Published: September 10, 2015



Born in Oakland and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, David Castaneda began his professional career as a percussionist, playing various genres of Latin American dance music (salsa, timba, cumbia, merengue, and others). After transferring to UCSD, he began studying jazz composition and arrangement under Kamau Kenyatta, earning his B.A. in 2013. He later studied under Calixto Oviedo and Euro Zambrano at CSULA, earning his M.M. in Afro-Latin Music from CSULA in 2015. During that time, David continued to work in genres ranging from Latin American dance music to modern jazz, in San Diego and Los Angeles. He currently works with K. Kenyatta and Brazilian vocalist Thalma De Freitas and her chamber quartet.


Gabe Lavin is from Bozeman, Montana and received his undergraduate degree in anthropology at Montana State University. He has spent time studying Arabic language and music in Morocco and Egypt, and recently completed a Fulbright project in Oman. Photo by Muhamed Al Sharif.


Will Matczynski received his B.A. (2011) in music and anthropology with a concentration in African studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. As an undergraduate, Will studied hand drumming, atenteben, and gyil with Ghanaian musician and educator Sowah Mensah, traveling to Accra, Ghana in 2010 to research Ga obonu drumming. Will also wrote an honors thesis on guitar-band highlife music which examined how popular musicians in Ghana actively engage with traditional music. Since 2011, Will has been an assistant instructor of the Macalester African Music Ensemble, working with college students learning to play a variety of West African instruments. At UCLA, Will is eager to further develop his research on guitar-band highlife. His interests include Akan music of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, Ga "cultural" highlife, African guitarism, and recording industry/music technology in Africa.



Originally from New Jersey, Christopher Rorke completed his undergraduate studies on the west coast at Stanford University. After graduating with both a B.S. in physics and a B.A. in music, he moved to Tallahassee to pursue Master's degrees in saxophone performance and historical musicology at Florida State University. His master's thesis examines the relationship between ideas about music, language, and subjectivity in Modernist thought by focusing in particular on the novels and aesthetics of Joseph Conrad. He is looking forward to moving back to California as a new graduate student in UCLA's Department of Ethnomusicology (systematic musicology specialization).


A graduate of the CalArts M.F.A. program in Indonesian Music and Dance (’12), Tyler Yamin has extensive experience teaching and performing gamelan music in both America and Indonesia. Tyler has served on the faculty of Loyola Marymount University, introducing gamelan to hundreds of grade school students with the Center for World Music in San Diego and the California State Summer School for the Arts, and appeared as a guest artist with performing ensembles across America. As an ensemble leader, Tyler has organized gamelan performances at major events such as the First Congress of Indonesian Diaspora, coordinated a major public gamelan workshop for the Los Angeles Music Center, and worked with composer David Campbell to direct a gamelan troupe as part of a performance by Beck for the Lincoln Motor Company’s Hello Again campaign. An advocate for rare and neglected forms of Balinese music, Tyler built a gamelan ensemble in order to perform traditional repertoire unplayable on typical instruments. As director of Gamelan Pandan Arum, he has been able to pass on this music to an American group, teaching and preserving these exceedingly rare pieces which have never before been attempted anywhere outside of Bali. Tyler’s research interests are based on his experiences with traditional gamelan music, and involve issues such as sustainability, transmission, and Balinese music theory.