Iryna Butko – Ukraine

Producer. Singer. Drummer. It’s Never Too Late to Be a Rock Star Ideologist.

Passionate about people, heart-to-heart communication and management, for the last 20 years Iryna Butko has been dedicated to Marketing, PR and Production. However, despite the business life-style, music has always been the most important part of her world.

As a vocalist and co-founder of the BeTwins band, Iryna and her twin-sister Toma recorded and released their first album in 2014. In 2016 they became Yamaha E-Band Competition Winners in the Best Vocals category. Finally, in 2017 the girls tried their forces in the Hit Like A Girl Contest in the World Percussion category. This was the first time Iryna met a djembe.  

Driven by the inner fire, desired to express her passion to life, she began playing drums only 3.5 years ago. And in 2019 she joined HLAG Contest as a drum-set player. Many days, hours and happy minutes spent in the SkySticks Drum School in Kiev to work learn the best playing technique and sound.

“I strongly believe, that we all have an immense potential to be happy, to feel alive and to groove our personal world in the synergy with the Universe. Drumming gives us power and freedom, lightning our inner fire to become stronger and to make this world brighter,” she says.

Iryna credits Hit Like a Girl Contest with totally changing her life. This event helped put her on the wide and opened road to discovering herself. Drumming is the part of mystic soul therapy and mental care. It can guide ladies all over the world to their “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” power and beauty.

Nowadays Iryna is a member of Be Together Drum Circle. She continues to be a SkySticks Drum School student, as well.

Gata Pinaya – Bolivia

Drummer, educator and electronic engineer Adriana Graciela Pinaya Johannessen (Gata Pinaya) was born in La Paz, Bolivia. She is a Versatile drummer and plays many different styles, including rock, blues, Jazz, Metal, etc. She studied with master drummers from Bolivia, Chile (Pedro Barahona) and Brazil (Vera Figueredo) and also has degrees in Electronic Engineering (UPSA ) and Music (UPEA). 

She was a finalist and representative of Bolivia in the first version of the Hit Like a Girl 2012 contest in 2012 and she was invited to participate the Aruba Musicians Convention and the Andes Percussion Festival. She has played in many independent bands as well as projects with world-renowned musicians and organizations. Her Progressive Metal project, “Catharma,” recorded an album called “Catharsys” and participated in festivals throughout South America. 

Gata is currently the drummer of “Corporal Jigsore” with whom she has toured Europe and South America and, since 2017, she has been the percussionist for the jazz project “Ptrodixie.” In addition, she is the director of the “Campamento Gata Pinaya” Music Academy in La Paz— combining nearly 20 years of musical experience with 10 years of Holistic teaching in order to provide advanced musical training for new generations. 

These days, Gata is in the studio working on her solo project, which will be released in 2022. 

Cassandra Key – Australia

Cassandra Key is a drummer, drum tutor and also a founding member of the Sydney, Australia prog/post metal band Stare At The Clouds. She began playing drums at the age of 10 and has been fortunate to enjoy a wide range of playing experiences from concert bands, marching bands, orchestras, stage bands, rock bands and musicals. Cass has also been involved with private instruction and ensemble education in her home town of Orange in the NSW region.

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”.