. Students learn the geographical origins of musical instruments, increasing their global awareness and providing them with a global context to the music and dance of Zulu and Xhosa cultures. Nomsa integrates the science of making musical instruments in her program, and her students enjoy a diversity of music-making through singing and games that involve stories and simple songs, enhancing the connections to other disciplines such as literacy and math.

World Music in the Schools and the children of San Diego are fortunate to have Nomsa Burkhardt spreading joy and understanding through the traditional music and dance of South Africa.

Maluju – Stop Xenophobia By Nomsa

Video of Nomsa teaching South African Zulu Music and Dance

Mark Lamson: Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian Drumming

The Center for World Music would like to recognize Mark Lamson for his  dedication as an outstanding teaching artist in residence for World Music in the Schools.

Mark LamsonCenter for World Music teaching artist Mark Lamson is a highly acclaimed percussionist, ensemble director, recording artist, producer, educator, and one of San Diego’s best-recognized authorities on Cuban and Brazilian drumming and percussion. As a valued instructor in our World Music in the Schools program, he has taught the exciting rhythms of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian drumming, communicating concepts in music, math, collaboration, and culture to hundreds of San Diego school children in his classes.

Mark has seven recordings and countless performances to his credit. He is known for his professionalism, expertise, and experience in playing a broad range of musical styles, and for assembling ensembles featuring top-notch talent. While Mark’s repertoire includes R&B, rock, Latin jazz, New Orleans brass band, funk, and hip hop, his true passion lies in fusing the popular and traditional music of Brazil and Cuba, with modern American and Latin American styles.

Based in San Diego, California, Mark is the director and lead percussionist for Sol e Mar, a dynamic Brazilian/Latin music collective which he co-founded in 1985. Sol e Mar can deploy anywhere from 3 to 50 performers, ranging from a bossa nova jazz trio to a full drum bateria replete with Brazilian samba dancers in full Carnaval regalia. In 1994, Sol e Mar won “Best Latin Band” at the Second Annual San Diego Music Awards.

Mark Lamson at Bird RockMark is an adjunct faculty member at San Diego State University and has also taught at Santa Clara University in San Jose, California, at California State University Long Beach, and at Palomar College. He is a sought-after workshop leader and lecturer, and has been invited to teach and speak at institutions of learning across the United States and around the world.

Check out Mark’s website at https://marklamson.com/.

Garit Imhoff, Musician and Storyteller

The Center for World Music would like to recognize Garit Imhoff for his years of dedication as an outstanding teaching artist in residence for the World Music in the Schools program.

Garit in the Garden

Garit Imhoff is a professional mbira player, teacher, and all-around performer, specializing in storytelling and movement. He is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts and has participated in world music ensembles for over forty-five years. He has studied and performed traditional Zimbabwean music extensively, both in the United States and in Zimbabwe, and has studied the traditional music, puppetry, and cultures of Java and Bali in Indonesia. Mr. Imhoff learned and practiced Zimbabwean music under the tutelage of many great teachers including Ephat Mujuru, Jacob Mafuleni, Stella Chiweshe, Tute Chigamba, Irene Chigamba, and Musekiwa Chingodza.  As one of its cofounders, Mr. Imhoff is an active performing member of Zimbeat, a professional San Diego-based music ensemble that specializes in the traditional and popular music of Zimbabwe.  He is also a performing member of Kembang Sunda, a San Diego-based traditional west Javanese gamelan orchestra.

Zimbabwe DayIn 2013 Mr. Imhoff was awarded a grant through the Artist Outreach Project of the Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation–funding to support teaching children in Encinitas at the Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito. The Center for World Music partnered with the Picerne Foundation and Ticha Muzavazi, instrument builders and teacher of students with disabilities in Zimbabwe, to develop specially made small-sized Zimbabwean mbiras that could be easily played by young children. The resulting year-long project subsequently developed into Center for World Music classes in public and private primary schools throughout the County of San Diego.

Mbira Students

Combining storytelling, dance, and singing to engage his students, Mr. Imhoff has been using the small-sized mbiras to instruct San Diego K-12 children in the compelling traditions of Zimbabwe. His music classes in the schools are supported by grants from the California Arts Council, the National Endowment of the Arts, and the local San Diego community.

Stefanie Schmitz — Brazilian Music and Rhythms

Congratulations to Stefanie Schmitz, Teaching Artist for the World Music in the Schools program, for winning a grant from Rising Arts Leaders to attend the Teaching Artist Institute.

