Francis Awe and the Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble

Francis Awe, Director
Omowale Orisayomi, Assistant Director

The Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble was founded in 1985 by Master Drummer Francis Awe, in response to the growing international interest in the Talking Drum. Since it's inception, the Ensemble of drummers and dancers has educated and entertained audiences worldwide.

The Yoruba name for the Talking Drum is Dundun, which means "sweet sound." It is called the Talking Drum because its sound emulates the tonal quality of the Yoruba language.

Currently based in Los Angeles, The Ensemble has performed at such landmark venues as the J. Paul Getty Museum, Disneyland, the Los Angeles Theatre Center, and the Celebration for Nelson Mandela at the Los Angeles Coliseum; as well as at major cultural festivals such as the African Marketplace, the Los Angeles Festival and the World Festival of Sacred Music.

Since 1995, the Ensemble has performed its annual "Day of Remembrance, Day of Healing," to celebrate and commemorate the survival of African and Yoruba culture, and its unifying influence throughout the world. As Francis Awe notes on the African Heritage Network's 1997 broadcast of "African Portraits.": "You can still hear the root of African music in any music anywhere in the world today."

It is the legacy of that music that inspires the Ensemble and destines it to reunify the human race regardless of color or language, through its music, song and dance.

The Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble is available for lecture demonstrations, workshops, touring and performances. The sound of the Talking Drum and Yoruba song can be heard on the CD, "Oro Ijinle" (Deep Words), Francis Awe's first recording on Bindu Records.

Future goals include the establishment of a permanent Cultural Center where African music and dance can be presented and archived on a continuous basis.

For further information on The Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble, call (323) 294-7445.

Los Angeles Theatre Center 1996

John Anson Ford Theatre 1997