Ruben 'Beny' Esguerra and New Tradition Music are proud to offer a variety of workshops, ranging from arts education, Colombian drumming, Drum and Dance and virtual interactive workshops.
Since March 2020 we have been conducting extremely successful Interactive workshop and performances through Zoom with multiple schools/festivals across Canada and the US.
The in-person workshops have been re-designed to be facilitated from a professional studio through Zoom/Google Meet, projected on a smart-board or projector–for groups participating in-person–while also engaging participants joining remotely from home. This allows anyone who joins the meeting to participate simultaneously. A sanitized set of drums and percussion instruments and speakers–if necessary–is delivered to each school/location, for their use during the project.
As shown in the video and visual recording examples below, the workshops can include a section on home made percussion instruments out of found objects for participants who don't have access to a traditional instrument. In addition, all of the drumming rhythms can be adapted to body and vocal percussion.
Virtual Workshops for Conferences or University settings
Songs of Resistance: Latin American Roots in Contemporary Canada
Can music be built on ancient traditions and still feel up-to-date? Beny Esguerra explores the beats and folk instruments of his Colombian cultural roots, combining them with socially conscious lyrics plus Hiphop and dub beats in an infectious mixture. For this workshop, Beny performs his original songs and talks about how Latin American artists are infusing new music with traditional sounds. Beny’s trajectory in Canada shows that music can be a tool for social awareness as well as repository for a culture of resistance.
1 DAY DRUMMING WORKSHOP AND/OR PERFORMANCE
This package can include a combined morning workshop and afternoon performance. The workshop will be held by one facilitator and the performance can range from a Solo show to a 6 piece band depending on availability and budget.
About the workshops: In this half-day (morning) workshop of drumming, two separate groups of students explore the roots of Afro Indigenous colombian music and how it continues to be revitalized. In 75min, each group will prepare 2 pieces, which will be performed in an assembly included as part of Beny Esguerra and New Tradition Music’s afternoon performance. This performance incorporates story telling, drumming, turntableism, beatboxin, body percussion, dance choreographies, Spanglish spoken word, call-and-response singing and audience participation.
ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE
Featuring the JUNO nominated project Beny Esguerra and New Tradition Music. It is an interactive performance project that explores the concepts of tradition and modernity through the production of a multidisciplinary performance. While creating bridges across musical genres, the original compositions incorporate ancient instruments such as the 2000 plus year old Indigenous kuisi bunsi flute (a.k.a. Colombian gaita) with more recent instruments such as the turntables. These edutainment style performances bridge the gap between audience and performer as the band engages the crowd through both traditional and original pieces weaved by a narrative about the development of Afro-Indigenous Colombian música de gaita and its revitalization exploring original ideas influenced by the elements and aesthetics of Hip Hop culture.
If a workshop takes place prior to the performance, 2 groups of students will prepare 2 pieces, which will be performed in the assembly included as part of the band’s performance. If a workshop does not take place, additional pieces will be added to the performance, inviting student/staff volunteers from the audience to join the band to play simple rhythms on traditional percussion instruments.
Please email us for a complete description including a Teacher Guide, which will have information on:
Pre- Show/workshop questions and activities
Post-Show workshop discussion question and activities
Resources to contextualize the workshop/performance
A list of Ontario curriculum connections
Drum and Dance workshops
5 DAY DRUMMING WORKSHOPS
Through 5 days (25hrs) of drumming and singing, students touch on the history of Afro Indigenous Colombian music and how it continues to be revitalized. The project culminates with a final student performance.
This is a practical and interactive hands-on set of drumming workshops directed and adapted to students in grades 2 to 12. The workshops are designed to give students basic knowledge on traditional percussion instruments and their respective musical genres within Latin American and Caribbean popular music, specifically Colombia. It is an inclusive set of 5 workshops, where participants will develop techniques in the apprenticeship of percussion instruments. Respect, attention and focus are encouraged since the rhythms covered are based on an oral tradition that is highly participatory and community oriented.
EDUCATIONAL MERITS AND OUTCOMES OF THE WORKSHOPS FOR BOTH LEARNERS AND TEACHERS:
On a theoretical level, this project proposes an unconventional and fun way to cover topics relevant to today's youth through music. Through the percussion instruments students learn about history, the applied arts and the importance of culture in reaching a deeper understanding of ones-self. It will give youth a chance to interact and communicate with one another with sounds and with a rhythmic vocabulary. Through the drums and traditional percussion instruments, participants will make a connection and better understand how important this music was and is to the communities that have produced it for hundreds of years. Percussion activities are highly regarded by health practitioners, traditional healers and music therapists to build confidence and self-esteem. They will be inspired and empowered by the experience as learners manifest their energy positively through music. Teachers will learn repertoire that can be easily implemented in classroom activities.
