BORN TO DRUM: HAWAII        January 18 - 27, 2019                                                     

Women drummers are invited to join us for a  jam-packed week at Leo Nani Farms on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii. Our faculty and Hawaiian guest artists will lead seven full days of workshops, two additional days of concerts, and enriching island adventures as we explore the traditions of Jamaica, Hawaii, Latin America and West Africa. This ten-day Hawaiian experience provides an opportunity for in-depth study with maestra teachers and community as we drum, dance and sing together.

BORN TO DRUM Women’s Drum Camp was created in 2006 by the non-profit Women Drummers International to empower women and girls in all aspects of their lives through the message of the drum, which represents not only a musical experience, but a cultural and healing experience as well. Women Drummers International is committed to creating a positive and empowering environment for women to teach, learn, and perform this incredible art form.

Leo Nani Farms is very proud to host this gathering at Ha Lau Leo Nani.  In Born To Drum: Hawaii 2019, there will be 30 participants divided into two groups according to experience and level of drumming expertise.  Each day, participants will spend equal time in small group (approx. 15)  and large group (30- all camp) settings. We will enjoy daily lunches together on the farm, take a day trip to a volcano, and have time to enjoy the natural surroundings.  Teachers and courses listed below.  Please bring your own percussion instruments: conga drums, djembes, and/or dunun.
View the daily schedule


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Reserve your spot today with a $300 deposit or full payment!
Tuition includes all sessions, welcome and closing dinners, lodging and activities.  The Kama'aina option does not include lodging.  Please note: Payment is non-refundable; in case of cancellation, funds may be used towards a future Hawaii workshop.

Private room $2450
Shared room $2050
Kama'aina (no lodging).
Campers and commuters

HAWAII TRAVEL INFO - Lots of useful tips!


What an incredible experience to be here in Hawaii with these amazing women on a sacred land, with my master teacher Rhiannon!! It is such a privilege to learn rhythms from Jamaica, Cuba and the Congo and these rhythms are being taught by women to women, it is a beautiful ceremony. There is great sisterhood here. There is great wisdom here. It has been a deep journey learning about Hawaiian mythology and it's relationship to nature and feminine power. "Pele" is the fire goddess found in the active volcano that is ever present here on the island, she is one that of the most significant figures in Hawaiian mythology and she is the goddess of creation and destruction! Talk about inspiration from the land!! Thank you Born to Drum 2019 !!  Bonnie Smith , AU 

Dunun Drum
Dance and Song

Skill and grace. - NEW YORK TIMES 

Mabiba Baegne is an internationally acclaimed teacher, drummer and choreographer of traditional and contemporary African Dance. Mabiba was born in Congo Brazzaville and initiated into dancing by her grandparents at the age of eight. She is an inspiring drummer. In addition to her Congolese dancing, Mabiba has studied West African dunun drumming with master drummer Famoudou Konate in Guinea and she was the first woman to teach this form in the United States. Mabiba is also an acclaimed singer and theatre performer and has toured internationally for many years.


Session 1:  Learning the two sounds and bells on the Dununs (Bass drums from Guinea )
Session 2:  Exploring each Rhythmic part on the Kenkeni, Sangban and Dunumba  (Dunun drums from West Africa
Session 3:  Learning songs and history of the Dununs. Where they came and their purpose in the community.


Session 1:  Learning fundamental rhythms from Guinea and Mali
Session 2:  Learning dance movements from the Malinke Sousou people, and more. 
Session 3:  Exploring traditional rhythms and modern rhythms of West Africa.

