Jason Mraz Djembe Player, Toca Rivera
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Jason Mraz is one of the hottest names in music. The singer songwriter, who grew up in Mechanicsville, Virginia, took his musical cues as a teenager from Dave Matthews Band, the Agents of Good Roots and musical theater. He moved to New York after high school graduation to matriculate at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, but left after a year.
Mraz began playing the guitar, but the quality of his voice bears testament to his training as a vocalist; he is known for his broad and unmistakable tenor. Mraz began busking in New York, but later moved home to Virginia, before setting out for the opposite coast.
After settling in San Diego in 1999, drawn to the singer-songwriter scene, Mraz began playing at local coffee houses, like Java Joe's. He signed on for a weekly residency at the hot spot, notorious for launching huge stars, like Jewel, to fame. At Java Joe's, Mraz met his future percussionist, Noel "Toca" Rivera. Mraz calls Toca Rivera a "vocutionist," or a percussionist who also sings.
Toca Rivera, his brother, and Mraz originally formed a band with two guitars and Rivera on the djembe drum, but over time, Rivera's brother left the band. They then created a duet, with Mraz on guitar and Rivera on djembe.
Within a few years, Mraz and Rivera were signed to Elektra and released Mraz's first album, Waiting for My Rocket to Come, which featured their first top twenty single, "The Remedy (I Don’t Worry)." Three years later, after signing with Atlantic Records, they released Mr. A-Z, which debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 album chart.
The most popular album by far has been Mraz's most recent studio album, entitled We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. Thanks in large part to "I'm Yours," the album's lead single, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 200. Mraz and Rivera have now been playing together for seven years.
"I'm Yours" has been one of the most popular songs on the charts in the last year, and helped to make Jason Mraz a household name. Topping the charts in America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, "I'm Yours" was certified gold in 2008 by the RIAA.
Toca Rivera swears by Meinl instruments. In the video to the right, of the duo playing their hit single, "I'm Yours," Toca plays a Meinl Floatune Series Wood Djembe. The Meinl Floatune Series Wood Djembe is a high quality djembe, made of top notch components. Based on traditional West African djembes, this hand drum creates sharp sounds, with crisp tones produced by slapping the center of the drum head. Based on the size of the drum, the pitch can vary, but all Meinl Floatune Series Wood Djembes are made with a rubber wood body and goat skin drum heads. The drum can be tuned easily, and Meinl includes tune up oil and an L-shaped tuning key with the purchase. The drum is available in three colors: African Brown, Gold Amber Sunburst, and Natural.