Akoma @ All Souls
Akoma @ All Souls is a partnership with West African drumming ensemble, Akoma Drummers. Under the direction of Kristen Arant, the program gives an introduction to a variety of West African percussion instruments and their accompanying polyrhythms and songs. The program rehearses on Monday evenings fall-spring, performs regularly for church services, and is open to students of all musical abilities, age 12+. For more information, contact Director of Music and Arts Jen Hayman, (firstname.lastname@example.org), or Program Director Kristen Arant (email@example.com).
Bele Bele Rhythm Collective
The Bele Bele Rhythm Collective is an intergenerational, diverse group of ~20 women from DC and surrounding areas who all share a passion for drumming. Founded in 2008 and led by Drumlady Kristen Arant, the BBRC performs tightly sewn compositions of polyrhythms on dun-uns and djembes, along with exciting breaks, contagious songs, and dancing. The BBRC performs to celebrate unity and diversity, and to spread the joy and power of West African drumming to the community at-large. The BBRC recently released their first album, “Roots.”
Drumlady Kristen Arant teaches private and group drumming workshops for groups of women and girls, as well as mixed groups (male and female) of children, youth, adults and elders at private homes, schools, youth centers, businesses, conferences and organizations throughout the DC metro area and the mid-Atlantic region. Kristen has developed her own curriculum, called Drumming Empowerment, and teaches West African djembe, dun-un and bell playing techniques along with traditional West African rhythms and songs including cultural reference. She also teaches her own compositions and arrangements, and is skilled in creating group compositions using guided improvisation. The easiest way to find Kristen is to come to her weekly class which happens every Sunday from 4-5:30pm at Hands on Drums, 602 Rhode Island Ave NE in DC, or to book her for a private session or group class at your home or facility. The easiest way to contact Kristen is via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hands on Drums
Founded by Michael Kweku Owusu and Kristen Arant, Hands On Drums is a Pop-Up Store, Community Space and Arts Empowerment initiative that celebrates and supports the work of Ghana craft makers while delivering hands-on drumming and arts experiences to uplift communities. Our beautiful handcrafted drums, clothing, jewelry and accessories are procured through Direct Trade. All pricing and fees are negotiated between Kweku and his community partners in the Arts Center of Accra, Ghana. A fair wage is ensured for all our craftworkers.
Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project
The Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based out of Washington, DC and founded by Kristen Arant. Since 2005 YWDEP has been organizing a summer enrichment program for urban teen girls. Young women are enrolled from all wards of the District as well as neighboring counties in Maryland, and are ages 8-18. They engage in 12-14 weeks of weekly intensives with established DC artists who also serve as positive female role models and mentors. The girls begin by learning to play the djembe from Kristen, who teaches them to use the drum as a tool for building self-esteem, self-expression, personal growth and healing. Young women open up as they learn to drum, and are then guided to journal, write their own poetry and songs, choreograph dances and skits, and perform in front of live audiences. Each summer ends with a final performance, which serves as a rite of passage for young women who enter the program shy, apprehensive, and unable to process their emotions and reach completion as self-assured young women who are not only aware of their talents and wisdom, but able to express these to audiences of family, peers, community members, and strangers.