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Simon Whittaker

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About Simon

Simon Whittaker is a freelance percussionist performing, collaborating and producing in and around the south of England.
Public liability insurance of £10 million
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Hello I've been playing percussion since my 7th birthday and I'm now 33 - where does the time go?!? I have my own car and equipment as follows Kits: DW Collectors - Maple in Oyster pearl wrap Yamaha Maple custom - Bebop sizes Yamaha Beech Custom - Fusion sizes Bosphorus, Zildjian cymbals Perc: Cuban percussion - Congas, bongo, timbales Vibraphone Boxes and boxes of auxillary percussion for Orchestral, Brazilian, Cuban music. Guinean Djembe Cajon and pedal Udu Bodhrans and frame drums Compact Congas Electronic: Roland SPDs electric drum pad Roland Electronic drum kit Large PA with monitors and iPad remote desk I have a sense of humour, a can-do attitude, a good set of ears, and can busk swiftly and confidently with most things. I look forward to hearing from you Simon Here's my bio in more detail... Simon Whittaker is a freelance percussionist performing, arranging, collaborating, producing and teaching in London, England. A graduate from Trinity College of Music, he studied percussion with Gary Kettel, Kevin Nutty, Mick Doran, world percussion with Dawson Miller, jazz drums with Dave Wickens, marimba with Gillian Mcdonagh and vibraphone with Roger Beaujolais Simon has toured Asia with The Amadeus Orchestra, been resident percussionist with St. Endellion Festival Orchestra and performed numerous times with the Phoenix Orchestra and Orpheus Sinfonia. Notable performances venues include the Cadogan Hall, The Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, RFH, QEH, Brixton Academy and recordings for BBC Radio. Simon has also lead his own Latin Jazz project, ‘Nuevo Rhythm Orchestra’. Well known for their high energy performances, the group has played all over the UK, from salsa club nights to political engagements with Boris Johnson. Simon has also played hand percussion for Rhythms of the City, NYJO, the Bobby Lamb Big Band, Paola Vera and for BBC TV and Channel 4 recordings. Simon has worked with the following people; Classical Julian Bliss, Edward Gardner, Julian Lloyd Webber, Amadeus Orchestra, Orpheus Sinfonia, The Mahler Orchestra, Cyprus Sinfonia, Brandenburg Sinfonia, St. Endellion Festival Orchestra, Sussex Symphony Orchestra, Maidstone Symphony Orchestra, Young Janacek Philharmonic, Earnest Reed Symphony Orchestra, Kensington Philharmonic, Blackheath Opera Company Jazz/Latin Rhythms Of The City, Monobloco, Mystro, National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Nuevo Rhythm Orchestra, The Bobby Lamb Big Band, Friendly Fires (Brixton Academy Support), Paola Vera, Rachel K Collier Commercial Russell Watson, BBC Radio 3, Greg Knowles, Channel 4 TV, Dave Loew (Pinewood Studios), Blue Peter, Premier Brass, London Breakbeat Orchestra Theatre Jesus Christ Superstar, Legally Blonde, Victor/Victoria, Into the Woods, The King & I, Spring Awakening, The Producers, Years (London Palladium), On the Town, I Love You Because, Back to the 80’s, Bernarda Alba, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Zanna-Don’t, Pippin, Baby Contemporary Errollyn Wallen, Anna Noakes, Gerard McCrystal, Gary Kettel, Mike Mower, Tony Hinnigan, Tristan Fry, Domonic Murcott, Hofesh Shechter, Alison Turriff

