Perhaps the most wondrous aspect of Valerie Naranjo’s new CD is its inherent message that music will rise above cultural differences and soothe souls. When broken down into its most basic components: hypnotic rhythms, primitive harmonies, and attractive folkloric melodies. Naranjo’s recording transcends musical boundaries and finds a common tie for everyone!

(About Saturday Night Live…) “Valerie Naranjo will be there every week, jamming in the usual whirl of energy and passion that makes her one of the most accomplished percussionists in New York.”
—Jareed Cobb, Drum Magazine, March/April 2001

“The concert on Friday was memorable in every way. Valerie Naranjo is a dynamo of creative energy. The experience of being taken back to African roots and then hearing its transformation into cutting edge art that retains its hold on tradition was a breathtaking one.”
-—Christopher Paddack, Creative Arts Program Officer, U.S. Information Agency

“(MANDARA) led by the delicate, intense, incantatory Valerie Naranjo, makes a kind of music in which sound is inseparable from dance…MANDARA’s players fling their entire bodies into executing their fantastically complicated lines…The prayerful, otherworldly quality of these patterns reveals that contemporary minimalism owes as much to African as to Indian parentage. In every piece the ripe, refreshing clatter of MANDARA’s instruments—and the rapt concentration of its players—made for a deeply absorbing evening.”
—Mark Adamo, The Washington Post

“…a talented percussionist who gives the material an impressive textural depth and rhythmic flow.”
— Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“…extraordinary…a musicologist specializing in percussion instruments (plays) with so much joy and musicianship that (she) literally dance(s) (her) way through each number.”
—Sy Syna, Back Stage

“…splendid…a brilliant percussionist…” – William Raidy, The Star Ledger

“Naranjo gives some stunning solos on drums and marimba.”
—Corne Coetree, The Citizen (Johannesburg)

“You need to see this woman. She is hauntingly beautiful…and fairly crackles with an electric energy that makes her face glow. Also makes your flesh crawl at the back of your neck.”
—Aggrey Klasste, Mercury (Durban, South Africa)

“has her hands on the pulse of Africa…plays a formidable repertoire of percussion instruments with open-faced passion”
—Marika Sboros, The Star (Johannesburg)

“…the stage crackles with the presence of all its music makers – and I can’t wait to see percussionist Valerie Naranjo do her own thing.”
—Maroassa Dawn Outlaw, The Village Voice

“On-stage her vibes weave in and out of the superb rhythm section dispensing dazzling sprays of notes…a real treat. Good vibes.”
—Paul Bradshaw, Stralght No Chaser (London)

“An amazing percussionist…proving the old adage that the women do all the work. Naranjo was in nonstop motion all through the set, playing brilliantly on drums and congas, singing harmony, and most of all, playing something that appeared to be an electrified marimba and making it sound like a piano keyboard.”
—Joyce Marcel, Burrelle’s P.A.

“She is living evidence that women today can be all that they want to be.”
—Max Salazar, Latin Beat Magazine

“…wonderfully versatile…”
—Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Sun Times

“Valerie Naranjo on (marimba) and drums is utterly riveting…fascinating…”
—Glynis O’Hara, The Star Tonight (Johannesburg)