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Alex Acuña Biography

Alex Acuña
Name: Alex Acuña Drums: DW
Born: December 12, 1944 Cymbals: Zildjian
Origin: Pativilca, Peru Sticks: Vic Firth
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Who Is Alex Acuña?

Alex Acuna may be one of the most successful Latin drummers to come out of South America. His career has shown people everywhere that Alex Acuna can shine in all types of music styles, includingjazz drumming, Latin drumming, rock drumming, blues drumming, and fusion. He was a part of music history in a number of occasions, and has drummed for countless albums and music greats. He can also be heard in many television production projects. With such a variety of skills behind his back, there is no doubt Acuna is one of the top drummers of his style, and of our time.

Alex was born in Pativilca Peru, about one hundred miles north of Lima. His family was extremely musical, including 5 brothers and a father who were all musicians themselves. Alex decided to take up the drums, and started to teach himself how to play the drums at the age of four. He was very successful, and by the time he was 10, he was already playing for many local shows and bands. Alex eventually realized music is where he wanted to be, and by the time he was a teen, he moved to Lima, Peru and became a full time studio session drummer. It was here where he built his name as one of Peru’s most accomplished session drummers, as he recorded for many studio projects, and television shows.

His reputation was beginning to build as a live performer as well. In Lima, Alex started to play shows more frequently, growing respect among musicians of all different styles. When he turned 18 years old, Alex was chosen by the great Latin musician Perez Prado to join his music group. In this band, Acuna traveled all over the place including a number of visits to the USA. Acuna immediately fell in love with this country. In 1967, he moved to Puerto Rico to do session work and play in local bands. It was here where he went to school for three years at the Puerto Rico conservatory of music studying the art of classical percussion.

In 1974, Alex moved to Las Vegas. This is where his career really took off. In Vegas, Acuna played for the rock superstar Elvis Presley, and famous singer Diana Ross. He also drummed for the first ever jazz fusion album to sell over a million copies – “Heavy Weather”. This was with the jazz group Weather Report, which toured and played for many years. In his recent years, Alex has been apart of a number of Latin albums like:

(1992) Thinking of You
(2000) Acuarela de Tambores
(2002) Los Hijos del Sol: To My Country

Alex has recently released an instructional DVD with DW Drums teaching many of his favorite rhythms. This product goes through the many years of his life as a drummer in Peru. Alex is known for his unique style of drumming, and his Latin grooves he plays. He is also a master at hand drumming and percussion, probably one of the most versatile drummers for afro-Cuban and Latin music. Definitely a drummer to be noted and researched!

This Lesson Has 4 Comments

  • Manish says:

    Hey bughat .. What kind of hnaophdees are you using? (brand/model) You’ll want to be using closed’ hnaophdees that completely cover the ears, not the more comfortable open-back’ models a lot of folks like (comfort wise). If the music is still getting drowned out by his drums, try a headphone amp. You can get a Behringer HA400 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amplifier for around $20 a Zzounds. Also, they’re really handy when more than one person needs to hear .. like if you are mixing and someone else is drumming.Better quality hnaophdees may correct the problem w/o the amp, but they can cost $100 and up. I have a pair of AKG K-301 s that worked great when I was doing the same. Let us know how it goes ..Steve +7Was this answer helpful?

  • Nilde says:

    Joey plays his Pearl Joey Jordison sruiatgne snare. It sounds different because the head size is about an inch less(13 ) than what many would consider a normal sized snare drum(14 ). It has a powerful, deep sounding punch to it.

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