Dawn Drake


California Institute of the Arts. MFA Program in Performance/Composition: Multi-instrumental composer/performer. Completed December 2015
Lulu May and Richard Von Hagen Scholarship Recipient

City University of New York Graduate and University Center.
Masters of Arts in Ethnomusicology. Completed May 2002.

University of California, Berkeley.  Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, focus in Cultural Studies of West Africa and the African Diaspora.  Completed with High Honors, December 1994.

University of Ghana: Legon. Ghana, West Africa. Study Abroad Program in African Studies and Performing Arts. 1992-1993.

Caribbean Music and Dance Program in Haitiano-Cubano Folkloric Music.
Guantanamo, Cuba. 1997.

The Harbor Center for Performing Arts. Private instruction in Congas/Afro-Cuban Percussion with Johnny Almendra. 1997-2002.

Private instruction in Bel Canto Vocal technique, Instructor Judy Hages. 2003-2010.

Employment History:

Freelance musician, band director, entrepreneur at Dawn Drake & ZapOte: 2005 to present.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Adjunct Professor: “Popular Music of the Caribbean”. January 2017-Present. Supervisor: Ben Lapidus, Director, Department of Art and Music, John Jay College.

Marquis Studios. Brooklyn, NY. Teaching Artist: Songwriting; World and Latin Percussion; Music in Special Education. January 2014-Present. Supervisor: Amoy McClean

Brooklyn Music School Artist Certificate Program. Professor in Songwriting and Music Business. Brooklyn Music School, 126 St. Felix, Brooklyn, NY. Samuel Thomas:

Brooklyn Arts Council. 55 Washington St. Brooklyn, NY. Teaching Artist and Performing Group Facilitator for School Assemblies. Afro-Brazilian Percussionist and Vocal/Songwriting and Percussion Instructor. 2017 SU-CASA grant recipient from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. June 2013 to present. Supervisor: Phil Alexander.

Mannes College of Music and Brooklyn Arts Council Partnership: Teaching Artist Mentor for Mannes College of Music Students. March 2016 to present. Supervisor: Philip Alexander:

Create NY. Brooklyn, NY. Teaching Artist. Vocal Music, General Music, ESL Singing, Arts and Social Science Curriculum Integration for NYC public schools. October 2006 to June 2015. Supervisor: Emily Schriebl Scott.

California Institute of the Arts. Teaching Assistant: Mexican Music. Jan 2013 to May 2013. Supervisor: Roxane Chenault:

California Institute of the Arts. Ensemble Leader: Sept 2012 to May 2013. Supervisor: Michele DeJesus:

California Institute of the Arts: REDCAT Production Manager Assistant. January 2013-May 2013. Supervisor: Lauren Pratt:

Purelements, Brooklyn, NY. Teaching Artist. Choir Director and Urban Percussion Instructor for NYC Middle Schools.  Oct. 2011 to June 2014. Supervisor: Dina Joseph.

The Leadership Program, New York. Arts and Leadership Trainer/Facilitator specializing in Urban/Afro-Caribbean Drumming for NYC Public Middle Schools. Spring 2012. Supervisor: Ali Mercier.

Creative Classrooms, New York. Music Teacher specializing in World Percussion and Vocal Music for K through Eighth grade. Saint Simonstock School and Saint Ann’s School, Bronx, New York.  September 2004 to June 2006.

Private Voice, Piano, Bass and Percussion Instructor: individual students and workshop facilitation. 2001 to present.

University Settlement. Teacher of West African and Afro-Caribbean Percussion for young adults; Accompanist for West African Dance Class. 121 Ave. of the Americas, New York, New York, 10013. Summer 2003. Supervisor: Bruce Mack.

Arts Connection. Accompanist and Substitute Teacher for Afro-Caribbean Dance and Music program in New York City Public Schools. 120 West 46th Street, New York, New York. November 2001 to August 2004.  Supervisor: Jessica Pabotoy.

City University of New York Graduate Center Department of Ethnomusicology, 365 Fifth Ave., New York, New York. Ethnomusicology Research Assistant to Dr.Stephen Blum.
August 2000 to May 2001. Supervisor: Dr.Stephen Blum.

Professional Affiliations:
Member of ASCAP. 2005 to present.
Grants Panel Member of the Brooklyn Arts Council. November 2013-2015.


Anne LeBaron, Senior Composer, Director Composition Program, California Institute of the Arts.
Vinny Golia, Senior Composition Professor, Performer/Composer MFA Program, California Institute of the Arts.
Judy Hages, Vocal Instructor and Mentor, NYC.
Randy Gloss, World Percussion Assistant Program Director, California Institute of the Arts.

Professional Performance Experience:

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater: Accompanist on congas/Afro-Cuban Percussion 2013 to present.

Mark Morris Dance Theater: Accompanist for Afro-Haitian and Modern Dance on congas/percussion: 2019.

Dawn Drake & ZapOte: Composer, Director, Bass, Percussion, Vocals, Songwriting. 2005-present.

Eliane Amherd: bass 2017 to present.

Green Mambo: bass 2018 to present.

Azouhouni Adou: Creative bassplayer, percussionist. 2004-present.

