Announcing the 2022 Zultan Emerging Talents Award Recipients


In order to support the many talented, hard working young drummers in our community, Zultan Cymbals and Hit Like A Girl created the Emerging Talents Award. The Award was first launched in 2021 and we are proud to introduce the class of 2022: Valentina, Zuzu, Ieva, and Angelina.

The Zultan Emerging Talents Award is intended to reward outstanding achievement and provide inclusion for newcomers to the global drumming community while promoting the benefits of gender variety within the music industry.

Out of 154 entries in the under 18 age groups, these 4 were chosen to represent this year’s Emerging Talents. The recipients will be featured on Zultan’s and Hit Like A Girl’s social channels and websites to expand their visibility and help support their musical development. Each drummer will also receive a brand new set of Zultan Impulz Series Cymbals.


At just 7-years old, Valentina Amelia Montalván Pérez is our youngest ZET Award recipient. She lives in Madrid, Spain, started drumming at age five and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being a fan of Michael Jackson and Queen, Valentina loves listening to all kinds of music— Rock, Pop, Salsa and many more.

Valentina hopes to one day become a professional drummer and have her own band. Currently, however, the young drummer is focused on practicing and enjoying each step of her journey.


10-year old Zeynep Gerelioglu (aka Zuzu) has played drums for three years. 2022 was her second year in the HLAG Contest.

“People get shocked when they first see me playing drums," comments Zuzu. “But I believe I can change this. My music teachers and I invite younger students to my little shows at school and I make small talks in classrooms to inform the students about drums and being a drummer. I like playing drums and being on stage. I really like playing in front of an audience.”


Fourteen-year-old Ieva Opola comes from the 20,000 souls city of Salaspils, located about 20 km from the capital city of Latvia: Riga. She has been playing the drums for six years and – of course – truly loves it.

“I can’t imagine life without music,” Ieva explains. “I love the rhythm of the drums and loud music! If I’m in a bad mood, I play the drums to improve it.”



Angelina Bukata, from West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, is 16-years old and has been playing the drums since she was eight. Some of her biggest influences are Nicko McBrain, Jay Weinberg, Vinny Mauro and Paulina Villarreal.

This year Angel became the drummer for the band Exigent. “I can’t wait for everyone to hear our music,” she says. “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to share my passion with the world and touch as many people as I can.”



Over the past month we've featured 42 drummers on the @hitlikeagirlcontest Facebook and Instagram pages. A cross-section of experienced professionals and rising stars from a wide range of genres and nearly 2 dozen countries around the world, these women represent the "State-Of-The-Art" in modern drumming. And, although they are only a fraction of the female drumming community, this group also represents its rapid growth as well as the impact it will have on the future of drumming.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this poster.

Click here to download a list of the drummers and their Instagram tags.



Drum industry organizations Hit Like A Girl and the Percussion Marketing Council ( have teamed up to create Drumming Connects Us, a community-based outreach program that combines the universal nature of rhythm with the global desire of people to play drums and connect with each other. Drumming Connects Us will facilitate in-person drumming events as well as online connections for existing and new drummers of all ages and interests. Please visit to learn more.

Click here to view a playlist of tutorial videos on micing, tuning and recording drums. Created by leading sound engineers and presented by

HLAG 2022 is presented by


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Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors— and the many volunteers who provide their time, energy and expertise without compensation or complaint— participation in the Hit Like A Girl contest has always been free of charge. However, in order to continue this policy as well as the growth of the program, we ask that those who are able to contribute financially to please do so. Every donation will be used appropriately and appreciated greatly no matter the size. Please click here to make a donation. Hit Like A Girl, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.