Multi-instrumentalist musical artist and teacher Stefanie Schmitz has been exploring the San Diego music scene since 2001. Her talents span an eclectic range of genres including jazz, classical, samba, choro, funk, musical theatre, playing the clarinet, tenor saxophone, Brazilian percussion, and more. Stefanie attended the University of California San Diego where she received bachelor’s degrees in Music Performance and in French Language Studies.Stefanie Schmitz She directs and performs with a number of San Diego-based music groups, including Choro Sotaque, Super Sonic Samba School, the Zicas, and Restoration One. She shares the same knowledge and enthusiasm she exhibits as a band leader with her students, teaching private and group lessons on clarinet, saxophone, and percussion to students over a range of ages and ability levels. As a teaching artist for the Center for World Music, she also works in school classrooms, sharing her passion for Brazilian rhythm with San Diego area K–12 students.


RALSD LogoUnder the sponsorship of the Center for World Music, Stefanie was selected in November 2015 to participate in the Teaching Artist Institute, a professional development program offered by Arts for Learning, an affiliate of Young Audiences/Arts for Learning. For a working musician who collaborates with schools as a teaching artist, this program is of tremendous value. Stefanie was awarded a matching grant from San Diego Rising Arts Leaders to support her participation in the Teaching Artist Institute.

 

“In addition to learning about child development, lesson planning, and classroom management, I am connecting with other local teaching artists and developing my own personal mission statement as a performer, learner, and teacher. I’m looking forward to sharing my new energy and ideas with my students!”


Stefanie’s love affair with Brazilian music began when she took a samba drumming class. She started San Diego’s first choro group Choro Sotaque in 2009, performing traditional Brazilian folk music on clarinet. The group recorded its debut CD in 2015, which is available for purchase at chorosotaque.bandcamp.com. Stefanie has also performed with and led the community based Brazilian drum and dance group Super Sonic Samba School — a group which performs regularly for festivals and events around San Diego. Stefanie Schmitz MarchingStefanie seeks out her yearly fix of new inspiration at California Brazil Camp — a weeklong music and dance camp in the redwoods of Sonoma County. In 2013 she left her staff position at UC San Diego to embark on a six-month musical odyssey to Brazil, where she absorbed Brazilian language and culture, and studied with masters of samba and choro in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Olinda, and Jericoacoara.

As an associate artist for Lamb’s Players Theatre, Stefanie has played in the orchestras for several musicals, most recently in West Side Story. She also plays saxophone for the eclectic funk/rock/reggae band Restoration One, which was nominated for a 2014 San Diego Music Award. Most recently, she can be seen playing and singing with the Zicas, a new Brazilian music project.

When Stefanie is not playing music or teaching, you will find her making art, tap dancing, practicing yoga, or singing in her car. She blogs about her musical adventures at Everything Is Music, stefanieschmitz.blogspot.com, and she sells her original handmade jewelry in San Diego coffee shops and on Etsy.

Check out Stefanie’s website at www.stefanieschmitz.net for her upcoming performance schedule or to sign up for her mailing list.

Read Stefanie’s articles on the agogô and tamborim.

Marie Hayes

Marie Hayes Sings Traditional Music from the Balkans and Beyond

The Center for World Music would like to welcome Marie Hayes to our family of outstanding teaching artists in residence, joining our World Music in the Schools program.

Marie Hayes has been singing Balkan harmony music ever since she attended a Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble concert in Oakland in 1990. There were ten woman on the stage, elbows linked in a semi-circle, singing the most captivating music she had ever heard. She was also struck by the rich, refined choral style of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, whose music initially amazed her. Ultimately, it was this exciting and expressive nature of the “village voice” sound that drew her in.

It wasn’t long before she found friends in San Diego who wanted to join her. Their quartet, Harmonija, whose motto was “Harmony Music from the Balkans and Beyond,” entertained people for the next decade. They performed at coffee houses and parties, and gave many concerts for San Diego Folk Heritage, often teaching workshops at that organization’s annual music festival. Marie performed for ten years singing and playing percussion with Eastern Exposure, a Balkan dance band that played live music for folk dancers all over Southern California. She has recently formed a new a cappella vocal group, Trio Zheni, with singers Mary Ann Downs and Stacey Barnett.

As a teacher of Balkan singing, Marie’s main goal is to help students learn to listen to each other and work together to produce a sound they can be really proud of—and feel the thrill of hitting a perfect chord that makes the whole room ring.

Marie takes workshops and private lessons regularly from world-renowned singing teachers sponsored by the Eastern European Folklife Center. These include Bulgarians Donka Koleva, Tatiana Sarbinska, and Iliana Božanova, UCLA Balkan Choir Director Tsvetanka Varimezova (and her daughter Tanya), Bosnian Mirjana Lausevič, and Macedonian Esma Redžepova. She has also studied with American master teachers such as Mary Sherhart and Michelle Simon for Balkan singing, Canadian Brenna MacCrimmon for Turkish singing, Christos Govetas for Greek singing, and Polly Tapia Ferber for doumbek (drum) and frame drum. Because Balkan rhythms are varied and sometimes quite complicated, she finds that a knowledge of drumming is essential.

