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West African Drumming

Master drummers across Georgia are filling up classes with individuals eager to learn the ancient art. Georgia contains a wealth of talent in this artistic expression with the inclusion of two local drummers, Peggy Benkeser, a professional musician with twenty years of experience and co founder of Thamyris a music ensemble based in Atlanta and Aly Camara, lead drummer for Les Merveilles d'Afrique of Mohammed Kemoko Sano which performs traditional Guinean drum and dance ballets to international audiences.

Drumming is also being used in the therapeutic treatment of children through programs such as the one at Inner Harbour headed by Tom Harris and Michael Watkins. Through their program children can play West African drumming to help them deal with the problems they face in everyday life. West African drumming may be an ancient art but it is a new beat being heard around Georgia.

To read about Inner Harbour, visit their website.

Educators: West African Drumming

Peggy Benkeser

Peggy Benkeser is a teaching artist with twenty years experience in teaching, arts administration and performance. As a Georgia Council for the Arts approved Artist-in-Residence and Young Audiences of Atlanta Roster Artist, Ms. Benkeser conducts residencies, master classes and performances at schools throughout the state of Georgia.

Ms. Benkeser has extensive performance and recording experience as a soloist and member of chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras. Her most recent CD, "Music for Hammers and Sticks", was released on Innova records in February 2005. Ms. Benkeser has taught at Georgia State University, Clayton College and State University and Emory University. From 1987 - 200, she was the co-founder and artistic director of Thamyris, New Music Group. Under Peggy's guidance, Thamyris received awards for adventurous programming from Meet the Composer/Chamber Music America and received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, American Composer's Forum, Meet the Composer, the Copeland Fund for New Music, and numerous local and state funding agencies.

Peggy currently teaches music for children ages two years through fifth grade at the Cliff Valley School in Atlanta and maintains a private teaching studio where she works with students of all ages and abilities.

Speech Rhythms and Music: Let the Drums do the Talking!

The Art of Teaching Poly-Rhythms Using Language:

A Five Lesson Music and Language Arts Unit for upper Elementary through High School

For Information on African Music and Drums:

African drum history

Traditional rhythms

Virtual drum museum

World percussion instruments

For Information on African Drumming and Dance:

Drumming and Dance

For Information on Music Therapy:

Drumming and Dance