Jamaican Roots Riddems
Song, Drum & Dance
West African Djembe

Ouida Lewis ... started on the drums then moved into tap dancing...the audience totally ate it up. - JAMAICA OBSERVER

Ouida Lewis educator and percussionist/hand drummer, ihas been a lecturer at Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts. She teaches traditional rhythms of her island home Jamaica, the original sound of the Reggae genre, Afro-Cuban, West African Djembe and Dununs.  She is also a tap dancer and personal trainer.  She teaches both children and adults in an effort to pass on the knowledge of the evolution of Jamaican music. Ouida says, “This is important to me as I realize that people are becoming less aware of the origins of our music and the enormous rich culture it spans from, thus losing a sense of self. Together with a group of educators we hold and teach the history of the traditional Jamaican folk forms.  It’s a long-time dream of mine to share Jamaican traditional rhythms outside of Jamaica.”




Session 1:  History of Jamaican traditional Rhythms
Session 2:  Basic Jamaican Folk Forms
Session 3:  Exploring Mento Rhythms as a genre w songs & meaning

Session 1:  Journey through Jamaica’s Simple & Compound duple rhythms
Session 2:  Rhythmic Journey from parish to Parish with Songs & Movement
Session 3:  NyahBinghi Movements – Root to Rise

Bembe! Rhythms of the Orisha
Bembe! Songs of the Orisha
Fundamentals of Rhythm

All of us at the San Francisco Bay Times were completely blown away by legendary drummer Carolyn Brandy... We all marveled at how Brandy effortlessly worked with her extremely talented team, inspiring them to reach their high potentials. She is a true professional, and it really shows. - SAN FRANCISCO BAY TIMES

Carolyn Brandy has been drumming for over 45 years. She has been instrumental in bringing women to the spirit and healing of the Drum. Carolyn is the Artistic Director of Women Drummers International and co-creator of the Born to Drum Women’s Drum Camp. She was also the founder of the Bay Area’s favorite marching band, Sistah Boom in 1981. In 1976, Carolyn co-founded the popular band, Alive! that toured the nation for almost 10 years and has 4 recordings to its credit. She has worked in the SF Bay area for many years as a composer, performer, teacher and cultural worker.
Carolyn is an expert in the folkloric drumming styles found throughout the island of Cuba. She has been a practitioner of the Yoruba-based Cuban religion, Regla de Ocha, also known as Santeria, since 1977. She was initiated as a priest of the religion in Havana, Cuba by Amelia Pedroso in 2000.
Carolyn has led six successful cultural tours to the Island of Cuba to study Folkloric music. She has organized workshops in Havana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Santiago De Cuba, and Guantanamo, where the groups studied with masters of Afro-Cuban drumming and dance. 


Session 1:  Fundamentals of Rhythm
Session 2:  Conga Drum Basics  
Session 3:  Bembe Rhythm with songs

Session 1:  Fundamentals of Rhythm - Polyrhyhmn
Session 2:  Bembe: Conga Drum/Bell/Chekere
Session 3:  Bembe: Song, Rhythm & Movement

Circle Singing in The Vocal River

Rhiannon is a LIGHTNING BOLT. The charge is continuous, illuminating and revitalizing.
Susan Lachmann, Women On Air

Rhiannon is a vocal artist with a vision of music as a vehicle for innovation, healing, transformation, and social change. Rhiannon’s book about her life and teaching methods, Vocal RiverThe Skill and Spirit of Improvisation, was published in 2013.  A vibrant, gifted singer, performance artist, composer, and master teacher, Rhiannon lives and works on her farm on the Big Island of Hawai’i using her singing barn Ha Lau Leo Nani, The Gathering Place as a teaching and performance venue honoring culture and community.   

Bringing improvisation and simple songs into the culture of drumming.

Rhiannon will open the doors of vocal improvisation work through Circle Singing, simple songs with harmony and a series of exercises called Vocal River to develop musical skill and intuition so that each singer finds her own resonant and particular voice. 
The joy of traditional music and improvisation blending in our bodies, resounding in the powerful nature of Hawaii.


Group A: 
Sessions 1-3: Bringing improvisation and simple songs into the culture of drumming.

Group B: 
Sessions 1-3: Bringing improvisation and simple songs into the culture of drumming.


Participants will have the opportunity to work with guest artists from the area.  Stay tuned for more information.