Richie Gajate Garcia, one of the world’s most in-demand percussionists and educators, presented a special clinic for area students and members of the public Wednesday, May 2, in the Johnston Center for the Performing Arts on the Lincoln College Campus.
Students from area high schools, along with others, had the opportunity to participate.
Gajate Garcia is in Lincoln for the College’s annual commencement ceremony, May 5, where he will be receiving an honorary doctorate. He will also be participating in an Excellence in Leadership panel on Friday, at 3 p.m. in the Johnston Center. He will be joined by the College’s other honorary degree recipient, businessman and 1960 graduate Alex D. “Sandy” MacKinnon.
Gajate Garcia has recorded and/or performed with Phil Collins, Sting, Don Henley, Frankie Valli, Stevie Wonder and Ritchie Sambora, as well as worked on film scores including Disney’s Oscar winning animated film Coco. He has also performed on a number of Grammy award winning and Grammy nominated songs. He has toured with a number of performers, including Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle, John Denver and Hiroshima.
In his career, Gajate Garcia has travelled the world performing at such venues as Madison Square Garden, the Royal Albert Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and the Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival stage in Japan.
He is the author of four instructional music books: Play Cajon Now: The Basics and Beyond, Play Congas Now; The Basics and Beyond, Play Bongos and Hand Percussion Now; The Basics and Beyond; and Play Timbales Now, The Basics and Beyond; while also teaching internationally.
He is a faculty instructor at the Musician’s Institute in Hollywood where he has taught for 15 years. Gajate Garcia is the father of percussionist and drummer Roland Gajate Garcia, who is the percussionist on Dancing with the Stars and has his own impressive resume. Richie and Roland have performed together internationally and have been featured as guest speaker/performers at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention which is one of the largest drum and percussion events in the world. Gajate Gracia’s other children Tristan, Devin and Lisette Gajate Garcia are also gifted musicians.
Richie was recruited by Franki Valli and the Four Seasons while attending the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago where he obtained his bachelor’s degree and teaching credentials. Richie was greatly influenced by his step father, Doel Garcia who was a percussionist with The Xavier Cugat Orchestra and the Director of tourism for the island of Puerto Rico, as well as his family friends growing up including Armando Peraza, percussionist for Carlos Santana and Tito Puente.
Gajate Garcia invented the popular Gajate Bracket and collaborated on the Richie Gajate Garcia Signature Series Congas, Bongos and Djembe all produced by Latin Percussion.