Howard Kaufman



Howard (Howie) Kaufman is best known for his work and dedication to Afro-Cuban percussion education and performance. He founded and coordinated the Explorations in Afro-Cuban Dance and Drum workshops from 1996-2015, held each summer at Cal Poly Humboldt (formerly Humboldt State University). These workshops quickly became the most comprehensive series on Afro-Cuban music and dance in the United States and overseas, with participants coming from as far as Japan, Turkey, Europe, England, Ireland, and all over the United States. These workshops featured internationally recognized artists from Havana, Matanzas, Guantanamo, and Santiago Cuba, as well as experts from the United States. In 1995, Howie traveled and studied in Cuba with the most knowledgeable and respected folkloric masters and leading professional drummers such as Regino Jimenez, Esteban “Cha-Cha” Vega Bacallao, Roberto Vizcaino, Jesus Alphonso, Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana, Angel Bolaños, and more.  In the U.S, Howie has studied and performed with Cuban masters Lazaro Galarraga, Francisco Aguabella, Roman Diaz, Sandy Perez, Calixto Oviedo, Octavio Rodriguez, Hilario Duran, Miguel Bernal, Rogelio Kindelan, Jesus Diaz and more. In recognition for his work, Howie has an open invitation to perform at the Fiesta del Caribe, an annual event featuring cultural workshops, theatre, and artistic performances held every July in Santiago de Cuba.

In addition to his work with Afro-Cuban music, Howie has studied Afro-Brazilian percussion at the “Instituto de Investigacio Musico” in Salvador, Brazil and with author, arranger, and percussion professor Guilherme Gonclaves in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Howie also plays steelpan and is a founding member of the Humboldt Calypso Band, the first steelband in the California State University system. In 1993, he performed with the Hummingbirds Steelband, directed by Ray Holman, in Trinidad’s National Panorama Competition held annually in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.  In the U.S., Howie has studied and performed West African drumming from Ghanaian Anlo-Ewe master CK Ladzekpo since 1989 and he studied all areas of classical Western percussion at Humboldt State University with professors Dr. Eugene Novotney and Dr. J.B. Smith from 1982 -1990.

Howie has a K-12 teaching credential and has created world percussion programs at Arcata and Mckinleyville high schools, and taught workshops and classes for a variety of middle and elementary schools. He currently teaches percussion at Fieldbrook school. Howie also performs with Cuban- influenced band Timbata, and he teaches privately through his school the Humboldt Drum Academy. He is also a founding member and former musical director of Samba Alegria (formerly Samba do Norte), the first Afro-Brazilian Samba dance and drum troupe in Humboldt County.

At Cal Poly Humboldt, Howie’s percussion teaching duties include World Percussion Ensemble, Afro-Cuban Percussion, Percussion Techniques, Beginning Percussion, and Percussion Studio lessons. He also has directed the Humboldt Calypso Band, Contemporary Percussion Ensembles, and the AM Jazz Band. His non-percussion teaching duties have included lecture classes Music in World Cultures, Rock: An American Music, Music Tech: Midi and Finale, and Intro to Music.


Afro-Cuban and World Percussion, Percussion Techniques and instruction

Howard  Kaufman
(707) 826-5774
Music B 215