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Giovanni Hidalgo


Giovanni Hidalgo, an artist some describe as "touched by the hand of God," plays a major role in shaping the way the world thinks of hand drumming.

With legendary percussionists such as Armando Peraza, Patato and the late Tito Puente and Josˇ Mangual, Sr. topping the list of his most ardent fans, Giovanni is bringing new respect to Latin rhythms. In particular, the rhythms of his birthplace, Puerto Rico.

Giovanni prides himself on being "a man of all music," having performed with musicians ranging from Zakir Hussain to Airto Moreira. He has toured with jazz great Art Blakey and continues to tour with Mickey Hart's Planet Drum. For several years he was a member of the Dizzy Gillespie United Nations Jazz Orchestra.

Giovanni first became popular outside Puerto Rico in the early '80s with the revolutionary ensemble Batacumbele, a unit that combined folkloric and fusion influences with hard-edged jazz soloing. It was an experience Giovanni claims "will always be in my heart". With the release of Batacumbele's first album, Giovanni's name and amazing hand drumming techniques became known to musicians throughout the world.

Since then numerous opportunities flowed, including traveling and performing with Charlie and Eddie Palmieri, Jack Bruce, Dave Valentin, Paquito D'Rivera, Cameo, Paul Simon, and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. According to Giovanni, each country has a musical essence, just as each individual has a musical style. Giovanni's objective is to capture these whenever he plays.