"When I met Christopher García a couple of years ago, as he rehearsed and played
one of his pieces for ancestral Mexican percussion instruments and wind quintet,
I rediscovered something I had somehow lost track of throughout the years:
a musician rooted in the rituals of magical performance.
Beyond the external aspects of power, virtuosity or any other relative term of comparison, there was something unique coming across, akin to a religious experience, through his beats and rhythms.
I think Chris is definitely on the path of connecting the objects he strikes or shakes with the deeper currents of the soul. That's what I felt when he played; he's not only resuscitating old instruments, he's on a different search."
composer PAUL DESENNE
“Christopher Garcia brings a wealth of experience, dynamism, and passion to each of his events. Through ongoing research into primary sources from Mesoamerica, he is concerned with representing the wisdom and traditions of the First Peoples who inspire the music he shares. His music invites those present to look more closely at their own cultures and backgrounds, while always searching for common human ground. The event we hosted that showcased his music was a great success. Students were talking about it for days afterwards!”
Ezekiel Stear PhD
“The father and daughter duo of Christopher and Alegria Garcia presented one of the most engaging, thought-provoking, and informative lecture-demonstrations we’ve had at CalArts in some time. Deeply knowledgeable and extremely passionate, the Garcia’s presented a two-hour journey into Meso-American Music that not only showed tremendous scope and depth of knowledge but created intrigue and curiosity, posing many questions still to be answered. As much as their class was a journey to another time, place, and culture, it was equally reflective/introspective, made highly personal to everyone in attendance by the
masterful teaching style, fantastic anecdotes and storytelling, and soulful performances.
We look forward to having them back as Visiting Artists at CalArts again to share more with our students and community.”
RANDY GLOSS - DRUMMER/PERCUSSIONIST/COMPOSER/EDUCATOR
CHAIR, WORLD MUSIC PERFORMANCE PROGRAMS
HERB ALPBERT SCHOOL OF MUSIC @ CALARTS .
"Gracias Christopher for everything you shared with us:
the amazing instruments,
your specialized knowledge of Mexican history and culture,
your passion for the preservation of indigenous Mexican music,
and most importantly your friendship."
DUPAGE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
"Christopher Garcia’s passionate commitment to indigenous music of Mexico
enthralled my students. They were riveted by the authenticity of his performance. Christopher introduced us to ancestral Mexican percussion instruments and brought
an ancient civilization to life through music. His stories were captivating and offered
a perspective of history unfamiliar to most of our students. We are eager to have Christopher return to the Merit School of Music in Chicago to present to even more students.
DR. CHIP STALEY
LARGE ENSEMBLE DEPARTMENT CHAIR
MERIT SCHOOL OF MUSIC
"It was an honor to present Christopher Garcia as our
MUSE/IQUE OFFSTAGE Education Guest Artist,
a part of our
L.A. Composed - A Festival of Los Angeles music season.
His generous spirit, wealth of musical and cultural knowledge,
and exceptional talents engaged and inspired participants.
MUSE/IQUE OFFSTAGE visits with a variety of populations.
For many, it was their first introduction to the sights, sounds, and stories of Mesoamerica and its sacred and community music. We explored how earlier humans created from and honored nature through unique musical instruments, song, poetry, and art.
Christopher made this distant time both accessible and relevant. He shared his gifts with love, respect, and the acknowledgement that we are all connected. His personal story reminded each of us that we too have the power to follow our own curiosity and passions."
HEATHER LIPSON BELL
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT and DIGITAL MEDIA
"Chris' contributions were immensely powerful and transformative. By sharing his insights, reflections and musical prowess, Chris enlivened our meeting and invoked a spiritual connection that inspired people to bring their head, heart, and soul to our shared body of work."
POLICY LINK MANAGING DIRECTOR
"Chris Garcia is a multifaceted master musician that has the unique gift of becoming one with the instruments he is playing thus sharing the vibrations with those present. His knowledge and respect of the ancient instruments he plays allows him to bring to life their ancestral tones and rhythms. Anyone fortunate to be a part of this experience will be blessed with an experience they'll never forget."
NATIONAL COMPADRES NETWORK
“Christopher Garcia’s Indigenous Drumming program for the Sunland-Tujunga library was unforgettable, featuring music of a kind many of us had never heard before. Patrons who hadn’t known about the program in advance were surprised, and then delighted, by the distinguished scholar of Mesoamerican music and culture sitting cross-legged on the floor of our reading room. As he recounted the historical and cultural context of the music he performed, and explained the history and workings of the instruments, we were enthralled by his superlative musicianship, erudition, and winning personality. The program was also visually appealing – including colorfully decorated gourd drums floating in bowls of water, arranged around him on the floor, so the kids sitting on the floor had a great face-to-face experience with Chris. The program was delightful and enriching for all: adults, teens and children.”
