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Michael Spiro

Home Base Established Albums Charts PTracks
San Bruno (CA), United States 1980 2 0 0
This artist has albums and podcasts available.
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Click on each album title for an expanded view.
Album Name Preview Style Price
BataMbira Afro-Cuban $10.99 Buy_now
Bata Ketu Afro-Cuban $10.99 Buy_now
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International Solo Clinician. Michael Spiro is an International Solo Clinician for Latin Percussion (LP), Sabian cymbals, Yamaha drums, Vic Firth sticks, and Evans drumheads.

Michael Spiro is an internationally recognized percussionist, recording artist, and educator, known specifically for his work in the Latin music field. He has performed on thousands of records, co-produced and played on several instructional videos for Warner Bros. Publications (including Talking Drums, Changuito, Giovanni Hidalgo, and Ignacio Berroa), and produced seminal recordings in the Latin music genre, including Orquesta Batachanga, Grupo Bata-Ketu, Mark Levine & the Latin Tinge, and Grupo Ilu-Aña.

Michael’s recording and performing credits include such diverse artists as David Byrne, Cachao, The Caribbean Jazz Project, Dori Caymmi, Changuito, Richard Egues, Frank Emilio Flynn, Ella Fitzgerald, David Garibaldi, Gilberto Gil, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ray Holman, Toninho Horta, Bobby Hutcherson, Dr. John, Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge, Machete Ensemble, Bobby McFerrin, Andy Narell, Ray Obiedo, Chico O'Farrill, Eddie Palmieri, Lazaro Ros, David Rudder, Carlos Santana, Grace Slick, Omar Sosa, Talking Drums, Clark Terry, McCoy Tyner and Charlie Watts. In addition, he has recorded soundtracks to such major motion pictures as Soapdish, Henry and June, True Stories, Sworn To The Drum, Walker, Eddie Macon's Run, and Dragon-The Life of Bruce Lee; and wrote several arrangements for the Tony Award winning Broadway show BLAST! which was released on video by PBS in 2002.

His formal education includes a Bachelor's Degree with Honors in Latin American Studies from the University of California, and three and a half years of graduate work in ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. His practical education consists of a seven year apprenticeship with Francisco Aguabella (a relationship which continues today), and extensive study throughout Latin America. He has studied annually in Cuba since 1984 with musicians such as Jose Luis Quintana ("Changuito"), Esteban Vega Bacallao ("Cha-Cha"), Daniel Diaz and Juan "Claro" Blanco of Orquesta Ritmo Oriental, Regino Jimenez, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, and Grupo Afro-Cuba de Matanzas. In addition, in 1986 he spent two months training at G.R.E.S. Portela, the famous Escola de Samba in Rio de Janeiro.

Michael is a frequent visiting artist at universities worldwide. In addition to the position he held in the Jazz Department at the University of California, Berkeley, he has taught at numerous colleges throughout North America and Europe, and continues to be a presenter at national and statewide conventions of P.A.S. (The Percussive Arts Society) and the I.A.J.E. (International Association of Jazz Educators).

He currently resides in San Bruno, California where he is an integral part of the Bay Area music scene. He records and produces with groups throughout the West Coast, and still tours world-wide with the percussion trio "Talking Drums," which he co-leads with David Garibaldi and Jesus Diaz. In June of 1996, his own recording Bata-Ketu was released on Bembe Records to international critical acclaim, including being voted one of the top 50 drum records of all time by Drum Magazine. He debuted that material on the stage in 2002 with a performance grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in that same year he performed with his own group "Ara Meji" at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where he received the Distinguished Achievement Award in Percussion. In 2004 he received a Grammy nomination for his work as both producer and artist on Mark Levine’s Latin/Jazz release "Isla". This year he released his most recent recording "BataMbira", which is already receiving rave reviews, and he was voted runner up in the jazz/fusion category in Drum Magazine's Reader's Poll Awards. The beat goes on........

Educational Residencies, Clinics and Workshops
Michael has developed a residency program of workshops and master classes for music students. The residency's curriculum covers the history, development, and performance techniques of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian musics. Spiro not only teaches how to play the music, but emphasizes the cultural context within which the music takes place. Included are participatory activities in Afro-Cuban and Brazilian percussion performance. Activities are adapted to the particular group in attendance.

"Michael... knows how to teach it... giving the reasons for things and the history. He can teach any aspect of Brazilian or Afro-Cuban music that you want. He's one of the most talented guys I've ever met." - David Garibaldi, Hall of Fame Drummer

Universities and Schools that have incorporated Michael Spiro into their curricula include:
Stanford University - Palo Alto campus
University of California - Berkeley campus
University of California - Los Angeles campus
University of California - Santa Cruz campus
California State University - Hayward campus
California State University - Fresno campus
California State University - San Diego campus
Banff Center of the Arts - Canada
Rotterdam Conservatory of Music Rotterdam - Holland
Wichita State University - Kansas
Northern Illinois University - Dekalb campus
University of Iowa - Iowa City campus
Northern Iowa University - Cedar Falls campus
Grinell College Grinell - Iowa
Berklee School of Music - Massachusetts
Mount Holyoke - Massachusetts
Smith College - Massachusetts
University of Massuchusetts - Amherst campus
University of Jalapa - Mexico
University of Missouri - Columbia campus
University of Missouri - Kansas City campus
Queens College - New York
East Carolina State University
University of North Carolina
Duke University Raleigh/Durham - North Carolina
Capital University - Ohio
University of Akron - Ohio
Mansfield State University - Pennsylvania
Temple University - Philadelphia
University of South Carolina - South Carolina
Winthrop College - South Carolina
North Texas State University
Brigham Young University - Utah
The Cornish Institute of the Arts - Washington
University of Washington - Seattle
Evergreen State University - Washington
University of Wisconsin Madison
University of Wisconsin Whitewater
University of Wisconsin Green Bay
Lawrence University - Wisconsin

Spacer Podcast is free to download.
Name Listen Description
June 2006 Interview:
an Afro-Cuban Journey
From his first 1984 audition on the street in Cuba to his tour with Charlie Watts' (Rolling Stones drummer) Jazz Band, Michael Spiro goes in depth into the development of his many recordings. Topics discussed also include attitudes in musical education, the lack of curiosity of today's young people and the advantages of digital recording technology. Total time is 52:28