My name is Luke Rivard. I am a freelance percussionist, drummer, and educator transplanted from Milwaukee, WI to Minneapolis, MN. I started playing drums when I was 14 years old; immediately I began performing in rock and ska bands in high school, while studying with two of Milwaukee’s most notable drummers and teachers, Dave Schoepke and Dave Bayles. I decided to further my education at Lawrence University in Appleton WI, where I studied classical percussion, jazz drum set, and traditional drumming from Brazil, Cuba, and Ghana with Professors Dane Richeson and José Encarnacion.
While at Lawrence, I developed a love and curiosity for traditional Ewe drumming, dancing, and singing. This interest has led me to study privately under Nani Agbeli, current Director of West African Music, Dance, and Arts at CalArts, and travel to the Dagbe Cultural Institute in Kopeyia, Ghana in 2013 and 2016. During the later trip, I also began to study the gyil, a traditional 14 bar xylophone from the Dagara and Lobi tribes from the Northern Region, under the tutelage of Ba-ere Yotere, one of Ghana’s most notable gyil virtuosos.
I am currently performing with various bands that focus on writing, performing, and recording original music in the Midwest, including Porky’s Groove Machine and Caley Conway. I released my debut EP as a songwriter and producer, Riverbug, in the spring of 2016, and continue to write and arrange new songs and compositions.
As an educator and clinician, I have had the opportunity to work with a variety of schools, performing groups, and organizations in learning traditional Ewe drumming and dancing. I served as the director of Lawrence University’s Kinkaviwo Ensemble, a performance-based ensemble dedicating to performing and studying traditional Ewe music, from 2016-2017. A few of the groups and institutions I’ve conducted workshops and clinics for include Third Coast Percussion, Wisconsin Music Educators Association, the Lawrence Academy of Music, Appleton's Mile of Music, University School of Milwaukee, Les Paul Middle School, Grafton High School, Cedarburg High School, and many more.
I graduated from Lawrence University in 2015, and am currently continuing my private independent studies on drum set with Jordan Perlson in New York.