Robin Burdulis

Margaret Morrison


“I was playing pots, pans, alarm clocks, and garbage cans as a child,” recalls Robin Burdulis (pictured on right, with Edie Windsor). “When I got a ‘Susie Homemaker’ Baking Kit, I never made one brownie. Instead, I turned the mini baking pans upside-down on my bed and played them!” Now, Burdulis is a multidimensional percussionist who The New York Times observed “plays her percussion instruments like a symphony.” In addition to performing with world music ensembles like Páprika and artists like Taylor Mac, she has led the drumming for the NYC Dyke March every year since 1993, with one exception: during 2009’s Pride Weekend, she was on tour in Minneapolis and ended up lead drummer for the Milwaukee Dyke March. Despite her lifelong love of percussion, Burdulis didn’t play consistently until adulthood. “I was 9 years old [in] 1967—women were not ‘allowed’ to play drums.” Her mother permitted her to play the flute instead. That changed when she was 25, and found a percussion course offered through the Learning Annex. “I remember the first class, sitting in front of a conga for the first time, feeling deep within my core: ‘This is where I’m supposed to be.’” She now considers herself a “musical activist,” whose “identity [as an LGBTQ+ woman] opens me to the reality of other marginalized people, to our interconnections, and to the potential of shared struggle and mutual support.”

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