Joe Platz & Syzygy Percussion | Drum Power

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United States - Mass. - Western

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World: African Latin: Cuban Moods: Featuring Drums
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Drum Power

by Joe Platz & Syzygy Percussion

Afro-Cuban and Yoruba Folkloric Music, featuring traditional drum rhythms, songs and bamboo flute.
Genre: World: African
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Bara Bebe
1:11 $0.99
2. Bembe
6:39 $0.99
3. Shekere
4:48 $0.99
4. Batakatu
3:02 $0.99
5. Kpanlogo
9:15 $0.99
6. Yuka
3:59 $0.99
7. Garabato
4:32 $0.99
8. Makuta
3:29 $0.99
9. Yoruba
4:30 $0.99
10. Iyesa Shekere
2:09 $0.99
11. Afro-Cuban
6:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Syzygy explores a vast array of traditional rhythms from Africa and the Diaspora, utilizing hand-made drums and percussion instruments of African origin. Syzygy is composed of five percussionists who fuse together rhythmically to produce a harmonious unity. We create danceable tapestries of percussion, bamboo flute and voice that convey our enthusiasm for our music and satisfy whoever listens. The members of Syzygy are:

Joe Platz is a drum-maker, teacher, and performer living in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. He has studied percussion for thirty years. During that time he has traveled to Africa three times and twice to Cuba to study his craft. He has been fortunate to study with many notable master drummers including (Cuba) Mario Jauregui of the Conjunto Folklorico, Guillermo Lopez, Candido Zayas ( singing ), and
( New York ) Richard "Pablo" Landrum and Fellipe Garcia Villamil.

Joe accompanies dance and lectures at the five-college system locally. He formed two bands during this time performing Afro-Latin Jazz. In addition, he maintains a drum-making workshop producing hand drums of all types. Joe also teaches daily in his studio adjacent to the workshop. For almost twenty-five years he has conducted percussion classes and workshops. He is currently working with and teaching his son the entire craft. He enjoys teaching the folklore of the drum immensely and has recently formed the group Syzygy.

Andrew Kaknes has been studying percussion with Joe Platz for 12 years and the saxophone for 7 years. He has an Environmental Science degree from Umass and lives and works in Western Massachusetts.

David V. Meausky, Joshua Knethel & Jason Mcmahon have been studying Afro-Cuban drumming with Joe Platz since 2001. They work and live in Western Massachusetts.

This album is available as a digital download at: and more!!!!!!!!



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George Koumantzelis

Feel the Heat of the Beat !!!
Feel the Heat of the Beat !!! ...

I have known Joe PLatz for over 34 years - since 1975 - and I can safely say that he is the real thing, the genuine item, as close to the purity of the pulse as one can get. Joe lives for the beat. He has been in love with the beat and with the sound of drums for as long as I have known him and probably way longer than that. He is a master drummer, a master drum maker, and a true percussionist. His love for the art of drumming is as sincere and as profound as Airto, Babatunde Olatunji, and Mickey Hart. If you like their music, you will also like Joe's music.

Joe lives out in the pioneer valley of western Massachusetts, and that is where I met him while I was an undergraduate student at U-MASS, Amherst in the early 1970's. He was always around on the scene whenever there was a jam session or a musical event happening anywhere on camps - Joe and his drums! One story comes to mind in the late 70's at one of the Lenox Music Festivals where THE BAND was playing one sunny, summer day. I was there with my friend Demetrius, and we bumped into Joe up on the hill on the edge of the lawn at the fringes of the audience. He had a whole bunch of his homemade, handmade drums with him for sale all set up on a table. Joe saw us coming and said, "Hey, George! ... I got to go down to the shed for a while, would you watch my drums for me? Feel free to play them!" ... "Yeah, man - sure!" I replied with joy, and Demetrius and I started to jam. Within minutes, a few other drummers joined in with us, and before we knew it, there were people chanting and dancing and swaying and circling around to the big beat we were producing. The time flew by, and before we knew it THE BAND had taken to the stage and the master of ceremonies had to make an announcement over the microphone for all of us on the hill to put a stop to our drumming as it could be heard all the way down on the stage! ... Magic! That's what Joe produces - pure magic! Every time I have met this quiet, reserved, spiritually centered, and truly humble man, I feel an aura of magical energy around him. That's what this album captures - the pure magic of Joe's music and Joe's soul. It is very spiritual music.

My buddy from AEOLIA, Andy Kaknes, a percussionist, saxophonist, and a student of Joe's is playing on this album along with a few other hand-picked students of Joe's from his drumming workshops and drum making classes out in his studio in Hadley, MA. Over the years, people like Michael Tiberio, Greg Franceschi, Patrick Taylor, and Dave Iverson - all personal friends of mine - have all felt the magic of Joe's music and Joe's soul. We have all jammed with him. Some of us have bough drums from him. All of us have learned from him.

I challenge you to listen to this music and not get up and start wagging your tail!

... YOWZA! - George Koumantzelis / The Aeolian Kid

Dave Iverson/Rootsucker Records

Mickey Hart, stand aside, these are the new drummers in town....
If you like Planet Drum by Mickey Hart, any of the Peter Gabriel world-music material, or Drums of Passion by Babatunde Olatunji, it would behoove you to pick up this disk. This group of percussionists have laid down the raw materials necessary for the aforementioned artists to have built their foundations from. This is primal, urgent drumming of the afro-carribean variety, performed to evoke and entrance the spirit. Some listeners may find the longer pieces a bit indulgent, but keep in mind that the lengths are intentional, drawn out to give the meditation student or yoga practitioner time to feel the heartbeat of the groove being worked out. Overall the performances are stellar and the chanting is superfluous. May your Orishas watch over you and guide you to harmony while listening to this disc, a must-have for both the new age set and true fans of percussive music.

Matt Grillo

Roll down your windows and blast
I listen to this cd evereyday. This is the real deal. This is not a watered down verision of afro-caribbean beats, these are afro-caribbean beats. Crank it.

Dave Meausky

I feel very privileged to have recorded this cd with Joe Platz!
To me, this cd represents knowledge this group gained under the teaching of Joe Platz. It demonstrates a culmination of hard work and practice under an always-patient teacher. It features excellent performances by Joe and the group.

I love this cd! What we created still inspires me and touches a place deep within me that only this type of music can reach.