Los Angeles based Drummer
Sandie Castañeda is a Los Angeles based drummer, and percussionist. Sandie began her musical journey at age 12 when she began taking lessons with jazz drummer and writer of Modern Drummer Magazine, Tracy Borst at a local music store in Alhambra, CA. After a few years of private study and performing in local groups she was encouraged to audition for the music program at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Sandie was placed as the drummer of her class, and during her attendance was able to immerse herself the studies of jazz, latin jazz, music theory, and classical music. Under the direction of jazz director, Bobby Rodriguez, she was given opportunities to perform with her class in venues such as the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and the Playboy Jazz Festival. She also earned scholarships to summer music programs like the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Berklee College of Music in L.A., and the Vail Jazz Workshop in Colorado where she was able to study with Dafnis Prieto, Yosvanny Terry, Peter Erskine, and Carl Allen.
After high school, Sandie was able to attend California State University in Long Beach (CSULB) where she was accepted into the Percussion Studies Program and received her Bachelors Degree in Music. While at CSULB her teachers included Dr. Michael Carney, Randy Drake (drum set), Brad Dutz, and Dr. Dave Gerhart (mallet studies). It was at here where her passion for world percussion took shape, enrolling West African Drum and Dance ensemble led by legendary family member Yeko Ledzekpo of Ghana and also taking the opportunity to study abroad in Brazil to study with Escolas Do Samba in Rio De Janeiro and various Bloco ensembles in Salvador Bahia. Salvador introduced a new love of Afro-Brazilian culture where she was introduced to folkloric styles of drumming and dancing with master teacher Jose Ricardo Sousa of Ballet Folklorico da Bahia. It was during this time that Sandie was able to dive deeper into the roots of the Afro-Brazilian traditions which she incorporates into her own musical style.
Currently Sandie tours internationally with Angolan artist Ricardo Lemvo and his group Makina Loca. When she is not traveling abroad she can be found performing with all female Salsa group Las Chikas, under the direction of cuban composer and artist Iliana Rose, as well as projects with Dominican Folk Singer and researcher, Ikra Mateo, and most recently a fifteen-plus music and drum ensemble titled “Extra Ancestral” which aims to educate it’s audience of ancestral roots through fusions of Afro-Beat, Reggae, Jazz, Afro-Latino, and traditional African rhythms and dance. “Extra Ancestral” is led by percussion virtuoso Kahlil Cummings, Alberto Lopez (Latin Percussion) and dance director Rachel Hernandez (Viver Brasil) On Sandie’s free time, she also uses her talents to volunteer in local drum and dance organizations such as the “all queens ensemble” Bloco Obini and Viver Brasil Dance Company.