“I had really built up my week in the Finca in my imagination and amazingly what I found actually exceeded what I’d dreamt. The place is quiet and beautiful: I’d forgotten there were that many stars in the sky. A week spent with lovely people doing something I love… I felt at home the moment I arrived, largely because of Dave and Vicky, who are not only talented teachers and inspiring musicians but great people too. “
As musicians specialising in percussion-based music – who have lived most of our lives in the London metropolis – we dreamt for years of having a beautiful space where people could come and play in nature without worrying about disturbing anyone. A place where you felt a sense of escape and where you could focus, learn and relax. Then Finca Ara Oko came along.
We are passionate about the power of creativity to improve people’s lives. Building on Bombo Production, a community arts organisation based in London, Finca Ará Oko offers creative retreats away from the complex world where guests can immerse themselves in classes, good company and nature.
David started as a Jazz musician playing drums and percussion with Django Bates, Tim Whitehead, Chucho Merchan’s Macondo, Loose Tubes, and Dudu Pukwana. He then developed an interest in Latin music which led to being a founder member of British Salsa bands Valdez, El Sonido De Londres, La Clave and Roberto Pla’s Latin Ensemble. From 1988-1990 he spent time in the U.S. in New York and Miami, working with Daniel Santos, Orlando Contreras and La Sensacion with El Niño Jesus and Eddie Guagua Rivera.
David has backed many artists such as Omara Portuondo and Cachaito from the Buena Vista Social Club, Bebo Valdez, Slim Gailard, Carlos ‘Patato’ Valdez, Daniel Ponce, Papaito, Henry Fiol, Tito Allen, Adalberto Santiago, Tito Nieves, Maelo Ruiz, Marvin Santiago, Cano Estremera and Jimmy Bosch.
He has recorded with Jacob Collier, Paul McCartney, Vic Goddard, Tindersticks, Slim Gailard, Snowboy and the Latin Section (8 albums), Alex Wilson (4 albums including co-producing ‘Anglo Cubano’ recorded in Cuba), Cubanismo, Alfredo Rodriguez (both also recorded in Cuba), Cheikh Lo, and Afro Cubism.
David has been playing Cuban folkloric drumming in both performance and ritual contexts for twenty-five years. He is a sworn ritual batá drummer who has played alongside many of the most respected elders of the tradition. Over the last ten years, he has dedicated time to sharing his knowledge. He has experience of teaching individually, in groups and at university level.
Vicky Jassey is a founder and artistic director of Bombo Productions, supporting Afro-Cuban music in the U.K. since 2007. She is also a scholar, musician and educator. She holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Cardiff.
University and completed her Masters in Performance at SOAS, University of London. Vicky worked as an independent researcher at Florida International University, where she completed an oral history project on Miami ritual batá drummers called The Bearers of Sacred Sound.
Vicky specialises in Afro-Cuban folkloric music and is a co-director, lead singer and percussionist in Coro de Clave – Cuban Harmony Choir in the UK and Spain and Orchestra Bombo. She is also the director of Moving Voices UK, an organisation that provides support and group singing for female survivors of human trafficking. She is a ritual singer for Tambor de Fundatmento, Güiro and Cajon de Muerto and has performed with Geraldo y Sus Amigos, Dilanga, Meta Meta, Edun Ara and Rumba Oricha.
“If you’re considering going to Spain to study with Vicky Jassey and David Pattman, then stop thinking about it and go book ASAP!! It will be a top decision! To say it’s a treat is an understatement… We got pampered from beginning to end… Vicky and Dave create such an encouraging and enriching learning environment (we learned so much!)”