Passport West Series

Passport Series - West African drummingIntensive course with Robin “Bountourabi” Leftwich. Designed to meet the demands we’ve been hearing from you! The course will include rhythms, technique, playing ballet dununs, meter madness, traditional and improvisational solos, and more. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from Robin. She is a fun and dynamic instructor who shares a wealth of information about the music, culture, and art of West Africa in her classes.

Passport West classes:

passport west drumming class Asheville Robin Leftwich drummer

Passport West classes are select Saturdays in Asheville, North Carolina. Note: there is also a Passport Series in Cary NC. Open to all skill levels.

  • In Person class in Asheville with an Online option! Join us for “Introduction & Foundational Rhythms” on Saturday, July 17th from 9am-11am, lunch break, 1pm-4pm. We often go to lunch at Zia Taqueria which has very nice outside seating. Open to all skill levels.

You will need your djembe and dununs (if you have them) for this class. See workshop description below.

The in-person classes are $100 each or $50 if you’ve taken the class before. The price for Zoom class is $50 for first timers or $30 if you’ve taken the class before. Payment can be made using PayPal to*

*REGISTER: Registration is confirmed with your PayPal payment to When you register, please send an email to and she will send the Zoom info to you.

We accept cash, check, and credit cards. Although we encourage you to take each workshop in succession for the best learning experience, it is not required.

Register & Pay for Passport West Series here:


Online registration and payment is preferred, but we do offer the option to pay at the door. If you wish to pay at the door, you must register first by emailing Ann Lovell at Indicate the class(es) you wish to attend the the form of payment you will be using. You may also call (336) 880-3536 to register or receive additional information about the series.

Students attending Passport Classes will receive a Passport Series Certificate of Completion once your Passport Book has been stamped with attendance verification for all 8 sessions. Don’t have a Passport Book? Ask for one at the next session. We will also gladly stamp your book and issue a certificate to you for classes completed prior to the booklet program.

The course schedule is as follows:

Introduction and Foundational Rhythms

djembesFoundational rhythms are rhythms that every student should know because they contain elements fundamental to learning West African music (timing, handing, patterns, etc ) that can be used as building blocks to accelerate further learning.

During the Foundational Rhythms class we will cover the following:
History of the rhythm
Djembe and Dunun parts
Rudiments and improved sound/technique
Reading/Writing djembe/dunun music
And much more

Rhythms that Build

Drumming fun with djembes and dununs

In this session, students will learn how to use rhythms as building blocks – exploring the similarities between rhythms that allow for a natural progression of learning and teaching. Students will be taught rhythms that are easily learned from their pre-existing knowledge of foundational rhythms.

Meter Madness

In this session, students will learn rhythms in duple and triple meter timing – exploring the use of 4 and 8 beat rhythms along with the accompanying language with both meters to facilitate in playing and leading rhythms inside both meters.

Ballet Dunun, Dunun

Robin Leftwich and Rachel Juren play West African drums and teach rhythmsThe Ballet Dunun and dunun class will begin with basic dunun techniques and then move into more complex rhythms.  The day will end with students learning how to translate traditional dunun parts to a ballet-style setup.  Being able to play ballet dununs allows students to hold classes and drum circles with fewer people, gives students flexibility in performances, and provides them with a deeper understanding of the dunun melodies and the relationship of the dununs to the djembe.

Do-able Dununbas

The dununba family of rhythms is both rich and complex. This class is designed to expose students to a dununba rhythm and to help them understand the intricacies of playing the djembe and dunun parts. This class will also help students play more challenging dunun parts that are upbeat and completing.

Traditional Solos

Robin playing dununIn this class, students will learn some traditional solos. Traditional solos are solos that are developed around traditional dance moves/steps and are specific to a rhythm. The solos will help the student be able to drum for dancers and will also act as building blocks for improvisational solos.

Improvisational Solos

This class will teach you how to use traditional solos as a starting point for building your own improvisational solos. Basic techniques and common solo licks will be revealed to the students who will then have the opportunity to practice soloing in a failure-free environment.

Performance class

The rubber hits the road in the Performance class. The Performance class is a culmination of the work done so far in the passport series.  This class will take 2 rhythms and create performance pieces that are ready to go by the end of the day.

What to bring:

DjembesYour Djembe
Dunun (these will be provided if needed)
Sense of humor!!!
Audio recorder
Did we mention sense of humor?!?!
Wear comfortable clothes

Be ready to learn and have fun!!!! Reserve your spot today!