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Ibarra, Susie free

  • Mary Talusan

(b Anaheim, CA, Nov 15, 1970). American jazz percussionist and composer. Of Filipino heritage, Ibarra grew up in Houston, Texas. She received a music diploma from Mannes College and a BA from Goddard College. She studied drums with Buster Smith and Vernel Fournier and percussion with Milford Graves. She also played with William Parker and his big band, The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. In the 1990s, Ibarra became interested in Philippine musical traditions and took lessons on kulintang from master artist Danongan Kalanduyan. She joined the avant-garde free jazz quartet led by David S. Ware and became well known in the New York jazz scene. She collaborated on several albums with a number of respected musicians such as Assif Tsahar, Cooper-Moore, Charles Burnham, Chris Speed, Wadada Leo Smith, and Pauline Oliveros, notably on the album Flower after Flower (2000) released on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. Combining and improvising in many eclectic styles, Ibarra recorded several albums with classical violinist Jennifer Choi and pianist Craig Taborn as The Susie Ibarra Trio. In Folkloriko (2004), Ibarra makes reference to her Filipino heritage and incorporates kulintang melodies. She and her husband Cuban American percussionist and composer Roberto J. Rodriguez formed the duo Electric Kulintang and founded Mundo Niños, an organization that provides workshops on percussion to teach improvisation to young children.

Bibliography

  • D. Mandl: “Rhythm and Radiance,” Wire Magazine (June 2002)
  • P. Catapano: “Bang a Gong (or Eight) in a Pan-Cultural Fusion,” New York Times (18 Feb 2006)
  • T. Lee: “Filipina-American Percussionist Susie Ibarra,” Azine: The Asian American Movement Ezine (9 Nov 2009)