“Pereira played the role of rhythmic guardian angel. His magical hands gliding over the rhythms of five continents with graceful distinction” –
In concert with David Hirschfelder. Herald-Sun


About Ray

Ray has a unique and innovative style of playing, drawing upon West African, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and jazz drumming styles. As well as his own projects, Ray has worked in a variety of contexts with jazz virtuosos (Arthur Blyth, Paul Grabowsky), rock legends (Chubby Checker & Australia’s Paul Kelly), opera singers (David Hobson) and traditional musicians from Sri Lanka and West Africa and Cuba. Ray’s exciting virtuosic performances have stunned audiences around the world and his subtle recordings have delighted many…..


Review of the new self-titled album from Way Out West in the New York City Jazz Record April 2017, p.18.

Way Out West is a long-standing Melbourne- based outfit led by trumpeter Peter Knight that has experimented with Asian and West-African rhythms and instruments to create a sort of “world-beat” jazz style characterized by trance-inducing grooves propelled by layered hand-drums and open-ended blowing. The group’s eponymously titled release is its fourth in a dozen years, including group veterans Paul Williamson (saxophone), Howard Cairns (bass) and Ray Pereira (percussion), plus Lucas Michailidis (guitar), Rajiv Jayaweera (drums) and Sydney-sider Satsuki Odamura (koto/bass koto), whose distinctive sonic signature separates this album from earlier projects. Pereira’s exuberant playing transforms straightforward themes and harmonies into alpha- wave-inducing experiences, especially when he duets with fellow “AfroLankan” (their term) drummer Kanchana Karunaratna on “Anthony Blaise”.


Review of Way Out West performance, SMH Aug 2017

“Pereira and drummer James McLean enjoyed a thrilling dialogue on Knight’s Anthony Blaise, the former generating call-and-response motifs between his popping djembe and deeper congas” (read full review here)


As a teacher of African and Afro Cuban drumming and percussion, and now his new concept, Ray’s journey has covered continents and decades.

Ray is a current and practicing musician who chooses to expand his repertoire and knowledge by continuing to study and play with the best musicians in the world.
Since traveling to New York in the 80’s Ray has studied in Cuba, Ghana ,Ivory Coast and Sri Lanka. He travels regularly to Ghana and Sri Lanka for performance and study.


Ray has run workshops in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth and Regional Centres around Australia.
These include workshops and performances at Festivals, Schools and Universities throughout Australia.

Ray has been involved as a coordinator and teacher of the over the past 2 decades and is currently coordinator and founder of Afrolankan Drumming which has been running study tours to Sri Lanka since 2013.

Guest Lecturer at..

Monash University, Victorian College of The Arts, Edith Cowan University, Southern Cross University Lismore campus, Lismore College of Performing Arts, University of Adelaide Performing Arts campus. Queensland Conservatorium – Griffith University campus and Mackay campus.
Currently teaching at Footscray Primary, Kororoit Creek Primary and Derrimut South.

African Drumming classes – Melbourne:

Ray likes to think of himself as a musician and a performer… but… his students also know him as a passionate teacher !

Ray runs regular African Drumming lessons across three sites in Melbourne: Fitzroy, Footscray and Brunswick.

Hundreds of students (beginners, intermediates, advanced, local, international, adults and kids) have benefited from Ray’s ability to deliver complex threads of traditional rhythms with a teaching style that makes them accessible and achievable.


Performances tours & recordings with Australian artists
Cristine Anu
Joe Camilleri
Kate Ceberano
Doug De Vries
Tommy Emmanuel
Renee Geyer
Paul Grabowsky
Ross Hannaford
David Hirschfelder
Ruby Hunter
Vince Jones
Paul Kelly
Barney Mcall
Rick Price
James Reyne
Archie Roach
Mondo Rock
Steve Tallis
Ross Wilson
Yothu Yindi
Performances and tours with International artists
Hugh Masekela
Charles and Eddie
Arthur Blyth
Nii Tettey Tetteh
The Kusun Ensemble
Desree (TV)
Isaac Hayes (TV)
Bobby Previt
Ricky Martin (TV)
Chubby Checker (TV)
Recordings with International artists
Arthur Blythe (with Tibetan Dixie) Nii Tettey Tetteh
The Kusun Ensemble
The Africa Boys


Recent Tours
Way Out West
2008 – Canada, Italy, japan, australia
2009 – Japan, Korea, Australia
2010 – Australia
2011 – Chile, UK, Norway,Denmark


(Ray: 0403 198 223)

Ray’s current CV: Ray Pereira Career Summary 2018


To find out more about African Drumming in Melbourne, Please get in touch.


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