My Partners & Mentors
These are the organizations and people who are part of my growth, part of my success. In traditional African practices, you get no where without acknowlging who trained you. You can go fast alone or far together. I'm blessed to have these mentors and partners flinging me far into the future. May we all continue to prosper and thrive.
Awo Falokun Fasegun has been involved in the study of African Spirituality for over 20 years. During one of his many trips to West Africa he was initiated in the village of Ode Remo, Nigeria into the mysteries of Ifa and the Warrior Orisa (deity) Ogun. Since then he has been published in several academic journals, appeared on countless radio shows, television programs, and university panels discussing the tenets of the Tradition of Ifa, Orisa reverence and ancestor veneration as practiced in Yorubaland and in the Diaspora. He has narrated 3 CDs on Ifa, for everyone from the novice to the highly respected Priest. Awo Fasegun has been happily married for over 30 years and is the proud father of 3 magnificent children, and 5 grandchildren. I have the great pleasure of assisting his services for his community, Ilê Orunmila Afedefeyo, with my drum.
I’ve known Amen since I was four years old. I’m his eldest student in Los Angeles.
A native of Salvador Bahia, Mestre Amen Santo is a recognized Mestre de Capoeira, master drummer, and is the Artistic Director of the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center. He began his artistic career under the guidance of Mestre Waldemar and Mestre Avila in Liberdade, Bahia, Brazil. His was mentored as a performer by Negão de Doni (percussion) and Emilia Biancardi (dance) and toured internationally as a member of Brazil’s historic premiere folk ensemble Viva Bahia.
In 1989, he founded the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center that serves as the home base for a professional touring ensemble (the Ballet Folclòrico do Brasil) and the internationally renownand longest standing capoeira school in Southern California, Capoeira Batuque. Santo helped bring capoeira to a worldwide audience through his performance and choreography in feature films including “Only the Strong” and “Kickboxer IV.” Santo has used dance and music as platform for promoting intercultural interchange, Latin American diversity, and the African diaspora. He has also been honored in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, and as a pioneer by the World Sokeship Council.
Luis Badaro´& Linda Yudin
I've practically grown up in their company, Viver Brasil. It's a blessing to be able to hone my craft as a musician while consistently playing for some of the baddest dancers in the world under the instruction of two of the most committed teachers I have ever known. Viver Brasil has been a place where I can stretch out and create new sounds and songs in the vast tradition of the Candomblé. Linda and Bá are incredibly supportive AND demanding! Couldn't ask for anything more in your mentors.
Luiz Badaró, founding Artistic Director, critically acclaimed master dancer, choreographer, percussionist, and educator, was born in Salvador, Bahia, and has been choreographing and performing for over thirty years in Brazil, Europe, Africa, Japan and the United States. His influence is indispensable to Viver Brasil’s cultural integrity, technical and artistic vitality, and dancer training. Badaró’s exalted choreography is inspired by both the traditional and contemporary worlds of Afro-Brazilian culture. The Los Angeles Times called his choreography “intoxicating... irrepressible... Brazilian to the core.” Badaró studied Afro-Brazilian dance with Raimundo Bispo dos Santos (aka Mestre King), and Mercedes Batista; modern dance with Clyde Morgan; folkloric traditions with Emilia Biancardi; and capoeira with Mestre Bimba and Mestre Bandu. In 2009, he won a Lester Horton Dance Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Music for Dance" for Viver Brasil’s 2008 So Moved/In Motion. Along with co-founder Linda Yudin, Badaró received the prestigious “Excellence in Teaching” award from the board of directors of Dance Resource Center of Greater L.A./Lester Horton Dance Awards 2009.
Linda Yudin, founding artistic director of Viver Brasil, earned her MA in Dance (Ethnology) from UCLA in 1988, has devoted three decades to researching, performing and teaching Afro-Brazilian dance. Co-Artistic director of Viver Brasil, Yudin has lectured, taught, published, and performed Brazilian dance at colleges, universities, elementary, middle and high schools, academic conferences, and communities throughout the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Brazil and South Africa. Ms. Yudin is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at UCLA in the World Arts and Cultures/Dance Department, having taught at Santa Monica College from 1999-2014. A true believer in the power of cultural exchange, she leads an annual program to Brazil, chairs the Los Angeles-Salvador Sister City program and is the artistic director of the Brazilian component of Viva Navidad! parade at Disneyland Resort, California.
Mamady Keïta is a grand master of the djembe and one of the world’s most well-known and respected djembefolas. (Djembefola is the Malinké word for “djembe player”. It literally means “one who plays the djembe.”)
A grandmaster of the djembe and a legendary figure considered by peers and students worldwide, Mamady was also regarded as the djembe ambassador to the world because of his reach to every part of the globe and his award winning documentary ‘Djembefola’ which transpire the djembe into an instrument that is seen in every musical context today.
I met Mamdy when I was 11 years old. For twenty years I have studied with him, traveling to Guinea twice to record albums with hima nd his students at Balandugu Kan.
rhythm arts alliance
Rhythm Arts Alliance creates a positive and healing path that can change the world one life at a time. Through our work of awakening the inner artist and building lasting, inclusive communities, we provide the foundation for insightful and soulful living. As we bring the arts off the stage and into the lives of youth challenged by poverty, alienation and marginalization, we provide the threads that will reweave our tattered communities.
Last year I was offered a fantastic opportunity to become an LP Artist. I'm at the beginning of what I hope will be a very long relationship with the company that built a way to stay in touch with the people of Cuba. Have a look at my custom kit of LP drums.
Excited to play these lovely handcrafted cymbals. Their sound is both ancient and NOW. Glad to have joined their family.
The Istanbul brand name was adopted by a cymbal works established by two cymbalsmiths, Mehmet Tamdeger and Agop Tomurcuk. At that time, they had over three decades of cymbal making experience. Mehmet and Agop named their company after the city that has been home to the epitome of high quality cymbals for many, many years: Istanbul. These cymbals were first exported to the U.S. in 1984, first under the name “Zildjiler”, and soon afterwards as “Istanbul”. Both craftsmen signed each cymbal and many of these cymbals are now collectors’ items.
This man is one of those silent supporters that you are glad the universe saw fit to put in your path. I'm fortunate to have his words of encouragement ringning in my ears every once in a while.