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Presenter Bios

 
 

Neil and Ayanda Clarke

Ayanda Clarke is a percussionist who researches the musical traditions of Guinea, Mali, Sengal, Ghana, Angola, Cuba, Brazil, the West Indies, and the African Americas. He was formerly the Musical Director of SanKofa Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium and a member of the Kairaba West African Dance Company, led by master drummer Souleyemane Diop. He has performed with Julio Leitao’s Batoto Yetu Children’s African Dance Company and recorded with groups such as Abraham Adzenyah, The Amistad Project, Palms Down, and The New Talking Drums. Ayanda has a Bachelor’s degree in Music and a Master’s degree in Ethno-Musicology from Wesleyan University.

 

For over forty years, Neil Clarke has studied percussion and performed, collaborated, and recorded with percussion masters around the world. In addition to his ongoing collaborations with Randy Weston and fellow African Rhythms sidemen Alex Blake, Benny Powell, and Talib Kibwe, Neil has played folkloric, jazz, pop, rhythm and blues, gospel, and classical orchestra music with Harry Belafonte, Onaje Allen Gumbs, Dianne Reeves, David Sanborn, Miriam Makeba, Letta Mbulu, Carlos Garnet, Paul Winter, Spirit Ensemble, Tulivu Donna Cumberbatch, Noel Pointer, Arthur Prysock, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and International African American Ballet. He also performed in the Broadway production of Timbuktu, the feature film Beat Street, and numerous television programs.

 

 

 

Neil and Ayanda Clarke

New York City, USA