Michaelle Goerlitz has been playing drums and percussion since she was eight years old. After attending college in the Midwest, she moved to San Francisco in 1980 to continue her studies, which have led to exploration of Brazilian, Afro Cuban, Venezuelan, Peruvian and Middle Eastern rhythms (plus American idioms jazz, R & B & funk). She was a founding member of two renowned & long-term projects, the Blazing Redheads and Wild Mango. Both groups blended many different styles which showcased Michaelle's versatile percussive skills.
Some of the many instruments she proficiently plays are: congas, bongo, timbales, shekere, cajon, drumset, udu, bata, pandeiro, tamborim, repinique, zabumba, berimbau, surdo, cuica, dumbek and many other "auxiliaries", i.e. shakers, triangle, etc.
Among the teachers she is proud and honored to have studied with are: Jorge Alabe, Carolyn Brandy, Pedro Rosales, John Santos, Michael Spiro, Elizabeth Sayre, Claudio Bebbiano, Chalo Eduardo, Eric Rangel, Celso Alberti, Mingo Lewis and Gibby Ross. Each summer she goes to California Brazil Camp to study with some of the finest percussionists from Brazil, and has also traveled to Brazil and Cuba for further studies.
In addition to playing in groups and recording, she is also a sought-after teacher in the Bay Area. She gives private and group lessons to kids, youth and adults on a variety of instruments and styles. Since 2004, she has been the lead percussion teacher in the afterschool program at the San Francisco School, and has been teaching ongoing classes for adults in Brazilian percussion. She has the distinction of being the first female teacher at California Brazil Camp in 2004, and in 2007 was named a Rising Star in Downbeat magazine.
Michaelle has played, recorded and toured with the following people and bands. Their styles encompass Latin jazz, Brazilian, Middle Eastern, Afro-Peruvian, Broadway, singer-songwriter, and "new" music, to name a few:
Mark Levine, Wayne Wallace, Houston Pearson, Denise Perrier, Joan Jeanrenaud, Montclair Women's Big Band, Ojala!, Sylvia Harold, rhiannon, Jami Sieber, Barbara Higbie, Wild Mango, Falso Baiano, the Blazing Redheads, Tret Fure, Soul Sauce, Phil Thompson, Kat Parra, the Pickpocket Ensemble, Samba Rio, Novo Tempo, Bossa 5-0, Tammy Hall, Wendy Waller, Splatter Trio, Blame Sally, Holly Near, Jennifer Berezan, Masha Campagne, John Worley, Valerie Pettiford, Mimi Fox, Fred Randolph, Venezuelan Music Project, Erika Luckett, Lichi Fuentes, Fasmania Big Band, Maria Volonte, Proyecto Lando, the VNote Ensemble and Gina Breedlove.