Sal Ferreras revives Drum Heat after seven-year absence from Vancouver

Sal Ferreras is a lot like celebrated PBS painter Bob Ross — no mistakes exist in either of their worlds, only happy accidents.

For Ferreras, that type of mindset is a borderline necessity ahead of his April 27 gig at the Vogue.

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A multi-disciplinary percussionist and de-facto conductor, Ferreras will be at the helm of more than 30 musicians. For some, they won’t even know one another or the complete repertoire in advance.

They’ll simply hit the stage armed with instinct and intuition alone.

“You could go to the wrong note, or you could go to the wrong combination of sounds, but it’s not tragic,” Ferreras told the Courier. “What’s important is that I’m asking them to step into a void that they never have before. I have no idea what will happen with them, but I have every confidence that this will be transformative.” 

For this edition of Drum Heat, which Ferresas first staged in 1986, he’s inviting a 20-member choir of youth under the age of 20 to perform alongside 12 other seasoned musicians Ferreras has gone to bat with in the past.

A celebration of world music and all things rhythmic, the gig will fuse sounds from the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia.

“The audience will see people who love to work together and they will have fun because we have a lot fun together on stage,” Ferreras. “They’ll be uplifted with some serious energy and very beautiful melodies.”

Thursday’s show represents a homecoming of sorts, given the gig’s seven-year absence from Vancouver. During that time, Ferreras busied himself with other music projects, not to mention his post as provost and vice president academic at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Busy has been a buzz word that’s followed Ferreras’ music career for more than three decades. Over that time he’s performed across Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. Few stones have been left unturned in that output, as he’s worked in dance, theatre, film, TV and radio.

That comes with the territory when you’re a B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame inductee, a recipient of the Mayor's Arts Award for Music and a contributor to both Juno and Grammy-award winning albums.

That success from playing is now being paid forward, as net proceeds from Drum Heat will go to Arts Umbrella programs that help bolster the creative juices in kids ranging in age from two to 19.

“With music, all you can do is give it away,” Ferreras said. “You’re sharing the music, you’re sharing a part of yourself, you’re sharing your art and connecting with other people. That’s what Arts Umbrella does every day.”   

Drum Heat kicks off at 8 p.m. on April 27, with tickets ranging in price between $20 and $30. Tickets are available online via






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