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Sam M. Zavaleta


Sam is a world musician who works with percussive instruments from all over the world. Drawing on traditions ranging from Mexican folklore to contemporary jazz and European classical, Sam creates immersive musical experiences using marimba, contemporary percussion, voice, Mexican folkloric instruments, and more.


Sam's current project, Lejos Del Tiempo,  pushes the boundaries of musical disciplines, exploring the intersection of time, movement and immigration. An immigrant himself who has lived in three countries and traveled widely, this project explores both what it means to belong to a musical discipline, and what it means to belong to a nation. Contrasting and blending traditional Mexican folklore and contemporary percussion, Samuel makes use of voice, marimba, hand drums, and more in order to explore the richness of sounds and sonically represent his experiences of movement, belonging, and immigration. 


An inspired teacher, Sam also makes some children's music. Sam's children's music utilizes a wide aray of percussive and electronic sounds. Oriented to bilingual children, this music is in both English and Spanish. 


Sam has played with Calpulli Mexican Dance, Villalobos Brothers, Dan Zanes, the National Dance Institute, Xalapa Percussion Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra of Xalapa, Veracruz State Band and Cindy Lou Potter, among others. Check out some of Sam's work below. 

All Videos


Musical Projects

Children's Music

baby playing with cymbal
The Little Blue Fish - Samuel M. Zavaleta

Produced with children growing up in bilingual homes, this music makes use of both English and Spanish. Sam believes that music can be a joyful mode of learning about the world, and is excited to share these sound and story explorations with children in North and Latin America. 

Red Dance Songs

art - red dance song
Red Dance - Samuel M. Zavaleta

Produced in 2010, this collection of music is highly experimental. A reflection on notions of place and movement, the marimba is featured. 

Music Projects
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