Aine Fujioka – Japan

Drummer • Yoga instructor • founder of “Beats de Roots” • Committee Member of Women In Music Japan • Organiser of “Okaeri Projekt”

Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Aine Fujioka moved to the United States at the age of nineteen to study drums and jazz composition at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since her graduation, she has been actively playing worldwide.

With her well-known steady and deep groove, Aine goes across different genres and continents.

She is one of the very few Japanese or female drummers who played regularly on the legendary Boston music scene. As a long-time member of the Boston-based indie rock band The Grownup Noise, she went on US tours and performed at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas. She has played with soul vocalist Iyeoka whom she now tours with worldwide since 2008 until before the corona pandemic.

After moving to New York in 2011, Aine quickly became one of the most popular drummers on the city’s Blues scene. There she has played with Grammy Winners and nominees such as Bill Sims Jr. and Vasti Jackson.

Since 2015, her music career continues in Berlin, where she re-gains and re-assures her passion and love for music. Her current projects include Tellavision, Carlos Dalelane Band, and Ben Barritt, among other singer-songwriters.

Aine is also actively engaging in developing workshops `Beats de Roots´ for artists to develop physical and mental strength, and American NPO Women in Music Japan to support women in the music industry as a communication committee chair.

T-shirt: Jacquard@aureliapaumelle
Photo: @Louisfernandezphotography

Vera Figueiredo – Brazil

“From behind the drum set, Vera Figueiredo takes her audience from the Brazilian rainforest into the clubs and concert halls of the world. Jaws dropped at her unique presence, approach, and distinctive licks.” (T. Bruce Wittet, Modern Drummer Magazine).

Nominated by Rhythm Magazine as the “Queen of Samba”, Vera has been a leading ambassador for Brazilian Music by performing at festivals, clinics and masterclasses around the world— appearing at Percfest Memorial Naco, Drum Ladies Fest and Percussive Art Society (Italy), Frankfurt Musik Messe (Germany), The Ultimate Drummers Weekend (Australia), Mendoza International Drum Fest (Argentina), PercuSonidos Festival Internacional de Percusiones (Mexico), AGP Drum Event (Luxembourg), Days of Percussion (Sweden), Drum Fest – Primer Festival Internacional de Batería y Percusión (Chile), Cape Breton International Drum Fest and KOSA (Canada) and PASIC (USA) as well as Brazilian festivals including PAS, Salão da Bateria, I Encontro Percussivo REC-PEC, Girls On Drums and the recents Sesc Brasil’s Instrumental with her Trio, PercuFest Latinoamérica and Aquiles Priester Drum Festival.

In 1990, Vera founded the IBVF – Instituto de Bateria Vera Figueiredo, which became one of the most important drum and percussion schools in Brazil. A couple of years later, Vera and IBVF created one of the world’s most remarkable drum and percussion festivals: Batuka! Brasil. Held in São Paulo city since 1996, Batuka! Brasil brings together the top drummers on the planet and has had fifteen festivals and two album releases. Vera’s popular play-along book Vera Cruz Island – Brazilian Rhythms for Drumset was released by Hudson Music.

She endorses Mapex Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drumsticks, Evans Drumheads, Audix Microphones, Xtreme Ears, Baffles Drums and Gope Brazilian Percussion. 

Deborah “Debby” Oladipupo – Nigeria

Oladipupo “Debby” Deborah is the Hit Like A Girl Diplomat for Nigeria. “Deekit”, as she is fondly called, is a drummer who is known for her strength and smile behind the drums. A graduate of the polytechnic Ibadan Ibadan, she never relents in the pursuit of knowledge and skill with respect to the music profession and life general.

Debby has played alongside different musicians in Nigeria and shared stages with great artists. She is currently working to establish drum therapy as a renowned and standard practice in Nigeria.

Cintia Concia – Latin America

Cintia Concia is a songwriter, activist, and drummer of the independent band “Rockwell Road”. Born in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina but now living in Mexico, she has visited more than 1000 schools in Latin America with her NGO “Volver a Soñar” using music to help girls and boys in vulnerable situations.

