Curtis Andrews is a Canadian-based musician with global persuasions. A percussionist/composer/teacher who creates music that is informed by his many years of experience with West African, South Indian and jazz traditions yet transcends most categories.
Raised in the town of Carbonear, Newfoundland, Curtis taught himself to play the drumset as a youth after being inspired by recordings of Max Roach, late 80’s/early 90’s hip-hop and heavy metal. A graduate of York University, his personal musical journeys over the years have extended to villages and metropolises of Ghana, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and he has developed a deep knowledge of the history, culture and performance of music from these areas. His personal mentors have included (the late) Don Wherry (1997-2001), Trichy Sankaran (1999-present) and Frederick Kwasi Dunyo (1998-present). He continues to perform/study with these masters whenever possible.
A leader in his field, Curtis is the founder and artistic director of Dzolali Drum and Dance Ensemble, which performs music and dance from Western and Southern Africa (based in NL). He is a teacher of African and Indian percussion, drumset, Zimbabwean mbira and West African music, dance and song. A regular participant in the international Sound Symposium, he has been a member of its artistic selection committee for the past 10 years.
In December 2008 he released his first debut album entitled The Offering of Curtis Andrews, a collection of 12 original pieces that draw from his studies and travels in Asia, Africa and at home in North America. An award-winning effort, it gained steady praise as some of the most original and refreshing music to come out of Newfoundland in a recent years. With this album he was awarded the 2009 "Male Artist of the Year" and "Instrumental Artist of the Year" by MusicNL. In the same year, he was awarded the Atlantis Prize from The Scope magazine, which recognizes the best album of 2009 released in NL, based on artistic content rather than sales. Consisting of drumset, percussion, mridangam (South Indian classical drum), Ewe percussion (West African), electric bass, electric guitar, trumpet, alto/tenor sax, flute, vibraphone and Fender Rhodes, the pieces themselves range from the virtuosic and mind-bending to soothing and meditative.
In June 2009 he moved to Vancouver, BC (for love!) and has steadily been making his mark on that coast. He leads his own ensemble, The Offering of Curtis Andrews, to play his original music, collaborates with the VICO (Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra), explores Carnatic music with local singer Vidyasagar Vankayala, plays mbira, drums and marimba with Zimbabwean groups Zhambai Trio and Zimbamoto. In 2011 he was an artist-in-residence for 3 months at Vancouver Community College and in the same year was recruited by Vancouver modern taiko trailblazers Uzume Taiko to compose, tour and perform.