Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Ukulele, Electric Bass, Cuban Tres, Mandolin
Norm Anthony Zabala was born in Manila, Philippines and moved to Canada when he was six years old. Unable to afford lessons when first starting out, but not letting that stand in his way, he initially learned guitar by hanging out at the local music stores watching people play. When he thought that the salesmen weren't looking he'd casually sneak a guitar down from the wall and try to play some of the things he had observed. While not much of a start, it was enough to get him into the school choir, and then into his first band, where he was able to finally earn enough money to pay for tuition as he pursued a music degree. Norm also began teaching privately and built a studio of over 60 students by the time he graduated from university, and he has continued to teach ever since.
Still in high school, his 1st professional gig was as musical director for The National Youth Talent Association, a touring group of musicians, actors, comedians, and dancers aged 16 to 25. Norm wrote, arranged, and played music in this group and helped to organize concerts that promoted Canadian music throughout the nation. As teenagers and young adults, they performed at the World Expo in Vancouver and several Canada Day festivals on the main stage on Parliament Hill in front of over 100,000 people.
Afterwards Norm started working full time as a professional musician performing, recording, and traveling all over the world as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter with many different artists and bands.
His latest project is his self-produced CD release "The Woodshed Sessions."
Musical Director for world music artist Florence K (2005-10)
Canada Day 2011 Parliament Hill Ottawa, ON
Montreal International Jazz Festival (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011)
Vancouver 2010 Olympics
Bermuda Music Festival 2008
Isle Of Wight Festival, UK 2008
France 2008 tour with Florence K & Bernard Lavilliers
Ottawa International Jazz Festival 2011 with Nathalie Khoriaty
Performer/Composer on CD releases:
Florence K; Live au Lion D'Or; Bossa Blue; La Historia de Lola; The Cherry Pickers;
Down On Bishop St.
Performer on CD releases;
Jonny Owen & The Redeemers; Close To Home
Composer/Producer with Florence K for Koba Family Entertainment's children's live musical theater production "Franklin And The Adventures Of The Noble Knights".
Norm's innovative approach to teaching includes using current technological tools such as smartphones and the web to facilitate learning, and he leads guest workshops in using technology in music. Norm moved from Montreal to Waterloo in 2014 and began teaching a variety of instruments at the Sound Factory Music School in the fall of 2014