Oriol Roca – Solo


“The most significant part of his solo work is that we are faced with one of the few drummers- and musicians in general – capable of constructing with his instrument a beautiful and poetic narrative discourse.” Martí Farré, Nativa (ESP)


Barcelona born drummer Oriol Roca had no intention to release a solo album. He didn’t even plan to perform solo, for that matter. And yet, La Tomba dei Giganti is his first outing under his own name. In August 2009, Paolo Angeli, an amazing Italian improviser, invited Oriol to perform at Isole che Parlano, an arts festival held in the tiny village of Palau, in the Italian island of Sardinia. Italian sound engineer Roberto Monari happened to be there with his recording equipment to document the festival. Oriol was struck to recognize himself so strongly in the music, and he realized it was closer to the way he felt about music than anything else he’d ever done before. And thats how Roca’s first ever solo album, recorded on the evening of his first ever solo performance, came to be.


When playing solo Roca expands his set using all kinds of cymbals, different drums, objects, metal bars, plastic bags, stones, toys, bags of sand, a cheap wood flute, kitchen utensils, mini bells, Chinese sticks, an original 22″ Paiste gong from 70’s a good friend gave him… anything capable of creating sound is welcome to explore in a free musical form the infinite possibilities of textures, density, dynamics we’re all surrounded by.


ORIOL ROCA: drums, percussion and objects



“Oriol Roca is a drummer with a simmering sensitivity that does not lack muscle. His playing has continued to send us back to one of the greatest percussionists known to free music, the huge Barry Altschul, whose Oriol appears today as the obvious successor.” Focus Vif (BE)


“Perhaps it’s the restraint displayed by Roca that makes his solo album so compelling, but the forty minutes flew right by and I was sad when the album ended.” All About Jazz (USA)


“Oriol Roca, drummer although it would be better to define him as percussionist, of which I have always thought that he has a great instinctive intelligence, (listen to his solo album La Tomba dei Giganti).” Germán Lázaro, Cuadernos de Jazz (ESP)


“Oriol Roca is a drummer and a percussionist continuously looking for new colors.” Claude Loxhay, Jazzaround (BE)


“Oriol Roca bounces from one rhythmic to the next, coloring more than hitting, draws air movements more than he structures.” Diane Gastellu, Citizenjazz (FR)


“Oriol Roca is undoubtedly an energetic and creative drummer.” Joël Plagier, Jazzman Magazine (FR)


“Roca enters into another complex and unpredictable series of patterns which would serve most other drummers as a solo, but here it’s simply his agile contribution to the landscape.” Dave Foxall, Jazz Journal (UK)


“I’ve been poking around drummer Oriol Roca‘s music for a couple years now, and he always finds a way to gain interest.” Dave Summer, Bird is the Worm (USA)


“The drummer Oriol Roca is not only building an interesting musical career within our country in groups like MUT Trio, or with Giulia Valle and David Mengual to name a few. It also has recognition beyond our borders with groups such as VRAK Trio, the Piccola Orchestra Gagarin, or with the pianist Giovanni Di Domenico.” Pachi Tapiz, Tomajazz (ESP)


“Oriol Roca is an exceptional drummer: flexible and perfectly at ease in polyrhythms and very capable of playing even outside the pulse, a perfect shoulder for other musicians.” Andrea Aguzzi, Italia Paperblog (IT)


LA TOMBA DEI GIGANTI · Free album download

It all happened by chance. In August 2009 guitarist/improviser Paolo Angeli invited me to play at Isole che Parlano, a small festival held in the tiny village of Palau, in the Italian island of Sardegna. He asked me to do a solo concert at a very special spot near Palau -right at the feet of a bronze era monument, La Tomba dei Giganti (Giants’ tomb), erected in 1400BC. Locals strongly believe it is a source of energy with strong healing properties.



Before setting foot in Palau but aware of the connotations of the place, I sketched a plot for what is otherwise a performance of improvised music. It would be a journey of discovery, from sheer sound to dance, music, and then back to sound -only this time around a sound informed by the knowledge acquired along the way. At the end, because the concert took place on my country’s national day -September the 11th- and a bit as an internal joke, I felt like playing Els segadors, the official Catalan hymn, on a cheap flute my brother Roger had brought me as a souvenir from London. I knew none of the people attending the concert, some of them musicians but mostly locals of virtually all ages, would recognize the tune. But it didn’t matter. It moved them all the same. Hence the tittles –Sound, Dance, Music, Life, Wisdom, and Hymn– into which the performance, presented on the album in its entirety and unedited, is divided.


I had no intention to release a solo album, I din’t even plan to perform solo, for that matter. But an italian radio station happened to be there with their recording equipment to document the festival. Then someone send me a copy, I listened it back and I was struck to recognize myself in the music. And that’s how La Tomba dei Giganti, my first ever solo album, recorded on the evening of my first ever solo performance, came to be.


Click on the cover to download the album, and if you like it share it as much as you want!


Click to download




Produced by Oriol Roca

Recorded live at Festival Isole che Parlano (Palau, Italy) by Roberto Monari September 11th 2009.

Mixed and mastered by Oriol Roca and Dave Bianchi at The Emergency Room Studio (Barcelona).

Cover artwork by Andrea Cirotto.

Photography by Nanni Angeli

Whatabout Music 2010


“The music on this recording goes back to an era when the world is still wild and untamed. A time when sounds are so new no one has ever heard them, a time when someone realises he can arrange and rearrange those sounds and come up with something new. And that is music and it is powerful, for it can make people dance. And after living his life with joy and intensity he goes back to his homeland to share his newfound wisdom with his people. And there he finally rests to the sound of a hymn.”