FRIENDS OF THE SUNLAND TUJUNGA LIBRARY
"Christopher Garcia presented an informance on Mesoamerican percussion and breath instruments for our families and the general public was cordially invited to attend. Chris
is not only a master musician and composer but also a great human being and friend!
Thank you for showering us with wisdom and music from Ancient Mexico and Central America ... what a beautiful way to finish our Verano del Arte Summer of the Arts!"
"It was great to have fabulous percussionist Chris Garcia do a presentation for my
MUSIC IN WORLD CULTURES class at Cal State University Los Angeles .........
we were discussing The Mexica/Azteca and Mayan cultures and Chris talked history, demonstrated instruments and performed several pieces all with his blend of knowledge
and humor!.. as it should be........ the students sat in awe!...
Insightful, Informative and funny
:). Attaca!... thanks Maestro...
PROFESSOR ROBERT FERNANDEZ
CAL STATE UNIVERSITY LOS ANGELES
"Christopher Garcia is a remarkable musician and captivating speaker. He combines careful
and detailed research of ancient Meso-American musical practices with a vibrant and creative spirit of innovation. He is able to bring life into instruments that might otherwise be put aside as museum pieces. In his visit to my World Music Survey course at CalArts, Garcia was able to capture students' attention with his charismatic presence, his reverence for the past, and his engaging storytelling ability, not to mention his impeccable sense of rhythm and expertise on dozens of beautiful instruments that he brought from his collection. "
CAL ARTS WORLD MUSIC SURVEY COURSE
“Christopher give a nice explanation of Mesoamerica, which is particularly valuable to all our students. The more detailed info is particularly valuable to the older (4-6) students, with simpler explanations for K-3, who are more enthralled with the instruments than anything. The exposure to the culture/s of Mesoamerica is the education. Our students live in an urban environment, often with limited opportunities to travel beyond their immediate area. Opening up new identities to them expands their borders.”
ROBERTS ELEMENTARY FACULTY
San Bernardino UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
“What a gift for our entire community! We had a great time learning about Mesoamerican music and expressing ourselves through dance. Some of us were inspired to find our own rock instruments. We hope that you will visit us again next year!
With sincere gratitude,
GRACIELA BARBRA CASTRO
EDUCATOR @ SANTA MONICA ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLHOUSE
"Our visit to Camp Glen Deven was amazing. In addition to learning about the coastal watershed, the hikes, the creek crawl and the surrounding environment, we learned about the heritage of the Mexica indigenous people. We were treated to an myriad of percussion sounds from the many instruments and objects played by master percussionist Christopher Garcia.
After a three days about learning about nature, our coastal environment, music, history, swimming, making our own pizzas, arts and crafts and games played, our students left in awe of the best camp ever. "
SONIA ARAMBURO, PRINCIPAL
OAK AVENUE ELEMENTARY
The presence, power and voice of your intentions rouses our spirits, illuminates positive intentions within us, (re)uniting us with the absolute legitimacy and joy of our belonging- in our own skins as well as in the worlds around us.
You bring out the gifts we each have inside ourselves! How wonderful that you share yours with these communities.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
“Christopher’s musical talent and expertise transcends generations, traditions and culture.
His ability to share foreign folklore with young children is astounding since it is done
through both music and storytelling, which easily allows children to connect through the
sentiment of the melodies. I was privileged to witness Christopher motivate and help children explore a variety of instruments, as well as inspire confidence in themselves as they connected to the instrument and themselves”
Along with the across-the-board 5 (out of 5) program rating
here are some of the comments:
"Great at explaining the instruments – wish I had a better music background
(one of our staff members said the same thing)"
'I love the explanation of the different instruments and how it is made"
"Impressive program! Great experience!"
"Very good – educational as well as entertaining. Good personalities of both musicians"
"Enjoyed and learned a lot!!"
"Very educational, musical"
"Excellent! Would love to hear them again. Very soothing, almost healing."
"Informative, enjoyable – Thank you!"
"Amazing. Great education."
OC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
"Chris is a talented musician who brings his jazz sensibilities to his teaching - he creates the music, the stories, the hands-on for his students recognizing they come from very different places. He has worked with kids who have extreme life challenges and no musical experience at all and given them a voice for the first time with a drum or a rattle. He understands that music speaks to all human beings in a deep place as we all have experienced the heartbeat of a child."
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY STEWARDSHIP
“His knowledge regarding MesoAmerica is remarkable and spiritually enlightening.