ALL INSTRUMENTS ARE PROVIDED BY THE INSTRUCTOR: TRADITIONAL HAND DRUMS AND HAND HELD INSTRUMENTS
Singing and dancing are also part of the workshop as well as a historical background and legends of the particular traditions to be studied. This is an integral part of learning about culture and music of a specific location in Latin America. A student performance can be planned for the last day of the workshops. The performance usually culminates with the full participation of students and audience members.
Musica de gaita basics.. Música de gaita is an Afro Indigenous Colombian traditional style that dates as far back as the sixteenth century. It is a synthesis of Indigenous and African musical influences: two flutes representing male (gaita macho or kuisi sigi) and female (gaita hembra or kuisi bunsi), and a rattle (tani or maraca), are of Indigenous origin and have been around for over 2000 years according to archeologists. The flutes and rattle ensemble has its origin in the Sierra Nevada (Colombia), which is the worlds tallest coastal-mountain where the Kogi, Ika, Wiwa, Kankwamo and Arawark Indigenous nations have lived for thousands of years. The body of each kuisi is made from a shaved cactus, the head from bee's wax mixed with ground charcoal, and the mouthpiece is from the quill of a duck's feather. The drums of African origin are rooted in former Palenkes (emancipated black communities) of the shores and valleys of the Sierra Nevada where a creole language made up of Spanish, Portuguese, Kikongo and Kimbundu is presently spoken (Specifically in San Basilio de Palenque). The melodies of the two kuisi’s are played in counterpoint to each other, and are combined with the steady beat of the llamador (small hand-drum), the improvisations of the tambor alegre (large hand-drum), and tambora (bass drum), along with the time keeping role of the maraca (rattle). The traditional genres performed are the cumbia, porro, gaita and puya. The música de gaita tradition has had a significant influence on Colombian popular music, especially on the cumbia, one of the most popular dance forms of the Americas. More recently, the majority of the poetry within the song texts in traditional musical styles began to be written and performed in Spanish using poetic devices such as rhyming couplets. As a result, música de gaita represents the unity between three different musical traditions.
Please contact us for a copy of the detailed 5 day curriculum
As a performer, I consider music creation and performance very important in building community. Percussion-based music often blurs the lines that separate audience and performer since everyone in the musical setting is interacting in some shape or form weather its clapping along with the instruments, singing call-and-response refrains, or playing lead instruments. Community building often mirrors the interactivity that takes place during the musical activities. When working with youth I focus on creating an environment that is conducive to risk taking, team building, giving and receiving respectful feedback and communicating through sounds. During my studies as a Masters and PhD student in ethnomusicology I conducted extensive research while traveling to Colombia–my place of birth. All the resources that I gather during the course of my research continue to inform the workshops. This is important so that the participants get a sense of the cultural context in which these musical genres emerged and continue to be practiced. As an educator it is very rewarding to be able to pass on knowledge to a generation of young minds who will creatively shape and build from it. This is why I value arts education and why I am truly committed to my work. Please contact me for more information.
Drum & Dance
New Tradition Music 'Drum and Dance' workshops are offered and adapted to different contexts ranging from community settings to workplace team-building activities. The workshops are designed to give participants basic knowledge on traditional percussion instruments and the role they play in music from the Caribbean coast of Colombia. During the first half of the workshops, participants will learn traditional repertoire on the drums and will then accompany the dance component for the second half. Other styles of dancing such as Breakin (Break dance) and Afro Cuban folkloric are also part of the professional practices of our music and dance instructors.
Wheel It Studios
New Tradition Music (NTM) program is a 16-week hands-on mobile recording studio project engaging youth in two Jane-Finch community neighbourhoods that reduces the precariousness of youth having to travel from one neighbourhood to another and provides access to professional recording engineers, equipment and music industry related knowledge. It is primarily a recording program with bookings but also features private lessons allowing participants to work on various aspects of music such as beat-making, music theory, percussion, mixing, mastering and more. This 16 week program based out of the Boys and Girls Club (300 Grandravine Dr and 30A Driftwood Court).
For More Information Visit: