For Adults

Traditional Haitian Music Workshops in Haitian Drum, Dance and Song.

Beginner, Advanced and Master Classes all can be customized according to audience level, size of group, schedule, and available resources.

Percussion technique, hand and stick drumming, Afro-Haitian rhythms, melodies, and dances are presented in a dynamic workshop setting with Bonga, a skilled educator and master of the Haitian drum. Through demonstration, hands-on participation, and practice students learn rhythms, songs, and dances from Haiti including: Ibo, Kongo, Nago, Mayi, Rara, Banda, Yanvalou, and many more.

The spiritual significance of the drum in Haiti is explained in terms of how it is crafted, baptized, and utilized as a sacred instrument. Drums from Bonga’s collection are demonstrated in terms of their raw materials and traditional use. Rhythms are identified according to geographic region and corresponding African nations. The term "voodoo" is demystified and brought to light as "Vodun," a complex divination system and traditional way of life. Kreyol songs (with English lyric sheets) are practiced and described in relation to struggle, sacrifice, and celebration. Students are taught Afro-Haitian drum patterns and traditional drumming techniques that encourage proper placement of hands on drum.

Bonga has taught private and group instruction for the past 15 years. He is a credentialed artist with teaching experience at universities, public and private schools, festivals, arts centers and grants programs. He has educated all ages and levels including special needs, children and the elderly. He has performed all over the world and records regularly in various genres. He is a favorite accompanist for dancers and vocalists. Bonga has presented his educational workshops in Japan, San Francisco, the Midwest, and New York. He is currently researching the roots of African music as manifest in Haiti. Full Bio

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Activities are structured according to audience level, schedule and resources.
Example: A drum class can be followed with Afro-Haitian dance class. Students play drum patterns, sing kreyol melodies and move to rhythms. Everyone is encouraged to drum, dance, and jam in the session finale. A brief closing ceremony and salute ends the workshop. The program can be formatted for a variety of settings including Master Classes at colleges and universities; artists residencies; museums; libraries; corporate settings; drum circles. This upbeat, educational workshop can be formatted for beginners or advanced students.

The program can be formatted for:

  • Universities
  • Artists Residencies
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Corporate Settings
  • Drum Circles
Open level for beginners through advanced. Advanced classes focus on technique while beginners learn drum fundamentals and the basics of melody, tempo and rhythm. Those with interest in world beat, percussion, or traditional folk culture and history are encouraged to attend. For groups that include children and/or the elderly Bonga presents an outstanding all-ages workshops.
Bonga typically provides percussion and drums for a maximum of 20 and which can be shared for larger groups. Additional participants can bring a drum or use body percussion. Facilities can provide whatever is available. Bells, horns, and other percussion instruments are welcome. Extra instruments are provided.


Workshop References:

Bonga has been drumming since the age of six and has taught private and group instruction for the past 15 years. His workshops have been hailed by presenters and educators as "magical" for their success in helping people step outside-the-box while using rhythm as a tool for social awareness, finding common ground and changing perspectives through non-verbal communication.

Bonga has presented at schools and universities in Japan, San Francisco, the Midwest and New York including:

For more information,  please see Curiculum Vitae and Educational References.

For bookings, planning sessions and more information, please contact us:

phone: 917-484-2668