In 2019, Cintia founded the “Ella Suena” (“She Dreams”) movement to peacefully promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. More than 200 female musicians from all over the world have been able to participate in this program.

She is currently developing the program “Creating Roads” to give musical education to low-income people using household utensils to initiate them into percussion.

Paula Perrella – Latin America

Paula Perrella is an Argentinian drummer, percussionist, composer and teacher. Her dance groove, versatility and minimalist set-up have become her trademark and opened doors for her as a session drummer with bands and musicians of many styles.

Paula studied with top Argentinian drummer Andrea Álvarez among others. She has played in Mexico and throughout Central and South America and is currently recording her first solo album. She teaches many women around the world both online and in person.

Maria la Marimbera – Latin America

Maria La Marimbera is a Colombian percussionist, researcher, teacher and composer with training in Latin percussion, traditional percussion and academic percussion. She studied symphonic and contemporary percussion at the Conservatory of the National University of Colombia and has a Master’s degree in Colombian music from the El Bosque University.

She has also studied independently with different teachers and has performed in a variety of musical projects. Maria has dedicated herself to studying and reflecting on the social experience of women instrumentalists and gender musicology is her line of research. She currently works as a professor of the Latin Percussion department at Universidad el Bosque and directs her solo project “María la Marimbera”.

Cana dela Cruz – Southeast Asia

Cana Dela Cruz is an independent drummer and a singer-songwriter from the Philippines. Driven by her passion for music, she joined the international contest “Hit Like A Girl” this year where she won under the >18 category for the Southeast Asia regionals.

As an artist, one of her goals is to be a part of a growing community of drummers where she can inspire others that no age, nationality or any cultural background could stop someone from being heard.

Mariya Tikhonov – France

When I was a young girl, I wanted to play the drums but they seemed to be reserved solely for men. Every concert I watched I saw a man on drums and every band I listened to I heard a man on drums. Of course there were a handful of female drummers at the time but not very many and they were not very visible. At least they were not very visible to me.

Because I didn’t see any women playing drums, it took a long time for me to realize that this was something I could do. As a teenager I told myself that if I would see even one example of woman who played the drums and built a career in music, I could overcome my doubts and play the instrument I longed to play. By age 17 the urge to play was so strong I decided to become a drummer— even if it wasn’t for girls. This revelation was like finding the key to unlock my heart.

This was also when the phrase “Hit like a girl.” took on a whole new meaning. For me it meant to hit your way, hit hard, hit with confidence because we girls have what it takes to play the drums and anything else we choose to do.

I took lessons, practiced and, eventually, I graduated from the music conservatory in Agen, France. During the same period I had the good fortune to play with several bands, including an electro-pop band in Europe, an acid-jazz group in Russia and a local rock band in Morocco. Earlier this year I won 3rd place in the French section of the Hit Like A Girl contest and I am now working with a variety of pop, funk and hip-hop bands here in France.

Today the world is changing. We see more and more women on stages and records and videos. Being an Ambassador of Hit Like a Girl gives me an opportunity to highlight female drummers for other girls and women who want to play drums but who may be hesitant like I was. I am so excited to be part of this change.

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Marcy Kimanzi – Kenya

Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Marcy Kimanzi was a finalist in Hit Like A Girl X and was the first African to win an award in the contest. She has performed with Esther Wahome, a Kenyan gospel artist, Mufasa the Poet, the all-female percussion group Motra Music and the Great African Caravan, which features artists from different parts of the world. She currently teaches drums while working as a freelance drummer and percussionist.

Marcy is also the founder of AFEDAPE (African FEmale Drummers And PErcussionists) which is a community that seeks to inspire and empower African girls and women to step into situations that have traditionally been limited for women.

Salma Mahmoud – Sudan

Salma Fadlalla Omar Mahmoud a is a percussionist, facilitator and educator from Sudan. She is currently studying music and live audio engineering. Salma co-founded Drum Circle Sudan with Ahmed Homaida to spread drumming culture. She and Ahmed are also working to create an educational video series about African instrument building (funded by Music in Africa Foundation and due out later this year).