I began to play and study drum during my adolescence with
Paolo Lorusso, Maurizio Dei Lazzaretti,
Pietro Iodice, developing subsequently an interest in ethnic
percussion instruments. I studied percussion at the Conservatory of Bari,
and began to learn the rhythms of Northern-Africa with the Algerian Moussa
I started Afro-Cuban culture studies in Italy with Giovanni Imparato and broadened my skills in Havana (Cuba) with Jose Luis Quintana "Changuito", Irian Lopez and Manley "Piri" Lopez (Los Chinitos), Tony Urdaneta and Michel Aldama (Conjunto Folklorico Nacional de Cuba), Amadito Dedeu (Grupo Clave y Guaguancò), in New York with John Amira and in Rome with Reynaldo Hernandez Ramirez.
I attended some clinics of Afro-Cuban chant with Gregorio "El Goyo" Hernandez, of Brazilian percussion with Gilson Silveira and Kal Dos Santos and in Burkina Faso (West Africa) I studied the Mandinga rhythmic tradition of tama with Baba Kouyaté and balafon with Adama Djabaté.
I'm Drum Circle Facilitator, having obtained the VMC 3-Day Graduate according to the method of Arthur Hull, forming with Harshil Filippo Chiostri.
I'm specialized in conga, bongò, timbales
and darbouka techniques, my percussion set includes a broad array
of instruments from Africa, South-America, Caribbean, Middle East, Mediterranean
area, sometimes making use also of electronic and sampled sounds.
I'm looking for a musical style that merges those traditional musical cultures with contemporary European and Afro-American sounds and grooves. I'm interested in many different forms of musical expression, ranging from folkloric and popular Cuban music, traditional and modern Arab music, west and central African music, Brazilian music, jazz, funk, ethnic and songs by Italian authors.
I lead my own project Cesare Pastanella Afrodiaspora that musically explores the traces of the African diaspora present in most of today's music from both sides of the Atlantic. I'm also member of the trio Kaleido Sea, of a duo with the percussionist Pippo D'Ambrosio and another one with the guitarist Aldo De Palma.
In summer 2017 I participated to the Italian tour of the
Brazilian songwriter and guitarist Toquinho, together with
the Brazilian singer Selma Hernandes.
I furthermore collaborated with: Paolo Fresu Sextet, Gianluigi Trovesi, Bobby McFerrin, Bruno Tommaso, Antonello Salis, Maria Pia De Vito, Faraualla, Tavernanova, Mirko Signorile, Selma Hernandes, Joy Garrison, Luis "Aspirina" Chacòn, Francisco Ulloa Pachito, Guillermo "El Negro" Triana, Juan De Dios Ramos, Gregorio "El Goyo" Hernandez, Miguel Enriquez, Toups Bebey & Le Spirit Pan-African Brass Company, Farafina, Pino Minafra, Evan Parker, Pierre Favre, Javier Girotto, Roberto Ottaviano, Nicola Conte, Tony Esposito, Radiodervish, Fabrizio Bosso, Gianluca Petrella, Serena Brancale, Davide Santorsola, Ensemble Terræ, Abbes Boufrioua, Giovanni Imparato, Mario Rosini.
I participated in numerous international festivals, among which Time in Jazz (Berchidda), Rumori Meditterranei (Roccella Jonica), Europa Jazz Festival (Noci), Talos Festival (Ruvo di Puglia), Premio Tenco (Sanremo), Sconfini (Rome), Notti di Stelle (Bari), Biennale dei Giovani Artisti dell'Europa e del Mediterraneo (Rome), Il Violino e la Selce (San Benedetto del Tronto), Disma Music Show (Rimini), Roma incontra il mondo, Venice Carnival, Concerti al Palazzo del Quirinale (Rome), Villa Celimontana (Rome), Etnofestival (Republic of Sanmarino), Dubrovnik Jazz Festival (Dubrovnik, Croatia), International Babylon Festival (Babylon, Iraq), Frammenti and SR2 Kulturpicknick (Saarbrücken, Germany), Voicemania (Vienna, Austria), Brighton Festival (UK), Festival D'Alba La Romaine (France), Suoni delle Dolomiti (Madonna di Campiglio), “Timbalaye” Festival Internacional de Rumba Cubana (Havana, Cuba), UNEAC-Union de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (Havana, Cuba), El Sabado de La Rumba en el Palenque (Havana, Cuba), Festival Internacionàl de Percussiò de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain), Festival Européen Musique Renaissance (Amboise, France), Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), Les Pouilles jouent, l’Italie danse (Paris, France), Focus Italie (Brussells, Belgium).
I collaborate with the Teatro Kismet OperA of Bari, writing music for the piéce "Gilgamesh" by Teresa Ludovico, "Il Viaggio di Arjun" and "Badù Re, anzi Leone" by Lucia Zotti.
Besides my concert and recording activities, I also collaborate as percussionist in workshops and courses of Afro-cuban, Afro-brazilian and Arab dance, I teach Afro-Cuban, Arab, Brazilian rhythms and lead the workshop Afro-American Percussions whose goal is to make music practically and directly with people of any age, who approach for the first time to the rhythm.