Special Events

Signature Artists Series

We are honored to provide an opportunity for students to experience learning from local and traveling artists of distinction. The Signature Artists Series is dedicated to bringing the best artists to our own backyard for the enrichment of our students and our local community.

Past featured teachers and performers:

Drummer Aly Camara Dancer Marietou Cisse West African percussion bandAly Camara & Marietou Cisse taught a series of djembe, dunun, percussive dance, and krin workshops in High Point and Raleigh / Durham in the fall of 2017, and in Cary and Raleigh in June 2018 and June 2019.

Aly is an energetic and fun teacher who brings a wealth of talent, experience and knowledge garnered from his time as lead drummer for Les Merveilles de Guinea. Marietou Cisse is from the Republique of Guinea, West Africa and has been dancing since she was eight years old.


fode lavia camara cdFode Lavia Camara returned to teach an all-levels workshop featuring one of the rhythms on his latest CD, the live recording of the KALOUM DJEMBE Festival, which took place in Conakry, Guinea in 2017.


Mande Strings Cradle of Jazz Project Mali musicians tour

Kokanko Sata Doumbia, Lamine Soumano and Assaba Dramé delivered a modern exploration of the traditional stringed music of Mali, West Africa in October 2016. An exquisite demonstration of both modern and traditional Malian sounds, the Strings Showcase features guitar, kora, vocals, and two Malian ngoni styles – the lute-styled jeli ngoni, and the harp styled kamelen “youth” ngoni. A collaboration with The Cradle of Jazz Project. Proceeds of the concert support this semester’s exchange, plus the endowment of an annual semester abroad for these Malian artist children. For more information, visit the Cradle of Jazz’s website.


Monette Marino on djembe

Monette Marino, solo artist, world percussionist and teacher for over 25 years. She taught Cuban and West African drumming classes in June 2016 for us in Durham. Learn about her iPhone app for drummers on Monette’s website.


Forrest “Fode” Matthews had just returned from a two month trip to Guinea, West Africa when he taught in February 2016. Full of stories, rhythms and information to share!


Greg Ince, drummer and educator

Greg Ince, professional West African drummer with more than three decades of experience teaching African drumming and dancing in schools across the US.


Khalid Abdul N’Faly Saleem, African music specialist and musical director of Sankofa.


Aly Camara, creator of the drum and dance camp SaMato and also provides artistic direction for the Atlanta based Sewe Village.


Beverly Botsford, cross-cultural percussionist and educator.


Helen Bond and Fode Camara of Medusa Drums.


Sandy Blocker, accompanist in the Dance Dept. at Elon University.


Atiba Rorie, founder of Africa Unplugged and percussionist.


Bolokada Conde master drummer from West AfricaBolokada Conde, Malinke Djembefola.


Will Ridenour and Sean Gaskell, duet and solo performances on the Kora.

Happy Beat Drumming drums in High Point Christmas Parade
Happy Beat Drumming group in the High Point Christmas Parade