Mona Tavakoli is a Los Angeles-based drummer, singer and performer who believes in making music that unites, elevates and connects. While Mona is equally comfortable performing as a drummer and a percussionist, she is especially known for adapting the cajón to unexpected genres such as rock and pop. She began playing the Peruvian percussion instrument as a college student taking a flamenco dance class. She’s since designed a signature instrument called The MT Box in collaboration with Latin Percussion.
Mona started playing drums at age 11 and blossomed into a tenor drum star in her High School marching band. She began her professional musical career in 1999 at UCLA as a founding member of Raining Jane, an all-female rock band. Raining Jane co-wrote and recorded YES! (Atlantic Records) with Jason Mraz. More recently Raining Jane wrote and recorded on Mraz’s 2020 release “Look For the Good”. Mona has been touring internationally with Mraz as a duo and with Raining Jane since 2010. She toured worldwide on Mraz’s 2012 album, Love is a Four Letter Word, and have performed together as a duo on programs such as The Today Show, The David Letterman Show, Ellen, Dancing with the Stars, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. As the Duo Decibel System, Mona (percussion) and Mraz (guitar/vocals) have performed in Antarctica in support of climate change awareness and they were proud to help honor Ellen Degeneres as she received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at The Kennedy Center.
Mona has appeared on Sesame Street playing with Sara Bareilles and A&E’s Private Sessions with Pat Benatar. She has been the featured percussionist with the Pasadena Muse/ique orchestra (led by Maestra Rachel Worby), and played with musicians such as International pop legend Ebi, Andy Grammer, Colbie Caillat, BORNS, Tristan Prettyman and Willy Porter.
In 2017 Mona travelled to Africa on behalf of the U.S. State Department as a cultural diplomat alongside Chaska Potter and Natalia Zukerman. As the Northern Lights trio they visited Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi for concerts and workshop facilitation focusing on women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment.
Mona believes that music can inspire and connect people to a larger purpose. She is a co-founder and co-director of the Rock n’ Roll Camp For Girls Los Angeles, a nonprofit that encourages girls to find their voices through music during an intensive, weeklong summer day camp. Mona also promotes music education by hosting rhythm workshops at elementary schools and colleges around the country.
Mona has been featured on the cover of DRUM! Magazine and in Tom Tom Magazine, judged and hosted the Hit Like A Girl drum contest and awards show and is the recipient of the Women International Music Network’s 2016 She Rocks awards “Inspire Award” for her work with the Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls.
When she’s not banging on drums or corralling day campers, she’s listening to Pema Chodron audio books or making creative collages in her MT ART FOREVER Etsy shop.
Mona endorses DW Drums and Hardware, Latin Percussion, Remo Percussion, Roland Electronic Percussion, Sabian Cymbals and Vater Percussion.