31 January 2024
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Upper Sixth student, Daniel E, performed at the 21st annual Panama Jazz Festival 2024 during the week from 15 – 20 January.
The Panama Jazz Festival was created in 2003 with the mission of improving people’s quality of life through musical experiences of excellence. Whilst offering educational and artistic activities, the Festival inspires and educates.
This year the Festival featured artists such as Panamanian-American jazz drummer, Billy Cobham, and acoustic bass musician, Marion Hayden, across a week of enriching concerts to celebrate the historical memory of Panamanian jazz and its global influence. The Festival has an annual attendance of over 40,000 and over 300 national and international musicians perform.
In his first (of hopefully many more) Festival performances, Sixth Former Daniel was invited to perform at the Festival by the Festival’s director, Danilo Pérez, following his visit to Berklee College of Music, Massachusetts, in the summer.
Daniel, who has been playing the drums since the age of two when he was gifted a drum kit for his birthday, is now Grade 8 by the Rock School exam board and has recently been offered a place at Berklee College of Music. Alumni of the College include Ramin Djawadi, composer of the score for the international TV sensation, Game of Thrones, singer-songwriter Kiesza, and American artists John Mayer and Charlie Puth.
Throughout the week of the Festival, Daniel performed three times, in a variety of solo and group performances, or in masterclass demonstrations. Dependent on the venue, audience size for Daniel’s performances varied from around 70-80 for the masterclass demonstrations, to 250 in the open Jazz club, and close to 1,000 in one of the bigger venues.
Speaking of his experience, Daniel commented “In everything I did, the atmosphere was amazing – although I’m English, they treated me like I was Panamanian and it was really nice to see!
I think meeting new people and getting to see lots of other incredible musicians play was a highlight for me. They made it really easy for people to learn from them and take what they do as musicians for us all to practice with.”
Daniel is set to complete four years of study at Berklee College of Music where he aspires to become a more active performer, eventually leading to record label management.