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Robin “Bountourabi” Leftwich has been a student of West African art and culture for over 25 years. Her three trips to Guinea, West Africa have given her a unique and authentic perspective on the role of the djembe in African ceremonies, celebrations, and everyday life.
Bountou’s combined experiences and training have allowed her to become known as a very respected and knowledgeable teacher. She has a special talent for sharing her love of the djembe and African culture with students of all levels. In 2010, Bountou co-founded Happy Beat Drumming with Rachel Juren. Since that time, she has traveled throughout the Southeast teaching drumming, drum-building, performing, consulting, and providing workshops.
Bountou has studied in Guinea with Fode Moussa Camara and various teachers from the Gbassikolo Ballet. She has also studied with Aly Camara, Mohammed Decosta, Bolokada Conde, Nansady Keita, Famoudou Konate, Mamady Keita, John Scalici, Jim Donovan, Ubaka Hill, Bill Scheidt, and Tom Harris. Additionally, Bountou is a graduate of the Therapeutic Drumming Instructor Training program with Tom Harris.
The sum of Bountou’s philosophy is, “When I learn, I learn to give away, not to keep. This isn’t a great secret to hold onto, it’s a tradition meant to be shared. May I forever find myself to be of service to the djembe.”
Rachel Juren, co-owner of Happy Beat Drumming, has been a student of West African drumming for 8 years. She teaches djembe and dunun as well as facilitating drum circles and group events. Rachel has combined her love of leadership studies to create a series of rhythm-based team building and leadership workshops. In addition to teaching, Rachel is also a drum-builder. She makes custom dununs and ashikos.
She travels throughout the Southeast providing workshops and teaching drumming. Rachel has studied under Robin “Bountourabi” Leftwich, Bill Scheidt, Aly Camara, Mohammed Decosta, Bolokada Conde, Nansady Keita, Ubaka Hill, and Jim Donovan.