Dee Naranjo (percussionist, vocalist,
composer, clinician) known for her pioneering efforts in West African
keyboard percussion music, is originally from Southern Colorado.
She moved to New York City after completing studies in vocal and
instrumental music education (U. of Oklahoma) and Percussion Performance
(Ithaca College). In 1988 her playing of the gyil's traditional
repertoire in Ghana's KOBINE FESTIVAL OF TRADITIONAL MUSIC led
to the declaration of a chiefly decree in the Dagara nation that
women be allowed to play the instrument for the first time.
plays percussion for NBC's Saturday Night Live Band, and has recorded
and performed with Broadway's The Lion King, The Philip Glass Ensemble,
David Byrne, The Paul Winter Consort, Tori Amos, Airto Moreira, and
the international percussion ensemble, MEGADRUMS, which includes
Milton Cardona, Zakir Hussein, and Glen Velez.
six continents she endorses Avedis Zildjian (Cymbals) Pearl/Adams (Latin and
Concert Percussion) and Vic Firth products as a soloist and clinician.
film score recordings include "Final Fantasy - The Dream Within" and "Frida".
Her work and music have been written about in "Modern Drummer", "Drum!", "Rhythm", "Percussive
Notes", and "World Percussion Rhythm". She was named "World
Music Percussionist of the Year" 2005 and 2008, as winner of DRUM! Magazine Reader's
Poll in that category. She has recorded several CDs of traditional gyil music
with Kakraba Lobi and Barry Olsen, and the CD Zie Mwea with Mr. Olsen and Bernard
Woma. Her solo Native American CD "Orenda" is on the Ellipsis Arts
Label, and her series of sixteen written transcriptions and CDs, "West African
Music for the Marimba Soloist" , "Traditional World Music for Western Percussion Ensemble" and "Lewaa's Dream (Ancient and Contemporary
Music for West African Marimba)" are published by Mandara Music.
has apprenticed with some of America's and West Africa's strictest master percussionists,
including Leigh Howard Stevens, Gordon Stout, Dave Samuels, Godwin Agbelli,
and Adama Drame, and continues to spend summers in Ghana to further her perucussion study with maestros Yotere Baere and Kofi Misiso. She has also researched and
studied in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Morrocco, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South
Africa, where, in 1994 with Thuli Dumakude, she opened Johannesburg’s
Civic Theatre to its first post-apartheid audiences in the production BUYA