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Drummer Oginga Khamisi with Folayan Spann

  • Broadcast in Culture



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Oginga Khamisi, born in Youngstown, Ohio, and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio where he began his career as a drummer after graduating from high school. Not only does Oginga Khamisi play traditional African drums, he also carves traditional African Drums. The greatest joy of Oginga Khamisi is to share the wealth of his “life’s work” promoting the appreciation for African Culture, sharing his talent, skill and experiences through workshops lectures/ demonstrations, and residences in African Drums. In 1978 under the instruction of Dele Ejioba Baile McKinght of Washington D.C. Oginga carved his first Djembe drum at The African Culture Center “Agebeluta.” Since that time Oginga has learned to make various traditional African instruments. During the years of 1980-1983, he received training in drumming from Cosanan African Drum and Dance Conference at the Institute for the Study of African Culture, in St. Louis, Missouri. At the institute, he learned special hand techniques traditionally cultivated for centuries from Senegal, The Gambia and Guinea, West Africa. In 1983, he learned to make the necessary tools used in the carving of drums, by studying the art of blacksmithing, at the Studbaker Farm located in Tipp City, Ohio.From 1989-1998, Oginga studied African drumming in Washington, D.C. at the Kankouran West African Dance Company Conference. There he learned more drum patterns from various master drummers.In 1990, while under Oginga’s musical direction, Oginga, and seven members of the Afrikan-American Drum and Dance Ensemble toured Senegal, and The Gambia, West Africa studying and experiencing the culture of African people. Oginga attended several sessions of instruction on drum techniques from the Wolof, Jola, Mandinka, and Susu people.