The Oral History of Female Drummers: Getting Louder

September 25, 2016
2PM – 6PM

Performance times:
2PM – 2:04PM
3PM – 3:08PM
4:30PM – 4:46PM
5:30PM – 6:02PM

Free admission with RSVP:



The Oral History of Female Drummers: Getting Louder


The one-day event is an immersive sound installation performed by ten female-identifying drummers, each set up in different locations throughout Mana Contemporary during the Fall 2016 Open House.

Designed to explore the undocumented history of female drummers, the participants are both hidden (an empty studio space, a distant corridor) and visibly featured (the BSMT courtyard, outside on the grass). They will play simultaneously, out of sight and sound range of each other. The performances begin short, and grow longer throughout the day to reflect the growth of visibility and presence of female drummers.

This event seeks to inspire and challenge viewers through their engagement with the musicians. Women and girls are traditionally seen and not heard; here, they are both seen and heard. The artist Itta has painted the drum heads and the drum sticks.  

This event was first performed at NYC's MoMA PS1 in January 2013; a similar piece, titled First Beat, was presented at Miami's Perez Art Museum Miami in December 2013. Most recently, The Oral History of Female Drummers was performed at the Brooklyn Museum in March 2016 to an audience of 10,000.

LaTreice V Branson is the founder/creator of Drum Like a Lady and an internationally exhibited artist. Her DRUM4L.I.F.E. workshop has been welcomed by RHD (Resources for Human Development), PEEA (Project Elijah Empowering Autism), and The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

April Centrone is in the rock group Jane; the jazz group Acada; the all-female theatre group 11 Reflections; and the hard rock/experimental band Secret Chiefs 3. She leads music therapy groups for women, utilizing frame-drumming and singing, and has taught music to children in refugee camps in Lebanon via her project, Juthoor. She lectures on Arabic music and percussion, and is the co-founder of the nonprofit NY Arabic Orchestra. For more information, visit

Sean Desiree is a multi-instrumentalist and producer artist based out of Albany, NY, and the solo musician behind the project Bell’s Roar. They have performed at the Brooklyn Museum; the University of Pittsburgh, Cornell, and Rutgers; at SXSW, Treefort, and Ladyfest. Much of the work focuses on LGBTQ rights, politics, gender identity, and love. They are signed to Firebrand Records, and have opened for MS MR, Mirah, K Flay, THEESatisfaction, and Chrisette Michele. For more information, visit

TaRiesha “Riesha” Fayson was voted 2014 champion of the “Hit Like a Girl” global drumming competition for female drummers, opening the door for her to perform at PASIC 2014, complete a 3-month tour playing in China and a TRX Cymbals endorsement. She is currently the drummer for No Last Call and 3 churches.

Kiran Gandhi is known by her stage name Madame Gandhi. She is an NYC artist and activist currently based in Los Angeles. Having gained recognition as the former drummer for M.I.A.—and as the iconic free-bleeding runner combatting menstrual stigma at the 2015 London Marathon—Madame Gandhi now writes her own electronic music that elevates and celebrates the female voice. Kiran holds an MBA from Harvard and a BA from Georgetown University.

Pippa Kelmenson has played in the bands Teen Wife and Cruger Island, and for Sean Henry of Double Double Whammy Records. She has created analog electronics to be used her own musical pieces that transmit the waves of the brain and heart into rhythm. Inspired by her own attention and hearing deficits, Pippa’s newest project will survey auditory illusions with self-made hardware, utilizing music as a form of art and media to investigate the body as a listening machine.

Aiko Masubuchi is a poet, film curator, and drummer born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She spent her summers steeped in matsuri festivals and was part of the local traditional taiko drumming group. She moved to New York in 2008, and began her first rock band, Bodega Bay, in 2013. She plays the rock kit standing up to incorporate her background in taiko drumming. She plays in multiple bands and is a blogger for Tom Tom Magazine.

Chloe Saavedra is in the bands Smoosh and Chaos Chaos; and also plays with Samantha Urbani (the female voice of Blood Orange), with Fred Armisen on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and with Phil Collins in US Open commercials. She has developed her own percussive trademark by combining live drums with the Tempest drum machine and programmed beats.

LaFrae Sci is a founding teaching member of the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls in N.Y.C; the founder of the NGO Groove Diplomacy; a Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. State Department; and teaches at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Her band, The 13th Amendment?, is an educational collective focusing on the genius of Black American music. She has played drums for The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra, Keziah Jones, Nancy Sinatra (w/ Morrissey), Jr. Mack and Pinetop Perkins, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others.

Paola Viteri has been playing the drums with different bands and venues in Ecuador and the U.S for twenty years. “I have been playing the drums for some time, and I want that to last forever until the day I die.”

About Mindy Abovitz
Mindy Abovitz is a self taught drummer and drum machine programmer with a Masters in Media Studies from The New School. She started Tom Tom Magazine, the first and only magazine for and about female drummers, in 2009. Mindy has lectured, performed, and held panels at: University of Cambridge, Smith College, NYU, Sarah Lawrence, Carnegie Melon, UCSD, UCLA, CalArts, RISD, The Apple Store, Perez Art Museum Miami, and MoMA PS1 among many other institutions. She has received press in Creative Review, Business Insider, FADER, i-D, BUST, Miami New Times, LA Weekly, Miami Herald, and The Smithsonian. She is a receiver of the 2016 She Rocks Awards. For more information, visit

Image: Participants at the The Oral History of Female Drummers event at Perez Art Museum Miami, December 14, 2013. Photo by Gesi Schilling