outreach programs

  • Ongoing

    African drumming workshop with 9th-generation drummer

    outreach programs


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For nearly two decades Southwest Roots Music has provided free educational outreach activities for the community, reaching more than 10,000 families & children, including interactive demonstrations and workshops with internationally touring artists (among them, a fiddle-drenched exposé on Cajun music by Bousoleil’s Michael Doucet at the Thirsty Ear Festival and a beautiful program by the Be Good Tanyas at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum), dance lessons (zydeco lessons prior to concerts by the likes of Buckwheat Zydeco and Dwayne Dopsie), and in-school programs (interactive programs with  Carolina Chocolate Drops, Po’ Girl, Otis Taylor, and so on).

Our primary outreach program brings ninth-generation Nigerian drummer Akeem Ayanniyi into K-12 schools and community centers. Akeem heads the Santa Fe-based troupe Agalu, an ensemble from Nigeria that keeps alive traditional Yoruba stories, rituals and mythology through drumming, storytelling and dance. Akeem engages students in conversation about the continent of Africa, framed within his own personal story about growing in Nigeria. In addition to stories and song, he creates an onsite ensemble with the kids using the traditional talking drum, ashiko, djembe and bata drums. Akeem has toured much of the world and performed at the Smithsonian Institute; the Brooklyn Academy of Music; the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe; Afrikadey! in Calgary; the New Mexico Jazz & International Music Festival; the International Folk Art Festival; and the Thirsty Ear Festival.

Akeem has worked with thousands of children, families, and staff through our outreach programs at Acequia Madre Elementary, Acorn Camp, Agua Fria Elementary, Atalaya Elementary, Aspen School, Children’s Adventure Company, Chimayo School, Dragonfly Elementary, E.J. Martinez Elementary, Eldorado Elementary, La Mariposa Montessori, Little Earth School, Mandela Intl. Magnet School, Monica Roybal Community Center, Nava Elementary, Pojoaque High, Pojoaque Valley Middle School, Salazar Elementary, Sandia Vista Elementary, Santa Fe Public Library (La Farge, Southside and Main library branches), Wood Gormley Elementary, and more.

If you are involved with a NM school or community organization and would like to take advantage of free Southwest Roots Music K-12 programming, please contact us at ThirstyEarFest@gmail.com.