Mark D'Antonio
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Mark D'Antonio

Lahaina, Hawaii, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1994 | SELF

Lahaina, Hawaii, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1994
Solo Latin World


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"New Blood Spotlight"

Feature in Drum! Magazine highlighting outstanding performers in their field. Article showcased Mark's percussion skills. - DRUM! Magazine

"New Blood Spotlight"

Feature in Drum! Magazine highlighting outstanding performers in their field. Article showcased Mark's percussion skills. - DRUM! Magazine


Mark D'Antonio: "For Example", Jay-J "Get Connected". Latrice Barnett "Illuminate", Micah Wolf, Sunset Red: "Must Be The Airplane Food", "Wearing My Soul on the Outside" Joe Cano "Get Connected", Barefoot Natives "Barefoot Natives"



Mark DAntonio is a professional Conga player currently residing on the island of Maui, Hawaii. He has been a student of the drum since age 9, studying drum kit with a host of talented instructors and mentors. A musical epiphany at age 15 (mesmerized by Armando Perazas brilliant conga playing) ignited the proverbial light bulb over his head and he switched from studying drum kit to Conga drums (tumbadoras) and all things Afro-Carribean, with a focus on Cuba.
The rich abundance of West African drumming and dance (brought by slaves to the Caribbean), fused with the instrumentation, song forms and melodic richness of the Spanish colonists resulted in a cultural phenomenon that has yielded more musical wealth than most countries ten times Cubas size. The mixing of an established African polyrhythmic, call-and-response musical foundation introduced musical concepts that we take for granted in popular music these days, but were vastly different than the classical linear musical structures found throughout Europe.
Personally, these complex Afro-Cuban fusions made prefect sense at a very rudimentary level. There was no doubt where his hunger for more musical knowledge and expression would lead.

It was not easy however, to find the tools and the teachers. Seeking out Afro-Cuban instructors and keepers of the flame at a time when there were practically no instructional books, videos, DVDs, or workshops to gather the knowledge from was a unique challenge. The music, and especially the drumming, was an oral tradition, and one that you had to prove your sincerity to learn and to humble yourself before the drum and your drum teachers.
He can remember the joy of locating a difficult or obscure drum pattern, painstakingly transcribed by hand, or locating a recording of one of the greats like Mongo Santamaria playing Afro Blue clear enough to pick out all the subtle parts or best yet, seeing a Santana concert with the percussion team of Orestes Vilato, Raul Rekow and Armando Peraza having a percussion discussion that sent chills down your spine. Most rewarding was that feeling when a difficult pattern would stick and be committed to muscle memory; when the patterns of notes evolved from mechanical repetition to musical expression.
The tools are far easier to come by these days, but Mark stresses that it is only possible because of the greats who have come before, pioneers who have elevated the music, the instruments and the role of conguero in a musical setting. The connection we have with these greats keeps us rooted in tradition while exploring and expanding into brilliant directions.

Fortunate to have studied with some of the todays most talented hand drummers, Mark is still in love with the Conga drums and is honored to have a deep connection with traditional Cuban, Puerto Rican and West African music and the rhythmic foundations they are built upon. These rich musical foundations create a base in which to fuse and assimilate the diverse modern music that he surrounds himself with.
As with any artist, the inextinguishable thirst for rewarding creative endeavors drives him to create something new while firmly rooted in the rich rhythmic traditions he has studied.
Its a great time to play.

EXCERPT FROM Latin Percussion, Inc:

Instead of pursuing a career in his native San Francisco, Mark D'Antonio took off across the waters to Maui, Hawaii and an idyllic existence. One of the first things he did when he got there was to establish an entertainment magazine. Five years spent as publisher and editor kept the gigging schedule tight, but after successfully selling the publication he is able to resume a full-time career as a percussionist. He's played with a number of name artists who live, work, or visit Maui, including George Benson, Willie Nelson, Pat Simmons (Doobie Brothers), Rob Wasserman, Emil Richards, Ras Michael, and Joe Cano. He has opened for such as acts as the Foo Fighters, LL Cool J, Gov't Mule, Train, Sheila E, Paul Oakenfold, Rickie Lee Jones, Bonnie Raitt, Dishwalla, 38 Special, Bedouin Soundclash, Fishbone, Pato Banton, Nestor Torres, and many others.

His current musical evolution is a balance of salsa/son/timba bands and electronic House music. "It's important to stay rooted in the music that I love and the rich tradition and proper technique yet stay creative with new forms of music and the possibilities they bring." "You're living on an island of 120,000 people," Mark says. "There aren't as many house gigs and touring players, but we're all 'gunslingers'. That is, there isn't the opportunity for a tight knit group to tour, lock in steady house gigs, and do a circuit." Every other month, on average, to recharge, as he puts it, Mark does the big commute to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas or Miami and NYC for gigs with a variety of artists, including a large contingency of House DJs and electronic music producers.

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