Fulaso: Conguera February 2017 to present.

Juanita Cash: Bassist. 2016 to present.

Karikatura: Stand-in Bassist, Europe tour 2017.

Backa Niang: Bassist 2015 to present.

As Lolas: Bassist, Brazilian Psychedelic Rock. 2013 to present.

Paprika: Creative vocalist, bassist, percussionist, workshop facilitator.

Nepo Soteri and Asante: Conguera/Percussionist; Bassist. 2008-present.
Pablo Djembe: Bassist. 2015 to present.

Oumar Ndiaye: Bassist 2015 to present.

Michael Camacho of Sly Fox: Bassist 2017 to present.


“Salon du coiffure”produced by Dima Kay. Single 2018.

“Wake Up Re-Mix” produced by Chico Mann and Geoff Mann of Here Lies Man. Single 2017.

Dawn Drake & Julz A, “Sugar Pop” (LPM Re-mix). Vocals, Songwriting. 2011.


Dawn Drake & ZapOte, “Nightshade”. Composition, Arranging, Vocals, Bass, Auxiliary Percussion and Keyboard. 2019

Dawn Drake & ZapOte, “Everythinglessness.” Bass, Vocals, Percussion, Keyboard, Effects, Songwriting & Arranging. 2013.

Dawn Drake, “Cross Crocodiles.” Bass, Vocals, Percussion, Songwriting & Arranging. 2008.

Manmzel, “On the Beat”. Bass, Vocals. 2006.
Azouhouni Adou, “I Gotta Go”, Percussion. 2005.
Paprika, “Are We In Rio Yet?”. Bass,Vocals. 2008
Paprika, “100% Sweet Exquisite Delicacy.” Percussion, Vocals. 2003.
The Femm Nameless, “E.S.S.A.” Percussion, Vocals. 2004.

Venues Performed:

Maplewood, NJ Concert Series 2019

Union Township, NJ Fall Festival 2019

Kimmel Center, Philadelphia 2019

Belize International Jazz Festival 2017, 2018, 2019

US Embassy Sponsored Tour in Belize, 2018

Harvest Fest, Brooklyn 2016, 2017

Harvest Fair Brooklyn, 2018

Brooklyn Bowl, 2016, 2017.

JCAST New Jersey Art Opening 2018.

Willoughby Walks, Brooklyn 2018.

Fifth Avenue Business Improvement 2016 to present.

Montague Street Business Improvement 2016 to present.

New York Hall of Science, Queens NYC 2018

Third Street Music Concert Series in Abe Lebewohl Park, New York, NY. 2002, 2006, 2012, 2013.

Estrella TV, “Noches Con Platanito”, Los Angeles. March 2013

Brooklyn Academy of Music, 2004, 2007, 2010, 2015

NY Parks Dept. Riverside Park Concerts “Mamapalooza” 2015

Danbury Concerts on the Green, Danbury Connecticut. 2014

Party Erotique tour at House of Blues US. 2011.

Luxury Event Studios Musical Director and International Tour Leader 2009 to 2016

Frauenstimmen Festival in Switzerland, 2014, 2019.

Club Bonafide, Rockwood Music Hall, SOBS, Bembe, Barbes, Shrine World Music, Silvana.. etc.

Radio City Music Hall, with Trey Anastasio. 2003.
Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room. 2003, 2005, 2006.
Telemundo. 2003.
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. 2010, 2007.
Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. 2003, 2005.
Berkeley Downtown Music Festival. 2009, 2010.
Bluemont Concert Series, Virginia. 2008.
Sisterspace Weekend. 2013
Cortland Main Street Concert Series. 2012
Various Colleges and Universities, and Music Festivals (Haverford College, Skidmore College, Cortland Street Concert Series, Wisteria Cornstalk Festival, Starwood Festival, Kompa Fest, Fringe Festival DC., Festival of Arts and Ideas, Syracuse New York State Fair).

Academic Research and Papers:
CUNY Graduate Center Representative. Presentation on Gender and Afro-Cuban Spiritual Practices. Casa del Caribe Roundtable. Festival del Caribe. Santiago de Cuba, July, 2000.

Internships and Volunteer Positions:
Humanities High School, West 18th St., NYC.  After-school workshop instructor teaching Brazilian percussion.  September, 2001 to May 2002.

International Development Exchange, San Francisco, Ca.  Education Assistant.  Duties included creating education files on Community Development Projects in Ghana and of West African history and culture for area school teachers. January 1994 to December 1994.

U.C. Berkeley, Department of African-American Studies.  Research Assistant to Professor Michel Laguerre.

Special Skills:
Spanish speaking and reading. Portuguese and French reading and understanding.

Awards and Honors:

Lulu May and Richard Von Hagen Scholarship Recipient 2012 and 2015, California Institute of the Arts
SU-CASA Grant Recipient 2017, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and The Brooklyn Arts Council

Arts Envoy Grant recipient 2018 for US Embassy in Belize arts and outreach program 2018.

AlumniTIES Grant recipient to attend “Art, Culture and Transforming Conflict” in Santa Fe, New Mexico, December 2019.