Ayanda Clarke

Ayanda Clarke is a second-generation African American percussionist accomplished in his own right. Over the past twenty years, he has had the opportunity to study with master musicians from around the world, and continues to research a wide range of percussion styles and traditions. As a student of African Diasporic percussion, Ayanda's research has included musical traditions of Guinea, Mali, Sengal, Ghana, Angola, Cuba, Brazil, the West Indies, and the African Americas. Ayanda's first professional appearance was at age 5 with The International African-American Ballet in Dance Africa at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Since then, he has performed professionally in a variety of forms and formats. Ayanda was a member of the Kairaba West African Dance Company led by master drummer Souleyemane Diop, former member of the National Ballet of Senagal for 4 years. He can be heard on the CD Mo Ngye Mo Ani by The New Talking Drums with his mentor, Ghanaian Master Drummer Abraham K. Adzenyah. He has toured both the United States and Europe with Julio Leitao's Batoto Yetu Children's African Dance Company, with whom he has performed with since its inception in 1990. Ayanda was formerly the Musical Director of SanKofa Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium based in Hartford, CT. Ayanda received his Bachelor's degree in Music from Wesleyan University in 1998. While earning his degrees, he functioned for 5 years as Teaching and Course Assistant to Mr. Adzenyah in the Music department's West African Music and Culture program. Ayanda also has a Master's degree in ethno-musicology at Wesleyan. As a well-rounded percussionist, Ayanda takes pride in his ability to proficiently approach, participate, and contribute to the music of different genres. He has recorded with artists and groups including Abraham Adzenyah, The Amistad Project, and Palms Down among others. Television appearances include, The Late Show with David Letterman with pop-artist Jewell, and Good Morning America with Batoto Yetu. Ayanda seeks to always further his study of the percussive arts, and to continue the creative implementation of musical traditions.