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Drum, Chavi, Drum!

Chavi knows she was born to drum, even though nobody in her Cuban-American neighborhood thinks girls should play the drums. The whole world is Chavi's instrument: she drums on paint cans, sofa arms, even on her mother’s cheeks. So, when she’s not picked to play on the school float for the festival on Miami’s Calle Ocho, she decides to do something about it!


This performance is based on excerpts from the book, Drum, Chavi, Drum! / ¡Toca, Chavi, Toca!  by Mayra L. Dole with illustration by Tonal. It has been adapted with original music and illustration for The Red Curtain Project.

Text copyright © 2003 by Mayra L.
Dole. Illustrations copyright © 2003 by Tonel. Permission arranged with Children's Book Press,an imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS Inc., New York, NY 10016. All rights reserved. Learn more at


Thresh and The Red Curtain Project are proud to partner with Lee & Low Books, a minority-owned multicultural children's book publisher based in New York, NY. Find Drum, Chavi, Drum! / ¡Toca, Chavi, Toca! and more on


Chavi's Tía Nini calls her a mariposita, an affectionate word meaning "little butterfly."

Tumbadoras, or conga drums, are Chavi's favorite percussion instrument.

Chavi wears a Zoro disguise, a masked hero character, to the Calle Ocho festival.

Chavi adds a felt sombrero, or hat, to complete her costume.

Chavi encounters her friends' grandparents in the park playing dominos and sipping theis cafecitos, or coffee.

Chavi's best friend Rosario dresses as Cuban-American singer, songwriter, and actress Gloria Estefan.

Chavi's girlfriends do the Mozambique dance, a style of Cuban music and dance, at the feastival.

Chavi's neighbors sell pastelitos, or cupcakes, at the Calle Ocho Festival.

Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho Festival

"The Calle Ocho festival is Miami’s biggest street party and the largest Latino festival in the nation. It delights over a million people a year. The fiesta brings Cubans together to celebrate our culture and welcome other Latinos and non-Latinos to our world. Visitors enjoy Latin American foods, Latino bands, liver performers, dancing and visual art displays. I chose the festival (and the parade that was once part of it) as the background for my story. Because it bursts with the salsa and alegría that characterize Miami’s Cuban culture."

— Mayra L. Dole, author, Drum, Chavi, Drum! / ¡Toca, Chavi, Toca! 

Collaborators (DCD)

Global Collaborators

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Edward Perez, Composer
Queens NY (USA)

Edward Perez is a composer, arranger, and bassist who began his career as a jazz bassist but quickly branched out to Latin-Jazz and traditional styles from Peru, Colombia, Brazil, and other parts of South America. After attending college in Boston, Edward enjoyed a two-year stint in Lima, Peru where he performed with the foremost Afro-Pervuian musicians including Grammy winners Eva Ayllón and Juan Medrano Cotito as well as venerated greats of the older generation such as Oscar Avilés and Julio “Chocolate” Algendones. He later returned to the US to establish a home base in New York and pursue his interests in modern jazz. Currently, Edward co-leads the Terraza Big Band, an 18 piece jazz group. Learn more here:

Rachel Más Davidson, Artist
New York City

Hello Friends! My name is Rachel Más Davidson.


I am a Cuban-American children's book illustrator represented by McIntosh & Otis. In Addition to illustrating picture books, for the past 12 years, I have shared my love of art with kiddos as both a public school educator and a private instructor. To learn more about me and my art, check out my website:

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Taína Lyons, Dancer
New York City

Taína is a San Pedro, California native who began her dance training at the San Pedro Ballet School at the age of four. Her professional dance training started at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, eventually being mentored by Debbie Allen herself. She graduated from New York University Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance and Minor in Spanish.  There she performed in guest works by Ronald K. Brown, Wayne McGregor, and Lar Lubovitch. In the Spring of 2019 she also had the pleasure of studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic at the HAMU school. She is currently an Artist in Residence with the Debbie Allen Dance Academy as well as an Apprentice with Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence.

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Marilyn Castillo, Singer-songwriter
New York City

Marilyn is a rising star in New York’s Latin alternative music scene, drawing audiences with her touching singing style and interpretation. Committed to enhancing the meaning of being a Mexican-American female singer-songwriter Marilyn is an advocate of the arts and the works of self-discovery, spirituality and peace. Her upcoming first album “Chicana en Nueva York” is a compilation of her own personal and musical experiences in the big apple where many different cultures assemble. In 2019 she was awarded as Latin Revelation in Premios Latinos Fama 5th edition with her first single “Todavía” released in October of 2018.


Learn more about Marilyn:

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Learn Interactive partnered with RCP on Drum, Chavi, Drum! They deliver industry-leading manager development programs focused on key transitions in any individual's career.

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