What is Extra Ancestral?
Extra-Ancestral founded by Kahlil Cummings, began in 2017 as an ensemble that aimed to educate audiences through the fusions of hypnotic Afrobeat, Reggae, Jazz, Afro-Latin, and Traditional African diasporic rhythms, narrated by powerful ancestral dancing. Extra Ancestral provides an in-depth education of temporal and geographic boarders from Africa to the Americas and back, providing lessons from the past to hone tools for the future. Extra- Ancestral uses music and dance as a healing tool led by some of LA’s most dynamic artists. These artists engage in revolutionary performances of black survival that invoke—poignantly resist—500 years of forced transatlantic passages between West Africa and the Americas. Extra- Ancestral seeks to incorporate and integrate music, dance, visual arts, and community engagement as a form of empowerment to reduce the transgenerational trauma that exists in communities of color. Historically, music and dance have been considered the oldest form of medicine, Extra-ancestral seeks to combine the tradition of healing through music using dances, rituals, and messages to elevate and empower communities of color. This vision manifests into performance productions, dance classes, workshops and music education with artists across the African Diaspora. As a result, Extra- Ancestral is composed of three branches: Performance, Music and Dance Workshops, and an all queen ensembled, Bloco Obini.
The Band :
Kahlil Cummings(percussion)Alberto Lopez(percussion) Evan Greer(drums) Nikki Campbell(percussion) Kibrom Birhan(piano, keys) Fabio Santana(TromboneCavaco), Bobby Easton(Guitar), Teamir Sweeney(drums) Randal Fisher(Sax,flute) Q Violin(vocals,violin) Jimetta Rose(vocals)
Rachel Hernandez, Daunte Fyall, Jahanna Blunt
Extra Ancestral Workshops:
The Extra Ancestral Workshops offer all dancers, and musicians an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of one orixa or aspect of the African Diaspora.
Delve into the dance, music and mythology of the orixas(deified ancestors) These workshop intensives offer an interactive and comprehensive exploration into the songs, movements, rhythms and stories of various orixas.
Dancers will complete traditional dances to live drumming and song.
Extra Ancestral is very excited to host these events dedicated to enriching our collective knowledge of Ancestry from the African Diaspora. A community armed with ancestral wisdom is an unstoppable force. Dedication Discipline Commitment Character Ase-O
Bloco Obini, all Queens drum ensemble. Bloco (block or group) Obini (Yoruba word meaning Women, queens)
Bloco Obini represents the enpowerment of not only women, but an entire generation. By using the drum as a spiritual weapon, to heal, educate, uplift, and serve the community, and abroad. “In a fractured world, we need culture to survive, and thrive. Bloco Obini understands the power of the spirit of the drum "Ayan Agalu”, and its healing affects on communities and people, especially kids dealing with trauma in under privilege and under served schools. Bloco Obini sets to serve the people by providing the drum medicine, and raising awareness, to the many issue plaguing our societies. Children are the beginnings of all things, therefore have infinite possibilities, choices, and hope. We are a drum ensemble made up of, educators, nurses, dance instructors, political activist, students, mothers, and healers. All whom dedicate their lives to defend culture. Using art to speak on the times. Bloco Obini performs, Afro Brazilian bloco style drumming, with uplifting songs affirming that we are all royalty, and come from Kings, and Queens. Bloco Obini is a family. We are civilization’s anchor. We are the compass for humanity’s conscience.
Co-Founder/ Music Director:
Alberto López received his first music lessons as a child in a neighborhood music school in Medellín, Colombia. Upon his family's move to the United States, he furthered his studies in piano and percussion at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA and The Juilliard School in New York City, respectively. In addition, Alberto studied counterpoint, harmony and orchestral conducting privately under the great Jacques-Louis Monod. While in New York, he came under the tutelage of Afro-Cuban drumming master and legend Felipe García Villamil, with whom he learned not only the drumming and music, but also the religious and ceremonial aspects of various Afro-Cuban cultural and spiritual traditions. Furthermore, he has traveled to Brazil, Puerto Rico and Cuba to develop his knowledge of Afro-American music and culture. Residing in Los Angeles since 1999, Mr. López has performed, recorded, composed and/or produced music with artists such as Quetzal, Mstislav Rostropovich, Rubén Blades, Celia Cruz, Lee Ritenour, Stanley Clarke, LCD Soundsystem, The Brand New Heavies, The Dalai Lama, Juanes and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, among others. He was part of the Oscar-nominated soundtrack for the 20th Century FOX animated film "Rio" and in 2013 received a Grammy Award (Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album) for his work on the "Imaginaries" album by Quetzal, released on the Smithsonian Folkways label. In November 2004, Alberto founded Belú Music, a music production house and independent label, with the aim of developing and sharing the musical vision of artists around the world. His releases and productions have generated praise from some of the most prominent world music radio stations, including KCRW and KPFK (Los Angeles), BBC (UK), KEXP (Seattle) and WGBH (Boston). Additionally, Alberto is a co-founder and partner of Artivist Entertainment, an independent entertainment company founded in conjunction with Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter, Quetzal Flores and Veronica Gonzalez dedicated to representing artists whose art and music inspire positive social change. Mr. López has also been an active educator, teaching privately as well as giving lectures and workshops in schools and universities, including UCLA, Loyola University, SDSU, Occidental College, LAMA, Plaza de la Raza and community centers throughout California, Arizona and Oregon. In 2010, he released "Afro-Colombian Rhythms Method, Vol. 1" with Colombian master percussionist and gaitero Eduardo Martínez (Totó La Momposina, Petrona Martínez). Currently, Alberto is working with Scott Wardinsky in the production of an instructional DVD/CD set of Afro-Cuban rhythms featuring Cuban masters Ramón "Sandy" Pérez and Lázaro Galarraga.Alberto López plays and endorses LP Percussion instruments and TRX cymbals.
Co-Artistic Director/ Dancer:
Rachel Hernandez Dance and Co-artistic director began her professional studies in Salvador, Bahia. She has had the privilege to study with landmark masters such as: Mestre King, Jose Santos, Rosangela Silvestre, Vera Passos, Nildinha Fonseca, Matias Santiago, as well as at the Escola de Dança, Balé Folclórico da Bahia, and UFBA. She is skilled in Afro-Brazilian dance, Modern and Ballet. Rachel danced with mestre Kings Grupo Genisis, Balá da Mata, Fusion Dance Company, Ballet Santa Barbara, Marina Magalhes, and in the legendary production Saurê. She works for the Children’s Creative project and LA's BEST Program introducing Afro-Brazilian dance to scores of elementary school children. elementary school children. She has choreographed for Ballet Santa Barbara, Viver Brasil and ballet folclorico do Brasil, Amalkoba nationally as well Capoeira Batuque Japao in Japan internationally. She has developed her signature Afro-Brazilian dance classes and Extra Ancestral Workshops being taught throughout LA County. She currently choreographs the dance component of Extra Ancestral and plays percussion with Bloco Obini.