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Markus Schwartz

Born in Copenhagen Denmark, Grammy-nominated percussionist, recording artist and educator Markus Schwartz has devoted more than twenty-five years to learning the wealth and complexity of traditional Haitian religious music. Moving in and out of Haiti since the early 1990s, Markus followed the lead of Haitian percussionists on pilgrimages into the countryside to learn the intricate and powerful drumming styles of the various lakou—historic religious compounds—such as Badjo, Soukri and Souvenance.

Settling in Brooklyn in the late 1990's, Markus became a sought-after drummer at Haitian religious ceremonies, and was instrumental in creating the ground-breaking Haitian Jazz quintet Mozayik, bringing his informed arrangements of Vodou rhythms to jazz standards, Haitian traditional songs and Mozayik’s original compositions. He has since become a first-call percussionist on the NYC Haitian music scene, performing and recording with a diverse array of artists across many genres.

With an extensive discography as a featured artist on myriad projects, Markus has released four seminal recordings as a leader thus far; Tanbou nan Lakou Brooklyn (2008), Equinox (2011), Vo-Duo Nou La (w/ Monvelyno Alexis, 2013), and most recently Kay Sa (2019), the second Lakou Brooklyn Quartet recording on the audiophile Soundkeeper Recordings label. Current projects include his own ongoing band Lakou Brooklyn Quartet, as well as membership in Grammy-winning saxophonist David Sanchez' Carib project, (nominated for a 2019 Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album) and We All Break, led by the iconic drummer Ches Smith, along with pianist Matt Mitchell and Haitian master drummer Daniel Brevil. Markus maintains an active freelance schedule as well, appearing locally and abroad with a host of talented artists from the Haitian community.


Grammy Nomination 2019 - Best Latin Jazz Recording - David Sanchez "Carib" Tanbou Nan Lakou Brooklyn - Beat Magazine top ten releases for 2008. Equinox - Stereophile Magazine Recording of the Month Feb 2011


Extensive collection of authentic hand-made Haitian ritual drums & percussion instruments: Rada, Petwo, Kongo, Banda, Nago, Rara and more.


"Percussionist Markus Schwartz came to Miami with a new quartet, (they) embarked on a swinging set of delightful tunes punctuated with dazzling improvised solos. Band leader, Haitian-drums player Markus Schwartz was in great company with a splendid quartet. Few drummers have the aptitude to rise to the level of artistry Markus achieved. This true Afro-Haitian sound will stamp our identity in the jazz world. " - Karl Joseph, Karijazz (May 12, 2010)

It's always so inspiring when American-based musicians mine the riches of their exotic heritage, and this five-piece New York band offers a stirring invitation to explore the vast rhythmic riches of its Afro-Haitian roots. While listeners are enjoying what on the surface sounds like an appealing mix of classical, jazz, gospel, and funk influences, the 12 multifaceted tracks also aim to teach lessons about various traditional Haitian folkloric drum rhythms (all stunningly played by Markus Schwartz)." - Jonathon Widran, allmusic.com

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Primary Instrument



New York City

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Twenty years experience in traditional Haitian drum music. Extensive travels in Haiti, learning from many master Haitian drummers. Private and group lessons available. Private studio available for classes. Available for performances and lecture demonstrations on Haitian music, dance and culture. Fluent in Haitian Creole.

Clinic/Workshop Information



Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Path of Seven Colors

Pyroclastic Records




Lionel Loueke
guitar, acoustic
Pauline Jean
voice / vocals

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