I play doumbek (Middle Eastern goblet drum), frame drums (tar, daf, & dayereh), zills (finger cymbals), & West African djembe. My percussion education began with zills as a part of tribal-style bellydancing, when my dance teacher Lacy Perry taught her “Zills Boot Camp.” Soon after I was able to take a couple of half-day doumbek workshops with Marcus Octavius & Philip Mayer, but I didn’t get serious about it until I attended the Asheville Percussion Festival in 2014. After that weekend, I started working with the frame drum, which was very natural since it uses similar strokes & the same rhythms as the doumbek in Middle Eastern music. I continued to work mostly on my own, attending the Asheville Percussion Festival in 2015 & 2016 as well as grabbing workshops & the occasional private lesson with Carmine Guida & Issam Houshan when they came to Atlanta for events.
I started with West African djembe in Monette Marino’s two-hour session at the 2016 APF, then threw myself into the deep end two weeks later with her intermediate (!) djembe workshop in Atlanta. Talk about a crash course in African drumming!! I met Atlanta djembe instructor Amy Jackson there, and took classes with her for the next two and a half years.
For the last three years I have attended the APF week-long Intensive program, where we spend 5 hours each day in drumming classes. Those of us in the intermediate group have an additional 90 minutes of rehearsal each afternoon to prepare for performing at the Masters Concert at the end of the week. What a thrill to learn from, & share a stage with, such masters as Omar Faruk Tekbilek & his son Murat Tekbilek, Glen Velez & Loire Cotler, Naghmeh Farahmand, Bolokada Conde, Yousuf Sheronik, Marcos Santos, Monette Marino, Raquy Danziger, Kasiva Mutua, and others!
I am also a founding member of Heart Beat, the “house band” at Global Dance Studio in Roswell, GA. As of April, 2018, I have taken over the leadership of the group as well as coordinating the studio’s drumming instruction.
Recently I joined the Emerson Drummers, a West African drumming group under the direction of Chuck Cogliandro & based out of Emerson Unitarian Universalist Church in Marietta, GA. I also play dunun & djembe with Rhythm Healer Eric Olson for his First Friday drum circle at Unity North Church in Marietta. I am slowly but steadily progressing through Marla Leigh Goldstein’s Frame Drum Academy 101 program. Continuing doumbek instruction is harder to find locally, so thank goodness for videos, Skype, & YouTube!
My focus with drumming is a balance of good technique and rhythmic feel, but always emphasizing having fun!