MABIBA BAEGNE began her career touring at age 18 with the National Ballet of the Congo as a principal dancer. With the help of a UNESCO grant, she went to Paris to study Western and West African dance, and  toured with Les Grand Ballet d’Afrique Noir and with Bolle Bantu. With Bolle Bantu, she worked as artistic director, choreographer and taught dancing, drumming and singing. Mabiba has worked with Grand Master Djembe players Famoudou Konate and Mamady Keita, and taught at the Zig Zag School of African dancing and drumming in Belgium.  

As a singer, Mabiba Baegne has toured with Salif Keita, Mamady Keita, and Samba Ngo. She appeared on television and radio with French singer France Gall, she is featured on Mamady’s CD Wassolon, and was a member of Sewa Kan. 

Mabiba Baegne is the first woman to teach traditional West African (Guinea) dununs in the US. She has given masterclasses at colleges and universities, and continues to teach and perform.

A native of Jamaica, OUIDA LEWIS began her career in the Netherlands, performing and teaching . West African drumming and dance, and touring throughout Europe as a dancer and percussionist. She studied in Holland intensively with the legendary Arafan Toure, Ali Ndiaye Rose son of the legendary Dou Dou Ndiaye Rose, as well as countless master drummers from Guinea, Senegal and Mali.

In 2003, Ouida returned to Jamaica and formed her own tap dance school and company, Ryddimlyfe Movement Studio. She appeared at the Ocho Rios Jazz festival and opened with her band Cacique for Ernie Ranglin at The Caves in Negril. She performs with artists such as Seretse Small and the True Democrats and Cuban saxophonist Jesus Fuentes. She is also the percussionist of The Jamaica big band jazz orchestra.

Ouida lectures regularly in West African drumming and Jamaican folk forms. She has been involved with inner city projects, taking the rhythm experience into the volatile communities of Kingston. She travels every summer to Oakland to work with Women Drummers International.

CAROLYN BRANDY is a percussionist, composer, performer, and educator, and cultural worker. She started playing congas in 1968, and has been a pioneer in opening doors for women in the world of percussion. Carolyn is the founder of Women Drummers International, and is the producer of the Born To Drum Camp for Women Drummers. She is also the founder of Sistah Boom, a popular community-based marching band that has been active since 1981. She was a founding member of the all-women jazz quintet Alive! which toured nationally for ten years. Carolyn released a self-produced CD of her own compositions in 1995, entitled Skin Talk.   

Carolyn has been a drummer and student of Cuban folkloric music for over 45 years, and has been a practitioner of the Yoruba-based Cuban religion, Regla de Ocha, also known as Santeria, since 1976. She was initiated as a priest of the religion in Havana, Cuba by Amelia Pedroso in 2000.  She has led six tours to Cuba to study folkloric music and dance, and has organized workshops in Havana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Santiago De Cuba, Guantanamo, and Baracoa where her students have studied with masters of Afro-Cuban Folkloric music.  Carolyn has a degree in music from Holy Names University in Oakland. 

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. Rhiannon is proud to host the BORN TO DRUM: HAWAII in 2019 at Leo Nani Farms and looks forward to being part of this exciting faculty.

A fabled underground figure in vocal jazz, Rhiannon turns improvisation into performance art...With a soft, supple voice and a range that climbs to the sky, she shows what heights jazz singing can reach when it combines disciplined musicianship, with utter fearlessness.  
~ James Gavin, Time Out New York