Ethnomusicologist and percussionist Nolan Warden focuses on music of Latin America with emphases in Afro-Cuban ritual drumming and popular and Indigenous musics of Mexico. In addition to lecturing at UCLA, he teaches at Purdue University and is co-founder and co-director of Nuestra Escuelita, a Spanish school for heritage speakers of Spanish. He has also taught at Loyola Marymount University, California State University Dominguez Hills, and Malcolm X College.
His Ph.D. is from UCLA with a doctoral dissertation on Indigenous Wixárika (Huichol) music, especially economic factors in cultural change, Wixárika musicians performing popular Mexican music, and the inadvertent role of ethnography in the commodification of ethnic identity. His MA degree is from Tufts University where he wrote a thesis on Afro-Cuban cajón pa’ los muertos rituals, studying the role of musicians in transculturation and the emergence of new ritual practices. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music with a double major in Hand Percussion Performance and Music Business.
As a performer, Dr. Warden has toured internationally in works such as La Pasión Según San Marcos by Osvaldo Golijov, with performances in places such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Teatro Colón. He currently performs with the group Clave Caribe and secretly sings corridos tumbados with vihuela.