Marie has a degree in sociolinguistics from UCSD, where she also studied music. She has taught English as a Second Language at Miramar College, been a tutor for the Laubach Literacy program, and spent seven happy years as a teacher at Mission Bay Montessori Academy, where she loved teaching music and movement to the preschoolers in her class.

Photograph by Steve Gould

Andrea Hernandez — Balinese Gamelan Angklung

The Center for World Music would like to give a warm welcome to Andrea Hernandez, who has recently joined our World Music in the Schools roster of teaching artists in residence.

Andrea Hernandez

Andrea’s vibrant creativity comes from growing up in a large family of singers, musicians, dancers, writers, and artists. Her imaginative home life inspired her to actively pursue all of these arts from a very young age. She grew up drawing, painting, writing, singing, dancing, and playing every instrument she could get her hands on. She has performed Balet Folclórico (traditional dance of all regions of Mexico) since she could first walk, and continues to do so to this day. Her insatiable curiosity and appetite to learn has persisted, as she continues to study many different arts including guitar, piano, drums, flamenco, and capoeira. When she first heard the Indonesian gamelan, she was naturally drawn to it because of its complex musical rhythms.

Andrea was introduced to gamelan while working at the Museum School in 2003 and has been in love with it ever since. She has studied and performed with many teachers including Dr. Alex Khalil, Putu Hiranmayena, Tyler Yamin, Djoko Walujo, and Made Lasmawan. Her primary focus has been Balinese gamelan angklung, but she has also studied Javanese gamelan, gender, and Indonesian dance under Wuri Wimboprasetyo.

Andrea is a member of the USD Gamelan Ensemble, Gunung Mas, and performs with them on a regular basis. At USD, her enthusiasm for learning and playing is almost unmatched and her participation is very much appreciated. She has taught beginning and intermediate gamelan angklung at the Museum School for about 10 years. Andrea is determined to continue developing her abilities and teaching skills so she can help her students find the inspiration to be creative in their daily lives.

Ilana Queiroz – Brazilian Capoeira Dance and Music

We are happy to welcome Ilana Queiroz as a teaching artist in the Center’s World Music in the Schools program. Originally from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, Ilana is currently teaching capoeira—an art form that combines music, dance, and acrobatics—to second grade students at the San Diego French American School. Having taught since 2000 at more than a dozen schools in the San Diego area, Ilana brings a wealth of teaching experience to World Music in the Schools. Outside of California, Ilana taught Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban rhythms in Andalucia, Spain, during the years 2004 and 2005. She participates in the Ginga Mundo Capoeira group, and plays percussion professionally with ensembles in many styles. Her most recent musical project is a duo called Bossa Lounge Project, a fusion of Bossa Nova and contemporary Brazilian music.

Ilana Queiroz 3A trained anthropologist, Ilana has a profound interest in culture. She began teaching capoeira because she noticed that this practice had begun to spread all over the world, but that, in the process, the focus on the history, lyrics, meaning, and purpose of the art form was being lost. Ilana loves to use music and dance as an approach to history, and as an anthropologist, she sees capoeira as an excellent vehicle for teaching inclusion and community involvement. As a mother, she ensures the lessons are accessible by children of all ages and learning styles.

 

Capoeira for me is a complete art. It teaches timing, spatial perception, eye contact, respect, community, and partnership. It teaches children to be courageous and to try new activities in different disciplines. Capoeira encourages movement which allows kids to literally see the world from another perspective—doing cart wheels, hand and head stands.

 

Ilana Queiroz 2

In her experience as a teacher, Ilana finds that capoeira encompasses so many aspects of learning that each child can find a favorite element in the art to focus on. Her capoeira class consists of stretches, warm up (often with games related to the history or movements learned), and technique (kicks, dodges, timing, and dance sequences). Musically, she teaches rhythm and various instruments through capoeira songs. Children learn how to play the agogô, pandeiro, atabaque (drum), reco-reco, caxixi and sometimes the berimbau. Every instrument has a different feel and technique, contributing to distinct musical patterns. The students develop the ability to work in harmony with each other and multitask through capoeira’s style of call-and-response. The lyrics are in Portuguese, so students have a chance to learn songs in a new language, bringing the students a new linguistic experience. Some lyrics are very old and simple, reflecting a certain time in the past, so Ilana uses this opportunity to tell the story about what life was like for these songwriters and dancers. In this way she is able to integrate language, geography, history, and movement into her lessons.

Ilana Queiroz 4Ilana’s teaching philosophy is to facilitate contact with the culture, develop a sense of community, and to encourage familiarity of the capoeira player with his or her own body. She also sees great value in exposure to rhythm, the native language, and different instruments. Most especially, she tries to teach her students that happiness is the fuel for a healthy life.