Sun Drummers of United Africa Ensemble
A class for intermediate and advanced percussion students—collectively known as the Sun Drummers of United Africa Ensemble, or SDOUAE—meets Sunday afternoons with Tacuma King and mentors such as actor and director Achebe Hoskins, percussionist Kele’ Nitoto and dancer Sydney Coultier. Tacuma and his SDOUAE students have also collaborated with dance instructor Titilayo Makini, providing the music and rhythms for her Saturday afternoon West African children’s dance class.
SDOUAE offers young people a unique and wonderful opportunity to develop advanced percussion skills, study with accomplished jazz musicians, collaborate with traditional African dancers and perform for the public.
Over the years Tacuma and his young SDOUAE drummers have performed at numerous festivals, gatherings and venues throughout Northern California. Performances at jazz clubs, festivals, dance classes, weddings, birthdays and other celebrations not only showcase students’ skills and talents but also help build their self-confidence and self-esteem.
In 2008 they had an extraordinary opportunity to travel and perform at a cultural arts festival in China, where they presented a lively, educational program combining Gumboot, a dance originating from the gold mines of South Africa, with African drumming, American jazz tap, and song.
“While having fun with music and dance children learn to listen attentively, stay focused and have self-confidence. Equally important, they learn about caring and respect—for themselves and for others.”
– Clarence McElhaney Jr., parent