- Featured: The Marassa Duo
- Release Date: 10/4/2005
The Marassa Duo brings together a wide variety of percussion styles and musical genres into a concise and unified whole. The group's original programming provides a unique chamber setting that includes elements of traditional concert music, world music, mallet percussion, contemporary classical and jazz. The duo combines the talents of James Armstrong, a performer specializing in Afro-Cuban and West African folkloric music and Nicholas Papador, a performer specializing in marimba as well as contemporary and orchestral concert music. The result is a ground breaking and exciting chamber music that opens new musical worlds to it's audiences. The duo takes it's name from the Marassa Twins, divine twins of the Haitian Vodou tradition who speak to us of twin souls that find each other lifetime after lifetime to interact as their karma dictates. Also exemplifying the belief of opposition and duality within the mortal world, the Marassa Twins constitute one of the more perplexing entities of the Haitian religion, beginning with the point that there are sometimes three of them. As anthropologist Maya Deren wrote, 'In Vodoun, one and one make three.' The Marassa are immensely powerful and are often interpreted as the 'affirmation of cosmic unity.' ABOUT MARASSA DUO James Armstrong is a performer in the greater Philadelphia area and is currently a faculty member at Elizabethtown University. He previously served as the Director of Percussion Ensembles at Cornell University. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Central Michigan University and a Master of Music Performance from Bowling Green State University. He is a specialist in Haitian, Cuban, and West African folkloric drumming, and has done extensive field research and performance of this music throughout the United States and abroad. He has recorded and toured with the Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble, Smallstone artists Five Horse Johnson, I-Town recording artist Paso Fino, Rising Sign (9-piece salsa band), PIONEROS del RITMO (latin jazz sextet), and many others. Mr. Armstrong is a Latin Percussion, Yamaha, Sabian, and Vic Firth artist, is the author of Vodou Drumset: Traditional Afro-Haitian Rhythms Applied to Drumset (Carl Fischer Publications), founder and president of House Panther Press, and is published through Drop6 Media. Nicholas Papador is currently an assistant professor of music at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, where he coordinates the Percussion Studio and directs the University of Windsor Percussion Ensemble as well as teaches courses in Percussion Techniques, Music Theory, Jazz History, and World Musics. Papador previously served as a Visiting Scholar at Cornell University where he worked in the Department of Music as well as the Department of Theatre, Film and Dance. As a solo artist, percussionist, and timpanist, Papador has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Austria, Hungary, and Sweden. He has performed/presented at two Percussive Arts Society International Conventions, was an invited performer to the 13th Annual International Percussion Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico and is in demand as a clinician and/or guest artist, at numerous university and high school/outreach programs. His solo recitals include standard repertoire, his own works, and pieces written expressly for him. Dr. Papador is an artist endorser for the Vic Firth, inc., Sabian, Ltd. and also receives industry support from the Marimba One company. Papador also serves as the president of the Percussive Arts Society Ontario Chapter. In addition to Marassa Duo, Papador also performs with a number of contemporary chamber ensembles such as New Music Detroit, Ensemble X, Tonus Percussion Group, the Richard Grimes Collective (Boston), Lira Ensemble (Chicago), and the High Street Percussion Ensemble. Papador has also been active in the area of jazz, commercial and world music, as a drum set artist and percussionist. Recent performances include appearances with Tadd Weed, Bob Fazecash, and I-town recording artists, Paso Fino. Papador performs regularly as an orchestral percussionist and timpanist with numerous orchestras and has recorded on the Ludwig/Elf and RIAX labels. Recent appointments include the Windsor Symphony Orchestra and the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra. Papador completed his doctoral degree from Northwestern University and his master's degree at the world-renowned Indiana University School of Music where his efforts also earned him the university's coveted Performer's Certificate. He holds two bachelors degrees from the University of Oregon. His principal teachers have included Michael Burritt, Gerald Carlyss, James Ross, Ruben Alvarez, Charles Dowd and Paul Wertico. Also an active composer, Papador's works are published by Alfred Publication/Warner Brothers Music, Keyboard Percussion Publications/Studio 4 Music House Panther Press, and Matrix Publishing. His marimba work Autumn Portrait is now performed in recitals nationwide.