Gina Ferrera is a visionary with a passion for folkloric drum and dance music and its expression in electronic music. Gina is a seasoned drummer & percussionist, an educator, a specialist in African music and is developing a new style of loop control called, IDD (Intelligent Dance-Drumming) using Alternate Mode instruments. Her explosive polyrhythmic performances feature a hybrid of live percussion and electronic MIDI instruments (trapKAT and malletKAT). She seamlessly fuses ancient tribal rhythms (sometimes intimate, sometimes driving), live production, looping, sampling and vocal effects. Her sound is truly unique- talent, musicality, presence and a striking live energy.
Gina’s foundation is rooted in traditional West African polyrhythm and her specialty is the ancient balaphone/xylophone, called the gyil (Jeel). Gina is currently based in Philadelphia and performs with a variety of music projects, juggling different styles of African, Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian drum & dance music. Her craft is production and controllerism, utilizing the trapKAT (a midi drum machine), malletKAT- (a MIDI 4-octave marimba), live percussion, APC40 and her voice. Gina has produced and recorded 5 of her own albums including her latest, "The Philadelphia Gyil Fusion Project"- (with Ropeadope). She produces, records and performs with Leana Song, Alokli (W.African Drum Ensemble), Dunya Performing Arts Co., The Voices of Africa and Kokolo Afrobeat. Her experience has led to numerous collaborations with The Philadelphia Experiment, King Britt, Anthony Martin- “Subsector”, Alo Brasil, Venissa Santi, Ryat and Archedream for Humankind. She currently teaches gyil at Swarthmore College and multi-cultural music/ drum programs at schools throughout the Philadelphia and New York City area.
Gina Ferrera began studying rudimentary drumming at the age of ten. While pursuing a degree in video/audio production, she was introduced to ancient African music. Gina has made two independent research trips to Ghana to study Gyil (xylophone) with Kakraba Lobi, Bernard Woma, and Valerie Naranjo. Gina is an American delving into the music of far removed cultures. In addition to researching and performing gyil music, Ferrera studies ancient Cuban, Nigerian, Ghanaian and Zimbabwean music, playing Batá drums, shekere, congas, Shona mbira (thumb piano) and traditional Ewe drums.
Gina has an extensive background in rhythmic comprehension, with a focus on African musical aesthetics. Gina also has a thirst for emerging arts and technology. Since 2010 she has been working with Alternate Mode 's MIDI electronic percussion to further develop the trapKAT for loop control using ableton live. Her sounds for loop control and playing the malletKAT come from samples she has recorded of her traditional instruments including the gyil, bata and mbira -sampling each key and making adjustments to the tuning. Currently Miss Ferrera is working on her new live set up and recording new music.
Gina has recorded and toured internationally (U.K., Europe, U.S., Scandinavia & Canada) playing drum-set, percussion and singing with "Leana Song"- Afro-Cuban percussion ensemble (bata drums, 2006-present), "The Voices of Africa"- an all woman's drum and vocal ensemble (voice/percussion, 2008), "Kokolo"-Afro-beat/Latin/Jazz/Funk (drums, 2002-2005) and "The Aristocrats"- Hawaiian Folk Project (2007).
PEX Summer Fest 2012, Camp Bisco, TED X Philadelphia, The Kimmel Center, Baby Loves, World Cafe Live, Painted Bride, Percussive Arts Society, Dos xx Cinco de Mayo Promotion, Baby Love Disco- ABC/Sony Studios-Shark Tank Premier, Diaspora Series- The Rotunda, Women Who Rock, “Gratitude”-Festival of Light- NYC, Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch, PEX Summer Festival 2009/10/11, The Philadelphia Experiment- Heartburn 2010, UPENN, The Piazza at Schmidt’s, World Music Festival, The Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia Cathedral, Please Touch Museum, Bob Marley Peace Festival (July, 2007), African Day Parade- Harlem NY, African Heritage Festival, Nuyorican Poets Café, University of Michigan- World Cultural Fair, World Peace Festival- Rotunda, GIVE Festival, Earth Rights Festival, Haverford College, Jazz Cafe- London, Lansing Jazz Festival, Aliquippa Festival of Art, Music, WCBN 88.3 fm- “Pan African Heartbeat” , Percu-Phonie Festival-(Quebec, Canada), Montreal Jazz Festival, St. John the Divine, Luna Stage,12 Miles West Theater, Bloomfield College, Montclair Art Museum, Eats and Beats: Annual Urban Nutrition Initiative Dinner, Calvery Center- Crossroad's Music, Women’s Campaign International- PENN, Penn Treaty- “Kids at Crossroads”, Temple University, Odunde Festival & African Marketplace, Zellerbach Theater- Annenburg Center for Performing Arts UPENN.