“Look, it’s a girl drummer!” is usually the first thing people say when they see Boyanna play. But she is much more than just a female drummer. She is also one of the best drummers in New Orleans, as well as a world-class musician.

In a city known for great drummers, Boyanna Trayanova stands out, not because of her gender, but her versatility. Switching seamlessly from jazz to blues to funk to rockabilly to hip-hop to afrobeat, Boyanna has been attracting attention around town for her monster chops and rock solid groove. Boyanna doesn’t just play different types of music, she plays across a spectrum of musical styles with accuracy, rhythmic finesse, and a fierce attitude.

Boyanna’s fluency in the many different genres of music has made her one of the most in-demand drummers in New Orleans. Boyanna plays over 300 gigs a year, and on any given week, you can catch Boyanna playing with several completely different musical groups. Regular appearances throughout the city, combined with national and international appearances keep Boyanna quite busy. As one of the most sough-after “side-men” in New Orleans, Boyanna hardly ever takes a break.

Boyanna currently works with African percussion master Seguenon Kone, rockabilly powerhouse Johnny J, and carnival favorites the Panorama Brass Band, among many others. Boyanna is a co-founder of the One Love Brass Brass, a fusion of New Orleans brass band sounds with Jamaican ska and reggae. Boyanna has also played with blues legends John Mooney and Coco Robicheaux as well as jazz great Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe.

Born in Bulgaria, Boyanna Trayanova emigrated to the United States at the age of 9 in 1990 with her family, to escape the oppression of Communism. Eventually ending up in New Orleans, Trayanova taught herself to play drums, drawing influence from New Orleans’ rich musical soundscape. Having returned to her native homeland to perform for the first time in August 2013, Boyanna found unexpected stardom in Bulgaria.

As a self-taught musician, her musical education continues every day. Having already taught herself to play, read, and write music, Boyanna is always searching for ways to challenge herself. Currently, Boyanna is exploring the nuances of ambidextrous drumming. Her goal is to have two “dominant” hands, rather than just one.

Boyanna is also very interested in the folk music of her native homeland of Bulgaria. Bulgarian music incorporates many odd meter time signatures and phrases, which fascinate Boyanna’s rhythmic sensibility. Currently Boyanna is studying Bulgarian folklore and preparing to launch a Bulgarian folk music project in New Orleans.

And, yes, she is a female drummer.