Performance details
I can perform outdoors
I have a car I can use to travel to gigs
I require car parking close to venues
I can perform with backing tracks
I can perform while walking around a venue
My equipment is PAT tested
I own a PA system
Encore awards
5th Encoreversary
Christmas, Classical, Baroque, Classical crossover, Contemporary classical, Early music, Fanfare, Film / TV music, Medieval music, Musical theatre, Opera, Renaissance, Electronic, Ambient, Drum 'n' Bass, EDM, Dubstep, Electronica, 1920s era music, 1930s era music, 1940s era music, 1950s era music, 1960s era music, 1970s era music, 1980s era music, 1990s era music, Folk, Bluegrass, Ceillidh, Country, Folk rock, Irish rock, Rockabilly, Traditional English folk, Traditional Irish folk, Traditional Scottish folk, Jazz, Blues, Cabaret, Dixieland, Gypsy jazz, Jazz fusion, Latin jazz, Modern jazz, Postmodern jukebox jazz, Ragtime, Swing, Barbershop, Gospel, Easy listening, Experimental, Light music, Pop, Acoustic, Ambient pop, Americana, Covers, Disco, Funk, Funk rock, Hip Hop, Karaoke, Motown, R&B, Soul, Top 40, Tribute, Vintage, Rock, Alternative rock, Britpop, Classic rock, Glam rock, Hard rock, Hardcore, Heavy metal, Indie, Pop rock, Post rock, Power rock, Progressive rock, Punk rock, Rock 'n' Roll, Synth rock, World music, African music, Bossa nova, Brazilian music, Cuban music, Cumbia, Latin, Reggae, Samba, Salsa
See all genres
See all instruments
Event types:
Private event, Wedding, Wedding proposal, Hotel / Restaurant event, Bar / Club / Venue event, Corporate event, Charity event, Concert, Recording session, Theatre / Show, Cruise, Burns night, Birthday party, Christmas party, New Year's Eve
See all event types
Other skills:
Arranger, Composer, Drum technician, Transcription, Sound technician, Fluent sight-reader, Fluent improviser, Instrumental teaching
See all skills

Song list

I have years of experience in a wide range of musical idioms...
Orchestral percussion
Drum kit sessions
Percussion in Cuban band
Singing in an acoustic folk group
And many many more
Customer questions

What if my timings change after I've booked you?

We always try our best to be flexible to help ensure your event runs as smoothly as possible. If timings change slightly in the run-up​ to the event just let us know.

Can you provide an iPod/DJ service before and between your sets?

If we're bringing a PA to the event this is fine. This is a really popular request and we actually offer this service for free. If you'd like a DJ service via our PA after the final set, we provide this for £100 per extra hour.

How much time do you need to set up?

We usually set up about 1 to 1.5 hours before the performance time. As soon as our equipment is set up we can provide a free playlist service to help set the atmosphere and get your guests ready for our live performance!

Can I pick the pieces you play from the set list?

Our set lists are crafted from countless performances and learning what works best to ensure guests dance and have an amazing time. However, we're definitely happy to chat through and make sure we find what works for your event.

Do you bring all the equipment you need to perform?

Yes, absolutely! I bring my own instrument to play acoustically.

Can you learn specific pieces before the event?

If a song isn't included in our song list there may still be a chance we already know it. If there is a special song you'd like us to learn we are happy to do this for you. There is a fee of £30 for this service to take into account rehearsal times etc.

Which venues have you performed at in the past?

In the UK I've played at the Royal Albert Hall, Ronnie Scotts, The Hideaway, Royal Festival Hall, Brixton Academy, Love Supreme festival, London Palladium, Goodwood Festival, Lords Cricket Ground, Emirates Stadium, Manchester Hilton. In Europe I've performed at Chateau Margot (Bordeaux), Clermont-Ferrand, The Pyrenees, Croatia, Sicily...

What is the most high profile gig you've performed?

The most high profile gig I didn't do was when I turned down playing for the Pope in hyde park. Sadly I already had a booking and it was easier to dep the Pope gig! A musical highlight for me was playing with Monobloco in Rio.


Note: prices may vary based on travel distance. For an exact quote, click “Check availability”.

Standard Prices
Performance durationPrice
Short performance (up to 15 min)£75
Up to 1 hour£200
Up to 2 hours£250
Up to 3 hours£300


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Robbie P, 2 years ago


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Ben H, 2 years ago

To see a crowd of children aged between 3 and 13 spontaneously start dancing, clapping and laughing to a live musical act is a rare treat. Talking Drum spread their joy and skills at Bedales prep and pre-prep schools, Dunhurst and Dunannie with inspirational workshops and transporting performances. The drumming team invoke the carnival-rich rhythmic tapestry of several continents and it is all delivered with the authority and clarity of top world music experts and educators.

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Chaz C, 2 years ago

I was lucky enough to see the Rhythm Earth Trio in January 2019. I had no idea what to expect and was blown away with what I heard. Really interesting, contemporary sound and feel. Interesting times and melodies interweaving through themes. Very much looking forward to seeing them again soon.

Read all 4 reviews