Hey, my name is Emrah Kotan. I am a Turkish drummer and percussionist living in Atlanta, Georgia USA. I guess I started getting into music when I was eight playing the mandolin, oud and guitar. I auditioned for the Ankara State Conservatory at 11 years old, and was placed in the percussion department because the jury thought I had a really good sense of rhythm. I spent 10 years there and came out with a Bachelor's degree in Percussion Performance.
Although I am a classically trained percussionist, I have always loved to play all kinds of music. I mainly learned to play the drum set and world percussion by watching instructional videos. I came to the US to expand my knowledge of jazz music and world percussion and settled in Atlanta where I earned a Master's degree in Jazz Studies from Georgia State University. I'm happy to say that I've have had the opportunity to play everything from timba to rock, new age to neo-soul. I have played a number of venues, including international jazz and world music festivals alongside some great bands and musicians such as International Groove Conspiracy, Jiva, Edy Martinez, Julie Dexter, Fazil Say, Shannon Sanders, Blue Miller, Gramps Morgan and Laura Reed.
Since 2007, I have been the Director of Jazz and World Percussion ensembles at Agnes Scott College. I teach the fundamentals of drumming, spending a lot of time on rudiments because I strongly believe that playing drums and percussion is about learning the language and knowing drumming vocabulary. I want my students to express themselves in their own voice and I consider improvisation to be an important part of drumming.
In 2013, I released my debut album, The New Anatolian Experience, which fuses jazz with different world music styles, with an emphasis on music and rhythms from Turkey.
The same year, I was hired as the drummer and then percussionist for Grammy award winning singer/songwriter, India.Arie. It has been an awesome experience playing with such a talented artist. We are currently on a 30-city U.S. tour and will travel internationally in 2014.