Akoma @ All Souls

What is Akoma @ All Souls?

Akoma @ All Souls is a partnership with the West African drumming ensemble, Akoma Drummers. The program is a multi-cultural, multi-generational introduction to a variety of West African percussion instruments and their polyrhythms, songs, and cultural history.

Drumming is a fully cooperative, team-building, conscious-raising activity. Using a combination of structure, spontaneity, and constant encouragement in a safe space, our program not only teaches students to play a culturally rich instrument, but also strengthens their listening and cooperating skills and provides them a creative outlet for managing such emotions as anger and depression. We often see drastic improvements in students’ self-confidence, social comfort, and ability to focus.

Is Akoma @ All Souls for me?

The program was originally geared toward youth (ages 12-18) and their parents, but is now open to all members (age 12+) of all musical abilities.

Do I need to have my own drum to participate?

No! In fact, drums are being made in Ghana especially for us. However, if you do have a djembe or similar hand drum, please feel free to bring it. This will allow us to involve as many students as possible.

When does the group meet?

Akoma rehearses September through May. You can see the rehearsal and performance schedule and other special events on our Google Calendar below (once they're scheduled).

Akoma has been meeting every Monday evening, 7:30-9:00 pm, in All Souls’ sanctuary. The day of the week may change but the time will likely stay the same.

As with all of All Souls’ music programs, participating in this program should be a priority in your schedule. Everyone misses a rehearsal now and then, but we ask that students be respectful of one another and of the instructors by minimizing absences and communicating unavoidable absences ahead of time.

Is there a fee to join?

Joining the program is free, but donations to help cover drums and other program costs are gladly accepted and appreciated!

What can I expect in a rehearsal and performance?

You will play a variety of percussion instruments—not just djembes, but others such as cowbells and shakers. You may not play on every song. And you’ll have ample opportunities for singing (ability to sing is a bonus, but not a requirement).

What happens on performance days?

Performances take place during Sunday services at All Souls. Most performances will be on days that there are two services (starting at 9:30 and 11:15 am). Call time will be 8:30 am for those days.

In the case of summer services, when there is only one service (10:15 am), call time will be 9:00 am.

What will I wear for performances?

When performing, we wear dashikis (which you can buy for $20 before our first performance) and black pants.


Djembe technique

Akoma @ All Souls tutorial videos

Summer learning opportunities at Hands On Drums

Join the drum circle at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park every Sunday, 3:30-9:00 pm

Additional questions? Comments?

Contact Director of Music and Arts Jen Hayman (jhayman@allsouls.ws).