We love having fantastic musicians who are at the top of their game to perform for our Sistema Aotearoa students. This week WOW we had an absolute star, Ralph D. Nader, perform and workshop with our students and parents.

Ralph Nader visits Sistema Aotearoa in Otara for a drumming workshopRalph Nader started his drumming career at seven, and so far, the 26-year-old Brooklyn native has thrilled audiences around America and Europe. Along with fellow drummer Harvey Thompson, he founded performing arts duo BYOS [Bring Your Own Style] and has been flying the flag for contemporary marching percussion as an art form in its own right.

Ralph Nader visits Sistema Aotearoa in Otara, South Auckland, New ZealandTutors, students and whanau sat awestruck watching this incredibly talented drummer. Ralph put on a stunning performance for us – sticks whirling and rhythms pounding.  Then the real challenge and fun began. Everyone had their own set of sticks and Ralph took us through some basic rhythms and stick tricks.  One student said “you must have practised it about 1000 times” …”No” replied Ralph – “5000 times” as sticks clattered to the floor all around at our failed attempts.

Ralph was simply the best – a really unassuming guy who shared with our students stories from his life – which began in a public housing project in gangland Brooklyn – and the changes and opportunities that his music had brought him.  Inspirational musically and personally it was a visit to remember.

Sincere thanks to Auckland Drumline for bringing Ralph to NZ.