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Spirited Drumming

October 01, 2013
Professor Ken Schweitzer has been initiated as a sacred drummer in the colorful Santeria religion. He’ll share his experiences and his bata drums in a lecture and performance Oct. 1.

CHESTERTOWN, MD—On Tuesday, October 1, the Washington College Department of Music presents a book talk and drumming performance by Kenneth Schweitzer,  an associate professor who has been initiated as a Santería ritual drummer. Schweitzer will discuss and demonstrate the history and practice of Afro-Cuban batá drumming at 5:30 p.m. in the Egg, a performance space on the first floor of Hodson Hall Commons. A  Caribbean-themed reception will follow. Co-sponsored by the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of American Experience, the event is free and open to the public.

Schweitzer published his book, The Artistry of Afro-Cuban Batá Drumming: Aesthetics, Transmission, Bonding, and Creativity, in spring of 2013 after more than 15 years of research and exploration. Since his initiation as a ritual drummer, he has played sacred drums in more than 100 ceremonies all over the world.

The high-energy performance on October 1 will emphasize the drum’s role in the evocation of mythological spirits. Because the batá drum is always played in threes, Schweitzer will be joined by two professional colleagues, D.C.-based percussionist Mark Merella and ethnomusicologist David Font.  

For more information on Schweitzer’s experiences, please visit

– Kimberly Uslin ’14

Last modified on Feb. 12th, 2015 at 3:07pm by .