Community West African Drumming Classes - Summer 2019

The center is excited to help promote these unique opportunities to learn and experience West African drumming this summer.

Guinean Master Drummer Bolokada Conde, a former teaching artist of the center, returns to Urbana-Champaign for a weekend of performances and classes!!!

Bolokada Conde will be performing with Ngoma Expressions at the Juneteenth Emancipation Day celebration at Douglass Branch Library (504 E Grove St, Champaign) on June 15th from 12:00pm - 3:00pm.

Conde will be teaching community drum classes on Saturday, June 15th, 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the Independent Media Center (Downtown Urbana) as well as on Sunday, June 16th at 3:45-5:15 p.m. at the Channing Murray Foundation (corner of Oregon and Matthews). The fee to attend these special classes are $20 per person, per class (cash or checks accepted).

Leading up to and following Bolokada Conde's classes, Gordon Kay, who has studied and performed West African drumming for 18 years will be offering weekly West African drumming classes beginning with Session 1 from Sunday, June 2 through the end of July 2019.

Open to all levels, these Sunday classes will be held from 3:45-4:45pm, at the Channing Murray Foundation with a cost of $7 per class ($5 students). The class is an ongoing drop-in format, but it is preferable to be at the first class, and to attend regularly.

The main focus will be West African rhythms used by dance instructor Tatianna Mays in her weekly dance class (Sundays, 5 p.m. at Channing Murray). All drummers will learn/improve on their hand drum technique on the djembe, and stick technique on the dunduns, through practice exercises and playing the accompaniment parts to the rhythms. Intermediate and advanced players will learn and practice the role of the lead drummer, as well as advanced dundun parts and variations. This class is a great opportunity for dancers to gain a better understanding of the rhythms!

Please email Gordon ( with any questions, if you do not have your own drum to bring, and to confirm ahead of time that you will be attending the class.