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Kevin Ronkko


Kevin Ronkko is a drummer and composer. His compositions often use drums and vocals with no additional accompaniment in order to show the melodic potential of the drum set. His drum solos aim to be accessible to all listeners, not just drummers. Kevin has also composed songs for guitar-and-bass bands, and has been lucky to work with some very talented musicians. Kevin Ronkko is a native of Maine who began playing drums at the age of ten. Encouraged by his junior high school music teacher, and influenced by rock drummers such as Bill Bruford and Neil Peart, Ronkko completed eight years of private lessons with local legend Dick Demers. Realizing his potential by winning 2nd place in a clogging competition, he played the drums in concert and jazz bands throughout his public school years.

His eclectic playing career began at age fifteen, moving from a Broadway revue to a Finnish Polka band to a rhythm and blues bar band within a year. Over the years he has played all over the Northeastern U.S. His musical experiences have ranged widely in styles, from reggae, punk, and African pop to rhythm and blues, funk, rock, and jazz.
He has played in bands that have headlined on college circuits, and that have opened for international acts such as Burning Spear, Boukman Eksperyans, and Fred Ho and the Afro-Asian Music Ensemble. He has also worked in pit orchestras of small local acting companies, performing classics such as Nunsense, The King and I, and Camelot. With a style uniquely his own, Ronkko has carved a niche for himself within New England as a drummer and vocalist. When not teaching, Ronkko composes his own music and plays drums as a freelance musician. He has released two solo recordings, Roots Rock Percussion (1996), and How to Eat a Groove (2001). How to Eat a Groove is currently being reviewed by many well known magazines and web sites and is rapidly earning a reputation as being well received. Roots Rock Percussion garnered several warm reviews, and won a popular music award from ASCAP in 1997. He has six more unofficially released CDs of varied experimental percussion compositions available for people who may be interested in hearing more. Two of the recordings that Kevin has played on are internationally distributed on Outer Green Records, a record label based in Western Maine. The Dreaming Tree by Bill Shimamura received warm reviews and has had a lot of air play. Kevin recently recorded a CD live on the UNH radioshow locality with Sean T. Fleming. It features many of Kevins' original tunes, as well as Sean's. Ronkko believes in lifelong education. He is currently studying with Royal Hartigan (author of West African Rhythms for Drumset), and studied briefly with jazz legend Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck Quartet, author of Master Studies). He recently completed a semester of music theory and ear training classes at the University of New Hampshire, and continues to study voice. Ronkko's teaching philosophy is to encourage students to enjoy practicing. Kevin stresses proper technique so students may continue to play throughout their lives without injury. Sight reading is also an important component of his lessons. He specializes in helping professional drummers to sing while playing. His varied background enables him to easily teach students whatever musical styles they are interested in. His sense of humor is a quality that comes across both in his compositions, lessons, and in general. Kevin is currently a member of Lorntell, a Boston based band, Free Treats, a New Hamshire based band, and is as always, Kevin Ronkko.

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