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35 Years Taller presents: Valerie Naranjo (with special guest Ichitey James)


El Taller Latino Americano is pleased to present Valerie Naranjo with special guest Ichitey James, as part of our 35th Anniversary celebration - 35 Years Taller. The event is very special for El Taller, as Valerie will be the first recipient of the Chaski Award during the series for her work in music and 'changing the course of musical history in Africa." 

Valerie Naranjo is known for her pioneering efforts in West African music, and one of only two non-West Africans to win the Ghanian Kobine Festival gyil competition. She plays percussion for NBC's Saturday Night Live band, and Broadway's The Lion King, and has performed on six continents solo, with The Philip Glass Ensemble, David Byrne, The Paul Winter Consort, Zakir Hussein, and others. She compiled the published transcriptions "West African Music for the Marimba Soloist", "Joro" a series of works for Gyil and Orchestra, and 12 CDs. She teaches Lobi/Brifo Percussion at NYU, and The Manhattan School of Music, and was named Drum! Magazine's "World Percussionist of the Year" 2003 and 2008, and "Mallet player of the Year" 2012. Max Salazar, Latin Beat Magazine, "She is living evidence that women today can be all that they want to be." 

Ichitey James will be joining Valerie for the evening. From the Lobi/Brifo Nation in northern Ghana, a master percussionist, he owns the Lobi/Brifo Gyil Center gyil student and construction at Accra's National Council for the Arts. 

For more information on Valerie Naranjo please visit