Alex Acuña

  (Redirected from Alex Acuna)

Alejandro Neciosup Acuña (born December 12, 1944), known professionally as Alex Acuña, is a Peruvian-American drummer and percussionist.[1]

Alex Acuña
Acuña in 2009
Acuña in 2009
Background information
Birth nameAlejandro Neciosup Acuña
Born (1944-12-12) December 12, 1944 (age 75)
Pativilca, Barranca, Peru
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, Afro-Cuban jazz, pop
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Associated actsWeather Report, Koinonia


Born in Pativilca, Peru, Acuña played in local bands from the age of ten, and moved to Lima as a teenager. At the age of eighteen he joined the band of Perez Prado, and in 1965 he moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1974 Acuña moved to Las Vegas, working with artists such as Elvis Presley and Diana Ross, and the following year he joined the jazz-fusion group Weather Report, appearing on the albums Black Market and Heavy Weather. Acuña left Weather Report in 1978, and became a session musician in California, recording and playing live with (amongst many others) Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Chick Corea, Whitney Houston, Plácido Domingo, former Weather Report bandmates Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Beck, Roberta Flack, U2, Al Jarreau and Marcos Witt. He can be found on recordings by musicians as culturally diverse as Lee Ritenour, Johnny Clegg, Roy Orbison, YellowJackets, Lalo Schifrin, Milton Nascimento, Don Grusin, Dave Grusin, The Brecker Brothers, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito d'Rivera, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Brad Mehldau, BoDeans, Paco de Lucia, John Patitucci, Sadao Watanabe, Lyle Mays, Diana Ross, Sérgio Mendes, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne, Bette Midler, Jennifer Nettles, Christina Aguilera, Seal and Chris Botti.

In the 1980s Acuña also recorded and toured with the Christian jazz band Koinonia, which featured session musicians Abraham Laboriel, Justo Almario, Hadley Hockensmith, Harlan Rogers, and Bill Maxwell. The Winans, Andraé Crouch, Madonna, He played on Willy DeVille's Crow Jane Alley album and in 1987 he teamed up with Elvis Presley's TCB Band for the Roy Orbison TV special "A Black and White Night". He played percussion on Blondie's number one hit "The Tide Is High" and also recorded more than 300 movies under the direction of Lalo Schifrin, Dave Grusin, Michel Legrand, Bill Conti, James Horner, James Newton Howard, John Williams, Alan Silvestri, Michael Giacchino, Christopher Beck, Maurice Jarre, Steve Jablonsky, John Powell and Heitor Pereira. In 1987, Acuña was summoned back to Perú by producer Ricardo Ghibellini to be the musical producer of Los Hijos del Sol, a supergroup of Peruvian prodigies designed to promote Peruvian music worldwide.

He has also worked as an educator at University of California, Los Angeles, and Berklee College of Music. LAMA, Musicians Institute, USC, CSUN.

Selected discographyEdit

Equipment and instrumentsEdit

Gon Bops Percussion[2]

  • Alex Acuna Special Edition Congas
  • Alex Acuna Signature Timbales
  • Alex Acuna Special Edition Cajon
  • Alex Acuna Signature Cajon
  • Alex Acuna Special Edition Bongos
  • Alex Acuna Bells

Acuna is known to have played drums, congas, bongos, timbales, bata, pandeiro, berimbau, cowbell, guiro, timpani, shaker, triangle, cowbell, cymbals, bombo, cajon, wood block, udu, tabla, caxixi, African drums, shekere, sleigh bells, snare drum, talking drum, bells, djembe, castanets, tamborim and darbuka.[3]


  • Best Latin/Brazilian Percussionist, Modern Drummer's Readers Poll.


  1. ^ Collins, Catherine; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). "Acuña, Alex". In Barry Kernfeld (ed.). The new Grove dictionary of jazz (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. pp. 11–12. ISBN 1561592846.
  2. ^ "Alex Acuna - Gon Bops".
  3. ^ "Alex Acuña - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.

External linksEdit