Nico Spezzacatena

world percussionist, performer and educator
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Nico Spezzacatena is a multi-talented percussionist, performer, and educator from Hoboken, New Jersey. He received his BFA and MFA in world music performance from the California Institute of the Arts. Nico has been studying and researching traditional music and dance for over 15 years. In 1997, he founded Guineafia - a West African Drum and Dance Ensemble. In 1999, Nico traveled to Ghana, West Africa to research Ewe, Dagomba, and Asante culture, dance and music. He has studied Drum and Dance under the Ladzekpo family, the Yevutsey family, Sulley Imoro, the Lawluvi family (choreography and dance), Asari of Legon, Kakraba Lobi, Doug Floyd, Mor Thiam, and Mamady Keita. Nico is a tabla disciple of Swapan Chaudhuri, and has also studied South Indian Karnatic music with Poovalur Srinivasan. He has studied Javanese and Balinese gamelan, Afro-Cuban and Haitian drumming, and frame drums with John Bergamo. Nico has performed with Olodum, Boogsie Sharp, Wadada Leo Smith, Huun-Huur-Tu, Ozomatli, and Mark Karan, to name a few. Nico has performed and given workshops in the Tri-State Area, Florida, California, Nevada, West Virginia, Milan, the Hawaiian Islands, and Ghana. In 2001, he recorded music for NBC's Survivor Kenya TV series. Nico is also a researcher and board member of the Nada Brahma Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the research, education, and preservation of indigenous culture. Currently on Maui, Nico is the lead percussionist in “Ulalena,” the award-winning theatrical production depicting the history, mythology, and culture of the Hawaiian peoples.

Nico performing in "Ulalena," Maui Myth & Magic Theatre
Click here to check out what one audience member thought about Nico's performance in Ulalena.
still from Damba
To watch Nico's new promo video, click here.
Nico's resume!

Nico is available for lessons, workshops, lectures and performances in West African drum and dance, tabla, Afro-Cuban & Haitian drumming, and frame drum.

For more information, please contact Nico at

NIco dancing at the Damba Festival (Yendi, Ghana)
Nico performing "Plantation," part of Ulalena