By Radim McCue Published March 16, 2010Vic Firth and Pikes Peak Community College offer Colorado drummers a chance to experience one of the best percussionists on the planet this weekend when Valerie Naranjo, of the Saturday Night Live Band and Broadway's The Lion King present hand drums from West Africa. In addition, the PPCC Percussion Ensemble will perform as well as the Bruce Anderson Drum Circuit Community Groups. This event is sponsored by Vic Firth, Zildjian, the Green Room Music Complex, PPCC Music Department, and the Bruce Andersons Drum Circuit.
Valerie Dee Naranjo is a legendary percussionist, vocalist, composer and clinician, known for her pioneering efforts in West African keyboard percussion music, is originally from Southern Colorado. She moved to New York City after completing studies in vocal and instrumental music education (U. of Oklahoma) and Percussion Performance (Ithaca College). In 1988 her playing of the gyil's traditional repertoire in Ghana's Kobine Festival of Traditional Music led to the declaration of a chiefly decree in the Dagara nation that women be allowed to play the instrument for the first time.
She plays percussion for NBC's Saturday Night Live Band, and has recorded and performed with Broadway's The Lion King, The Philip Glass Ensemble, David Byrne, The Paul Winter Consort, Tori Amos, Airto Moreira, and the international percussion ensemble, Megadrums, which includes Milton Cardona, Zakir Hussein, and Glen Velez.