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PR’cussion – Puerto Rican percussion study adventure

Drummers Rafael Maya Alvarez and Mark Powers have teamed up to offer you the Caribbean percussive study adventure of a lifetime . . . 20+ hours of lessons, a tropical rainforest getaway and endless fun . . . on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico!


Put it in your calendar to join us:
February 4-12, 2014


     • Each of our five weekdays in San Juan will feature 4 hours of traditional percussion and dance lessons by Rafa Maya, Mark Powers and a collection of instructors: two hours focused on Bomba and another two hours learning additional styles (Plena, Rumba, etc.).

     • Those evenings are free, allowing you to explore Old San Juan, check out El Morro (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), take a Bacardí tour, or just kick back and relax all Caribbean-like.

     • The weekend will include at least one live traditional music performance and an adventure to El Yunque (the US Forest Service’s only tropical rainforest).

     • Weather permitting on Monday evening, we’ll attend a “bombazo” (informal community Bomba drum and dance jam) on the beach in Santurce, where we can watch and likely even participate, showing off your newly acquired Bomba skills!

Jump to:
Tentative schedule | Program price | About Rafa | About Mark | Things to know

Tentative schedule: (subject to change)

PR'cussion calendar
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The price for the program includes:*

     • 8 nights hotel stay** in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Tues.2/4 through Tues.2/11)
     • 20 hours of traditional drum/dance lessons
     • breakfast and lunch*** 7 days (Wed.2/5 through Tues.2/11)
     • transportation from airport (SJU) on Tues.2/4
     • transportation between hotel, lessons, El Yunque, scheduled live performance trips and Santurce bombazo
     • transportation to airport on Wed.2/12

* Price does not include airfare to/from Puerto Rico.

** Price is based on double occupancy hotel rooms (notify us at the time of registration if there is someone you prefer sharing a room with).

*** Dinners are not included, allowing participants to venture off and explore the many delicious food options that the area offers. [list of suggested restaurants available upon request]

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About Rafael Maya Alvarez:

Rafael Maya AlvarezRafael Maya Alvarez was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico and currently resides in San Juan. He is the founder and director of Desde Cero and founder and director of Proyecto Union. Rafael also has participated in Bomba groups such as Majestad Negra (member and coreographer), Restauracion Cultural (VP, Co-Director), Tambuye, Tendencias (Director), Fiesta Bombera, Sabor a Bomba, Son de Plena, y Bomba Tour. Rafael is currently teaching at Arthur Murray Dance Studio as the lead Bomba instructor. He is also an instructor with the project Gigantes de la Bomba, that gives classes twice a week in the Plaza de Recreo of Carolina and to schools in the Municipality of Carolina.

Rafael has taken part in programs such as “Vida Plena”, “Head Start,” “Upward Bound”, “Taller Fotoperiodismo”, “Instituto de Cultura Puertorriquena”, “Program of continued education”, “Early Start” and “Bomba de Oro,” where he gives workshops all around the island. Rafael also gives bilingual Bomba workshops for the University of Puerto Rico’s exchange student program. He was invited and gave his latest masterclass at the Berklee College of Music in Valencia, Spain. For several years, Rafael was one of the dance and percussion instructors for the Corporacion Pinones se Integra in Loiza.

Rafael has traveled to numerous countries, providing lectures and performing, because for Rafael, the most important element is cultural education. Rafael has also appeared often in newspapers, magazines, as well as on radio and television- including the season finale of Top Chef.

He currently is working in Restauracion Cultural’s Cultural Center, his organization’s new facilities, to help spread Bomba. He has just released the first instructional DVDs on Bomba, which have been a hit amongst Bomba enthusiasts. Rafael has also worked for some time as a studio musician, recording on various albums from around the world. Recently, he has released Desde Cero’s first album, titled “Semilla de Identidad.” He has dedicated himself fully to his culture and to his music, which is Bomba.

Find more about Rafael at these websites: DesdeCero.org | BombaPR.com

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About Mark Powers:

Mark PowersA percussion artist/educator and world traveler, Mark Powers has studied, performed and taught throughout North America, as well as in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He has shared the stage with everyone from Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Devon Evans (of Bob Marley and the Wailers), Rolling Stones saxophonist Tim Ries and America’s Polka King- the late Frankie Yankovic, to disco sensations The Afrodisiacs and 80’s nerd-rockers The Spazmatics.

Mark is a REMO Education Artist and facilitates a variety of percussion programs, teaching students of all ages in schools around the world, as well as working with adults in rhythm-based corporate leadership/teambuilding workshops and correctional facilities.

Over multiple personal study trips to Puerto Rico, Mark has researched Bomba and other traditional styles of percussion with Rafael Maya Alvarez and Hector “Tito” Matos.

Currently residing in Portland, Oregon, he can be found online at: PowersPercussion.com

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Things to know:

     • It being a U.S. territory, citizens of the United States DO NOT need a passport (nor visa) for travel to Puerto Rico.

     • For the same reason, there is no need to exchange money; the currency is the U.S. dollar.

     • Both Spanish and English are official languages but Spanish is certainly the primary language. Will you be able to get by on English alone? Absolutely. Might your experience be even better if you make attempts to utilize even the little bit of español you do know? Without a doubt!

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