The spellbinding performance of our native culture reaches many levels of our nature
yearning for validation historically denied. Thank you uniting our souls with our true spirit.”
5TH GRADE TEACHER - GUSD
"Christopher is not only a world class musician, he is a supremely gifted educator. He has
an uncanny ability to inspire youth through the mystery of his music and take them on a journey to a new and unknown world. He has mastered the craft of blending art, culture, and story-telling to encourage personal growth and transformation in young and old alike, as well as elevate the sense of the sacred."
OUTDOOR PROGRAMS COORDINATOR
"We want to take the time to thank Mr. Christopher Garcia for introducing us to career
pathways in music. He introduced us to various musical instruments and talked about
their history. Most importantly, he inspired us to reach for the stars! Everything is possible
if we believe in ourselves."
NEAL ROBERTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
"Christopher was a warm, engaging presenter. He seamlessly wove the history and culture of the instruments into his performance and made it all very informative relatable to young children and adults. His variety of unique instruments created an intriguing yet comfortable environment for children to both interact and ask questions. His passion for his craft is contagious and we would have him back at our school in a heartbeat! "
GROWING PLACE SCHOOL
“We were so grateful to have musician Christopher Garcia perform for the 4th & 5th grade students attending our Summer Encounter Arts Intensive at the Colburn School . The array of instruments and styles of playing showcased was thrilling, from simple gourds in water bowls, sculptured percussion pieces and powerful African and Indian drums. He shared with our students a whole-hearted and great love for percussive music, the varied cultures from which it comes, and its power to unite us through dynamic rhythm, storytelling and fun!”
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT COORDINATOR
"I would like to thank Christopher for sharing his passion, love, and positive
vibes with our school. The kids and staff loved him. Chris is an inspiring musician
who speaks to the heart not only with his words, but through his music. Thanks
for introducing such an inspiring person to us."
NEAL ROBERTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BILINGUAL EDUCATOR
"Christopher Garcia was an incredible guest artist in our World Music Spring Show at Rosewood Avenue Elementary School. He joined my music students and I, playing hand drums and percussion instruments from around the world, adding another level of beauty to the music and inspiration to all of us. Thank you so much for your amazing presence. The kids won't forget it!"
ABBY LOCES MUSICAL DIRECTOR
"Thank you so much for coming to our school! Our 5th graders talked about your visit for the rest of the week! After learning about the different instruments, my students were truly inspired in the creation of their own instruments. Many of the instruments included elements seen in your demonstration (water, rocks, and use of "every-day items" to make their instruments!
Some of our kiddos got to use their instruments in the school's end of the year band performance. Attached is a picture of your visit and some instrument examples from the project that followed! Thank you again and I can't wait to have you visit again next year to kick off our "science is everywhere" projects!"
MISS HEATHER HERSHBERGER
EAST LOS ANGLES, CA
"Chris, you inspire me each and every time!"
PERFORMING/COMMUNICATION ARTS COORDINATOR
PASADENA CITY COLLEGE
"I was immediately impressed with his great proficiency in a variety of percussion disciplines. His skill in the notoriously complex North Indian approach is especially inspiring and he is one of only a handful of musicians who have combined mastery of set drumming with the extraordinary intricacies of Hindustani tabla. His expertise extends well beyond these two fields, including a command of mallet instruments, innovation in electronic percussion, mastery of the extremely difficult repertoire of Frank Zappa and important research in the realm of Mesoamerican indigenous percussion. It’s always a pleasure to host an instructional workshop with Chris as his heartfelt enthusiasm is infectious. Chris’ brilliant percussion skills are matched by his prowess as a composer as he is able draw together his various artistic influences into a personal and captivating musical voice. Playing his music is simultaneously a challenge and a joy.
Chris is a true twenty-first century visionary, combining a deep understanding of ancient musical traditions with a forward-thinking aesthetic to make music that is engaging, unique and profound. He is a brilliant artist and a wonderful friend and I’m certain he will continue to innovate and inspire for many years to come."
"Chris' ability to find unusually creative and beautiful solutions to my compositions always astounds me. His knowledge of esoteric percussion instruments adds a whole other dimension to my work. Specifically, he has helped me with my symphonic/choral oratorio MISA AZTECA. I needed a percussionist who had an in depth knowledge of Aztec rhythms and instrumentation as I was working on the piece. Not only did he give me that, but he also gave me their actual history as well as how they’ve been performed historically and then went on to present a deeper understanding of their spiritual rituals and customs. I came to understand that Chris is a consummate student of music, and that depth of understanding comes through in his performance. His mastery of technique and his facility shines through in his improvisations. He’s a creative monster."
JOSEPH JULIAN GONZALEZ