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#138 Dr. Alex Casimiro- Percussionist, Faculty for the University of New Haven and More!

#138 Dr. Alex Casimiro- Percussionist, Faculty for the University of New Haven and More!

The episode this week features Dr. Alex Casimiro. Alex is the Associate Director of Bands and a lecturer at the University of New Haven, where he teaches the Chargers Marching Band, the Brazilian Drum and Dance Ensemble, and courses in World Music. He has performed with the Austin Symphony, the Omaha Symphony, and the Round Rock Symphony. Alex also served as the Assistant Director of Athletic Bands at Duke University and was the percussion teacher at Creighton University.

The Educational Spotlight for this week…..

You still have time to register for Pasic like Damon did. They announced all the artists a few weeks ago. This week, they announced the opening night concert of Nate Smith and his group Kinfolk.

Nate Smith.jpeg

The Iconic Recording for this week…..

The song “Acid” by Ray Barretto from the album with the same name.

Our listener letter this week…..

Patrick wrote in asking about the Africa retreats that are offered by (friend of the show), Weedie Braimah. We will have Weedie on in a couple of weeks to talk about the details himself. In addition, if you live in the NYC area, you can save the date for his upcoming group’s performance at the Blue Note.


Music News for this week…..

There’s another new John Coltrane album coming out in September. Bandzoogle Takes Over Artist Page Hosting for CD Baby as ‘HostBaby’ Gets Shut Down. Katy Perry Faces a Third Sexual Assault Accusation.

The song leading into (and out of) the interview is called Miracle Ear by David Lang. Alex plays both toy piano and pipes.

The interview begins with how Alex got his nickname “Pinto” from the movie Animal House.

Alex, originally from Ludlow, MA, went to Umass Amherst for his Undergrad, The University of Nebraska for his Masters degree, and the University of Texas (in Austin) for his doctorate. After receiving his degrees he taught at Duke University, and is now teaching at the University of New Haven.

While studying at Umass with (friend of the show) Thom Hannum, Alex decided to learn drumset in addition to the other percussion instruments he plays. The books he used were Tommy Igoe’s Groove Essentials. He also alternated lessons with Ayano Kataoka.

Alex lived with Kramer Milan, who is now a professor at the University of Northern Iowa. Kramer was responsible for Alex performing with Aretha Franklin.

Alex recently traveled to Cuba. If you are interested in traveling there as an American, there are some restrictions you should know. Here are two great travel articles to help point you in the right direction of preparation. Article 1….. Article 2

Here’s a further explanation on the two currencies in the country of Cuba.

Don’t get ripped off buying cigars in Cuba. Check out this article for a list of places you can trust for authenticity and quality.

Alex doesn’t usually use travel books, but he said the Lonely Planet one was worth the money. Also, a heads-up that the Fabrica Del Arte that Marcos mentioned in the previous episode was under renovation when Alex was there a little while ago.

Alex has found that the Kayak (dot com) travel site has the best deals in his recent experiences. When Alex travels, he tends to use Airbnb and when he is on the road, he is also a superhost.

When Alex went to Brazil, he made a fake wallet in case he got mugged. You don’t have to go that far. But he does recommend a travel belt or hidden pouch.

Alex met up with Carl Dixon from the California Brazil camp.

Here’s a view of the Portela Alex talks about in Brazil…..


This is not the party crashing show Damon saw on TV, but there are some really good tips in this blog post. Here’s a quick video if you’re more of a visual learner.

After Rio, Alex went north in Brazil to study Maracatu. Shout-out to friend of the show, Scott Kettner (episode #9).

Here is one of the pandeiros with the hand hammered jingles Alex refers to…..


One of the instruments Alex crossed paths with in his trek to Israel was the Riq.

For traveling, Damon and Alex both agree on Merino wool. For underwear you can check out Deluth, or ExOfficio. For socks you can look into Darn Tough. For shirts and tops check out Wool & Prince. For pants, you can peruse this list.

These are some locks you can look through to see what works best for you. G-Ro makes some great luggage and Damon swears by the XV backpack.

Alex is a vegetarian and he has been doing the whole foods plant based diet.

Alex uses Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and mallets, & Remo Drumheads.

The book Damon recommends is the War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

The roundtable episode we recorded with several more travel tips and tricks is #119.

You can see more of Alex’s Brazil trip (including videos), by clicking THIS LINK.

#139 Daniel de los Reyes- Percussionist for the Zac Brown Band and More!

#139 Daniel de los Reyes- Percussionist for the Zac Brown Band and More!

#137 Makaya McCraven- Drummer, Producer, Beat Scientist & More!

#137 Makaya McCraven- Drummer, Producer, Beat Scientist & More!