Founder, Director & Teacher, TTM San Diego

Monette Marino is a popular and well-known drum teacher in San Diego, as well as other cities around the globe. She has been sharing her love of drumming with students and audiences for almost two decades.

Monette’s 30-year journey of exploring different drumming systems from around the world has given her a deep respect for the cultural heritage preserved and passed on through the language of the drum. She started playing drum set at age 8 and then began to develop her hand drumming expertise at age 15. She has studied with local and international Masters in Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Caribbean, Korean and West African drumming.

In 1995 she launched her career as a professional musician and percussion teacher in San Diego, California. At that time she also founded Baraka International Arts (which later became Tam Tam Mandingue USA), a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and fostering interest in multi-ethnic drum and dance.

Monette began her apprenticeship with Master Drummer Mamady Keita from Guinea, West Africa in 1996. After three years of intensive studies both in the U.S. and in Africa she became a certified teacher for Tam Tam Mandingue, Mr. Keita’s international school of percussion. In 1999, Baraka International Arts officially became Tam Tam Mandingue USA, the 11th branch of the school (and only the second location in the USA at that time). Since then, Monette has earned the TTM Diploma of Proficiency from Mr. Keita, a distinction reserved only for those who demonstrate the highest level of knowledge and skill in traditional Mandingue percussion, history, and culture. Currently she is one of only 6 persons in the world to have achieved this recognition.

From 2003-2012, as Vice President of Tam Tam Mandingue International, Monette dedicated her time and energy to organizing and unifying all the TTM schools/teachers from around the world. She formalized the organization’s structure, created a standardized criteria for the teacher certification process, and organized the annual TTM International Conferences. The systems she implemented are currently being utilized by TTM International to help insure that the history, traditions, and culture of the Mandingue will be preserved for generations to come.

As a professional musician for almost two decades, Monette has performed and recorded with many artists including Mamady Keita and his world-renowned group Sewa Kan. She has also performed with numerous bands/musicians, appeared on television shows including American Idol, and in 2011 formed her own band and wrote, produced, and recorded her first CD, Coup d Éclat.

In September 2014 She and her Board of Directors decided move forward under their own school name MO’RHYTHM School of Percussion, no longer a part of TTM Int’l.  The new School plans to broaden the scope of their classes and curriculum to include Steel Drum, Afro-Cuban & Afro-Brazilian drumming and much more in the 2015 season.

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