Roël Calister was born in 1979 on the island of Curaçao, Dutch Antilles. At a very young age it was already obvious that percussions had a special place in his life. When he didn’t have a real instrument he would do the expected: he’d make one, or use any object he could find; something very common in Antillean tradition.
At the age of 18 he left home for the Netherlands, to study Finance and Accounting. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in 2001 he initiated his formal percussion studies at the Rotterdam Conservatory. His main influences for percussions and drums are Marcos Suzano, Cyro Baptista, Airto Moreira, Antonio Sanchez, Brian Blade and Pernell Saturnino. With this last percussionist, also from Curaçao, he played in the band of Jazz-vocalist and sister Izaline Calister for five years.
Roël is especially known for his ability to tastefully mix styles like pop, rock, latin and jazz with folklore elements and world music. Apart from the conventional drums and congas, he also uses instruments such as cajon, udu, pandeiro. These and other instruments from the diverse assortment of astonishing African and Caribbean collection play a prominent role in Roël’s project ‘At’awó’.
Aside from At’awó, a steady gig with ‘Orange Grove’ and singer ‘Izaline Calister’ and various free-lance activities, he is also a talented facilitator and percussion-motivator. He has worked with various organizations and multinational companies such as Shell, ABN AMRO and NIKE for which he organized teambuilding activities and percussion workshops all over the world.