Jamie Papish is a percussionist for hire as well as a session musician, teacher, percussion section leader, producer and gigging percussionist with a number of Los Angeles-based world music groups. As a Los Angeles percussionist, he is extremely reliable and professional and can adapt to any situation and many styles of music including Latin, Flamenco, Indian, Middle Eastern, Persian, Turkish, Armenian, African, Jewish, Sephardic, Brazilian, Blues, Jazz, Pop, Funk, Hip Hop, Rock and Country. He has been a valuable member of many music ensembles in Los Angeles and around the world with hundreds of performances to his credit
He teaches private and group lessons focusing on rhythms and technique on Doumbek, Riq, Frame Drum, Tabl Beledi, Daf (Frame Drum with rings), Cajon (Box Drum), Davul/Tappan (Large Hanging Drum) and Udu (African Clay Pot Drum) as well as leads drum circles for small and large events and parties. Jamie also teaches general hand drumming basics for ages 7 and up.
Jamie had been nudged and modeled as a young person to have a profession over anything else and told that security and having a family were the foundations for a good life. He followed in his father and grandfathers footsteps and studied accounting. With a career he had no passion for, he was miserable and fairly depressed. He was losing his spark and self-esteem. In his mid 30’s, he was exposed to the hand drum at a gathering of a friend. He remembers losing himself in the group rhythm and energy. Eventually this led to him purchasing a hand drum when he was 38. He chose a Doumbek (Middle Eastern Goblet Drum) since he had some exposure to it through his wife who had been a belly-dancer and instructor in her early life. He remembers playing the drum to Santana not knowing anything about the specific rhythms or how to hold and play it (days before youtube). He sought out a teacher and in his first class, he was able to catch on better than most other students. He got really excited. This began his quest to become a Doumbek player. Soon he found a master teacher – Souhail Kaspar and with his help and inspiration, Jamie started developing good technique and learned many of the rhythms, percussion instruments and music of the Middle East. His found his passion again. Being a traveling software consultant at the time, he would bring his Doumbek onto planes as he was consulting companies in other cities. He would play anywhere he could…at parks in the winter, between 18 wheelers parked outside for the night, in client’s offices after hours and in rental cars.
Soon he was playing and performing with other Arabic and Turkish students of this music. Then he was introduced to an Israeli composer and Oud (Middle Eastern Lute) player named Yuval Ron at a party Jamie’s wife threw to promote her new dance school. That was the meeting that started Jamie’s music career. It lead him to be part of Yuval’s Ensemble. A few years after that, when he made the decision to go into music full time, he and his wife were barely scraping by. It was a total leap of faith. It wasn’t that he was stupid; he just got to the point where he was unwilling to spend most of his life doing something he hated and was ready and willing to do what it took to make music his life. Over the next 8 years, he worked harder than ever before in his life overcoming many obstacles, but he ended up creating a music career that has brought him to Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Spain, Poland, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Alaska, and across the US. Most importantly the many groups he has played with have touched thousands of people. He has come to realize that no matter what we have been taught to believe about other people, music expresses the commonality of the human spirit and thus develops our compassion and love for one another. Jamie has transformed his life into a life worth living…. and dying for.
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