|Tiyumba African Drum and Dance Company||
Robert is a long-time member of the Twin Cities community who has played percussion for over ten years. He particularly enjoys shekeres and other accompaniment percussion instruments. His early training was in the Afro-Cuban drum traditions. He likes many musical styles with an affinity for relaxing and uplifting music. During the day, he works in business and finance. He also practices and teaches tai chi.
Erin has always loved dancing in all of the wild places she has lived, starting early in her childhood- her backyard creek, ocean marshes and sandbars, the Appalachian mountains, the red rock desert and now the shores of Lake Superior. She loves allowing dance to evolve out of the context in which she finds herself- this context being the natural world, her human community and the day to day actions of life. This is probably why African dance has always spoken to her- in the stories of the ordinary and extra-ordinary rhythms and movements of life the dances tell - from planting seeds and washing clothes to praising spirit. Erin is honored to join up with Tiyumba and the joy, connection and freedom the group, led by Fatawu, brings to the community.
Nicholas Afotu brings joy and his own style all the way from Ghana to the Tiyumba group in Minnesota. He joined the group in 2013 after moving to Minnesota.
Amy Miller is a lover of the arts, especially those that teach her about different people and cultures from around the globe. She has a background in piano performance and a degree in Music and Global Studies from Hamline University in Saint Paul, MN. She currently works in Community Engagement at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
in Saint Paul building community connections with the world music and dance artists who visit the Ordway.
In 2005, Amy traveled to Ghana, West Africa to study traditional performing arts at the Dagara Music Center. She fell in love with the art form and continued dancing upon return to the Twin Cities. In 2008, she began danicing and drumming with Fatawu Sayibu and feels blessed to be part of the "Tiyumba family".
A Minneapolis native, Jeff has a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies: Language and Music In Performance from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. After years of playing guitar in bands and producing several albums of original music, Jeff discovered West African traditional music, eventually joining Tiyumba and traveling to Guinea two consecutive winters to study with djembefola Fode Bangoura. In Addition to Tiyumba, Jeff is currently exploring Afrocentric world grooves with his band Homeless Moses, and drum and dance group Earthshake World Rhythm Ensemble.
Dancing and music have been central elements throughout Kate's life -- in many forms and with many people. There is little that brings her more joy and sense of peace. She discovered the rhythms and role that drumming and dancing play in the social fabric of African communities while living in Senegal, West Africa. It was during that time that she learned to more deeply value the natural connections of music, movement, tradition, community and expression that are embedded in our human experience. Kate is grateful to find a home for her love of dance, rhythm and community with the Tiyumba family.
Will Dikel has enjoyed West African drumming since hearing Babatunde Olatunji’s “Drums of Passion” album while in college. He has been playing djembe with Tiyumba for two years. He joined the group after taking classes with Fatawu Sayibu at Minneapolis Community Education, and found pure joy in the groove of African drum and dance. He has studied North Indian Bansuri with G.S. Sachdev, and plays classical and slack key guitar and piano. He is also a potter, wood and stone sculptor and 3D photographer. In his day job, he is a mental health consultant, professor and writer.
For the past decade, Ann has been performing with Afro-Cuban and West African groups, such as Tiyumba. Beginning this journey as a dancer, she has now branched into percussion. Her focus is primarily Djembe, conga and bata drums. At 50 years old, Ann will tell you, "It's never too late to learn something fun!"