Eastern Illinois University

A division of the
College of Arts & Humanities

Ritmos Unidos Ritmos Unidos

Ritmos Unidos

Concert Performance / Thursday, October 10 / 7:30 p.m.

Latin Music Master Class / Thursday, October 10 / 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.

Ritmos Unidos is:

Michael Spiro - congas, bata (iya), miscellaneous percussion

Known for his work in the Latin music field, Michael Spiro is an internationally recognized percussionist, recording artist, and educator. Michael is a seven-time Grammy nominee and has produced seminal recordings in the Latin music genre such as: “BataKetu”,  “Bata-Mbira”, “The Latin Tinge”, and “Grupo Ilu-Aña”. His performing and recording credits include an array of international artists, from David Byrne to Charlie Watts, from Latin music icons like Eddie Palmieri to such jazz luminaries as Ella Fitzgerald and McCoy Tyner. 

In 2011 he was appointed Associate Professor of Percussion at Indiana University, where he teaches Latin American music and percussion in both the percussion and jazz departments. 

Michael remains an extremely active performer and recording artist. In addition to his leadership role in Ritmos Unidos, he co-leads one of the only remaining charanga groups in the United States, “Orquesta La Moderna Tradicion”, and continues to hold the conga drum chair in the internationally acclaimed and 2011 Grammy nominated  “Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet”.

Mike Mixtacki - drumset, bata (itotele), pandeiro, marimba, miscellaneous percussion, lead and background vocals

Michael Mixtacki teaches percussion and directs the Latin Jazz Ensemble at Northern Illinois University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master’s degree in percussion performance from Indiana University.

In addition to performing with Ritmos Unidos He can be heard as a percussionist on the CD Que Sorpresa! with The Latin Jazz Collective (director, Michael Spiro) and a drum set artist on the self-titled CD Nate Johnson and the Keepers.

Michael has been featured at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and has shared the stage with many internationally renowned performers and educators.

Michael is an artist/endorser of Latin Percussion (LP) instruments.

Joe Galvin - steel pan, bata (okonkolo), chekere, miscellaneous percussion, lead and background vocals, cavaquinho, and violin

Joe received his bachelor's degree in "Performance of Percussion Instruments from Diverse Cultures" from Indiana University and his Master’s degree in percussion from the IU Jacobs School of Music. He is currently faculty for the IU Contemporary Dance Department as the music director, accompanist, and lecturer.  At this time Joe is also returning to the Jacobs School of Music in pursuit of a Doctoral degree.

Along with his involvement in Ritmos Unidos, Joe does freelance steelpan performances in the Midwest and directs a professional steelpan ensemble called Steel Panache that performs in the Bloomington area.  You can hear him on the earlier recording “Orì: That Voice Inside” released in 2007. 

Joe is endorsed by Panyard Inc. steelpans and plays on Steve Lawrie built Panyard Inc. 26” lead pans.

Jamaal Baptiste - piano and keyboards

Jamaal Baptiste is currently an undergraduate in the jazz studies program at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He came to the US from his home in Aruba in 2011. In addition to his keyboard duties in Ritmos Unidos, Jamaal's responsibilities include turning the mother out and, possibly, putting a little heat under it.

Pat Harbison - trumpet and flugelhorn

Patrick Harbison's many recordings as a jazz trumpeter include a 1999 solo debut, After All. In addition to appearances as leader, his recording credits include the PsychoAcoustic Orchestra, the Blue Wisp Big Band, and David Baker's 21st Century Bebop Band.

Mr. Harbison is author of many articles on jazz and trumpet, as well as several books, including Technical Studies for the Modern Trumpet and Twenty Authentic Bebop Solos (Aebersold).

He is an active jazz clinician and has been a faculty member of Jamey Aebersold's Summer Jazz Workshops since 1976. Mr. Harbison is a Selmer/Bach Artist and a former faculty member of University of Cincinnati.

Nate Johnson - tenor and soprano saxophones, background vocals

Nate Johnson has been playing Saxophone and leading bands since the late 1980s. He attended the IU School of Music and William Paterson College, studying under David Baker, Steve Wilson, Frank Glover and Rufus Reid. Nate is comfortable performing in a wide range of musical settings, having extensive experience in Blues, R&B, Jazz, Trad, Rock, C&W, Pops Orchestras and Brass Bands in addition to the diverse Latin American and Caribbean styles that Ritmos Unidos bring to their performances. Nate has recently
released a debut EP under his own name, Nate Johnson & the Keepers, and is featured on recent album releases by Ruthie Allen Lincoln and Better Bidness Bureau. Upcoming releases featuring Nate will include The Gyrogenics Ensemble, Better Bidness Bureau, and Jeff Cannon. Likes computers, soccer, long walks outdoors, and horses too.

Joel Tucker - electric and acoustic guitar

Joel Tucker lives in Indianapolis, IN, where he keeps himself busy as a jazz guitarist and private instructor.  He studied at Indiana University and performed with the Latin Jazz Collective under the direction of Michael Spiro. Joel has performed in the US and abroad with a number of different groups and is currently a member of Ritmos Unidos, the Joel Michael Trio, and various solo projects.

Jeremy Allen - bass guitar and string bass

Jeremy Allen plays double bass and bass guitar. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana and teaches in the jazz studies department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. ´╗┐He has performed with Fred Hersch, David Liebman, Kenny Wheeler, Bob Brookmeyer, Randy Brecker, Tim Hagans, Eric Alexander, Jerry Bergonzi, Rich Perry, George Garzone, Corey Christiansen, Chuchito Valdez, and Sylvia McNair.

As a recording artist, Mr. Allen can be heard on releases by Bob Brookmeyer and Kenny Wheeler, the Luke Gillespie Trio, the AHA! Quintet, the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra, Sara Caswell, the (x)tet, the Dave Lisik Jazz Orchestra, the afrojazz ensemble Sankofa, the quartet Chelsea Square, and many others. He has recorded for the labels Artists House Music, Cadence Records, and Jazz Compass, and recently founded his own label, Watercourse Records, for the release of his own music and that of the ensembles with which he is involved.

Times and prices


10/10 | 2:00 pm
10/10 | 7:30 pm

Ticket Prices

Performance Location

Dvorak Concert Hall