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Soli Drum and Dance Festival, May 22-25, 2009
who we are...
Drums Not Guns - is a Dallas, Texas 501 (c)(3) non-profit membership organization devoted to stopping violence (increase the peace) through the power of percussion; to provide our youth with creative ways to re-channel negative energy...diffuse anger....build team spirit, self-worth, self-esteem, learn to listen better,....and community thru the power of percussion."
Drums Not Guns is a non discriminatory membership organization composed of all people. We welcome anyone who appreciates and values rhythm to join. We are cross-cultural and multi-cultural in our perspective. Drums Not Guns seeks to nurture, celebrate and share our world's percussion traditions, both old and new. Drumming is worldwide. Drumming is a communal activity that brings people together and we believe that all traditions have something to offer our communities. We support efforts to develop, revitalize, and appreciate these traditions within the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, in Texas, North America and the world.
Our goal is to promote the concept of non-violence through drumming. We believe that when people come together to enjoy and play music, greater communication and understanding are fostered and we are reminded of our common humanity and interreliance. Drumming builds community and expresses culture. We want to make drumming accessible, and to create safety and community so that people can experience drumming and dance as the powerful forms of self-expression they can be.
The 2008-2009 Board of Directors
Drums Not Guns
Michael Kenny, MMT, MT-BC — President / Resident Music Therapist
Season Kerr — Secretary / Community Social Activity Coordinator
Randy Harp — Treasurer / Community Outreach Coordinator
Suzanna Brown — Director Media/Marketing / Cultural Liaison
Lucy Watkins - PR /
Happy Shel — Founder / Webmaster
Michael Kenny, MMT - BC
received his Masters degree in Music Therapy at Southern Methodist University. After completing his internship and supervising the creation of hospital music therapy programs, he moved to Dallas where he studied drumming with Greg Beck, Moussa Diabate, Yamoussa Camara, Jamal Mohamed and Jacky Craissac.
Michael has completed the Kalani and Arthur Hull drum circle training and continues to provide services to A.R.T.S for People, Young Audiences of North Texas, Dallas/Garland/Cedar Hill Independent School Districts, Dallas Center for Developmental Disabilities, Richland College and, Redeemer Montessori School.
His volunteer projects include: Music Therapists for Peace, Student Liaison, Board of Directors of A.R.T.S. for People, Drums Not Guns – past and current president of the board, board member and music therapy consultant to the Board of Directors, Gilda’s Club www.gildasclubtx.com . His website is www.drumheart.org.
Treasurer, Community Outreach Coordinator –
has studied music for the last 35 years and plays the dununs, djembe and the double bass. He studied Jazz bass with Ali Mohammed Jackson in Detroit and played bass around the Detroit and Toledo Jazz scene with Eddie Abrams and others for ten years before moving to Dallas.
Randy has concentrated his last seven years on West African rhythms studying with master drummers Yamoussa Camara and Moussa Diabate.
He has been active in Drums Not Guns as the Community Outreach Coordinator and, in 2006, created ongoing weekly drum workshops in McKinney, Texas in cooperation with the City of McKinney Arts Commission and the McKinney Department of Parks and Rec. He is the Executive Director of the highly successful Soli Drum & Dance Festival an annual drum workshop and performance festival in McKinney.
Media/Marketing, Cultural Liaison -
For over 15 years Suzanna (O! Suzanna) has assisted authors with publishing and marketing their books. A graphic designer for over 30 years, she has a degree in fine art history, photography and design.
Most recently Suzanna committed almost three years as one of the original organizers for the Third Women’s International Peace Conference, which took place July 10-15, 2007. Her far-reaching contacts and unbounded enthusiasm earned her the title of “Cultural Liaison/Global Networker.” The Peace Conference line-up had a stellar entertainment roster that included professional women dancers, musicians, drummers, artists and respected indigenous women in native medicine, shamanism and prayer.
A student of African drum and dance since 1994, she has studied with Arthur Hull, Paulo Mattioli, Greg Beck and West African teachers, Babatunde Olatunji, Djeli Moussa Diabate, and Yamoussa Camara. Studied Middle Eastern drum/Doumbek with Jamal Mohamed. She also studied the Healing Power of the Drum with psychotherapist/author Robert Friedman and the frame drum with the amazing Layne Redmond, author of When The Drummers Were Women.
She was on the planning and program committee for the annual Dallas International Festivals and organized for the first five years the Global Community Drum Circles. She also is past DNG Vice President and board member.
She believes. . . . It is time for world unity. The drum brings us together.
We are ALL ONE with each other, the earth and the universe.
Secretary, Social Activity Coordinator –
Season moved to Dallas almost three years ago after she caught drumming fever. She has had experience in a wide range of areas in life. Most recently she ran an eclectic art/music/spiritual retail store here in Dallas. Season has been studying drums with Drums Not Guns, and particular teachers Michael Kenny, Moussa Diabate, and others via workshops, events, etc. She helped plan and work the DNG Soli Festival, and has supported DNG past events with her participation in performances and outings over the past two years.
Season looks forward to using her skills to promote, support, and encourage DNG and its mission to spread peace through the power of percussion. One of her primary goals is to help grow community spirit and expression through art, music, and grass-roots involvement. Season is an active member of the wonderful Dallas drumming community.
semi-retired from the insurance business in 1992, Happy discovered hand drumming at the 2nd International Men's Conference held in Austin. Currently he operates Happy Shel Renovations.
One of his mentors, Babatunde Olatunji - "Master of Drums," a virtuoso of West African percussion, told Shel, in 1992, to go and spread peace thru drumming. By 1994, his friends had renamed him "Happy Shel" because, "he's so happy when he's drumming."
HappyShel has studied West African drumming with Babatunde Olatunji, Mohamed
Diaby, Mohamed Camara, Alseny Sylla, Greg Beck, Yamoussa Camara and Papa Ladji
Happy created the web page, drums.org. Today, over 7100 interested persons, looking for city drum circles, drum and dance teachers, workshops, etc., hit the web site daily. In 1995, he founded Drums Not Guns, a fun 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to creating peace in many ways.
In 1999, sensing peoples desires for learning traditional West African dance and drum rhythms, HappyShel created Afrikan Village Dance & Drum Camps - whereby master West African dance and drum artists are brought to Texas for residential intensive camps.
For more information contact:
Suzanna Brown, email@example.com 214-906-7528
Past Advisory Board:
Dr. Babatunde Olatunji
Baba Chuck Davis
Dallas Symphony Orchestra)
(The Dance of Welcome-Liberia)
©Babatunde Olatunji. All Rights Reserved
Fanga Alafia, Ase, Ase
Fanga Alafia, Ase, Ase
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Ase, Ase, Ase, Ase
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09/30/2008 Last Edited