Michael Kweku Owusu of the Akoma Drummers. (Photo: Gabriel Jones)
Michael Kweku Owusu of the Akoma Drummers. (Photo: Gabriel Jones)

A West African drum troupe, the Akoma Drummers, will be the featured entertainment at the Wednesday, February 6, 7 p.m. program of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church’s Art and Spirit Coffeehouse, 600 M Street SW. To celebrate Black History Month, the diverse group of drummers and percussionists will perform music of the African Diaspora ranging from traditional West African to funk and DC’s own go-go. Coffee and desserts will be served throughout the evening, followed by Q&A.

The Akoma Drummers was formed in 2010 when DC drum lady Kristen Arant and Ghanaian master drummer Michael Kweku Owusu brought their drummer friends and students together for weekly jam sessions.

In the Adinkra symbolic language of West Africa, Akoma means the heart and represents patience and tolerance. Their instruments are various drums such as the congas, djembes and dununs and the Shekere, a bead-covered gourd.

In addition to hearing lively and spirited music, the origin and use of the drums, bells and shakers used by the troupe will be demonstrated and explained. Co-founders Arant and Owusu will also discuss how they each teach drumming to both young people and adults, especially to help raise self-esteem among young women, and to raise awareness for impoverished children both in Ghana and DC.

Additional key performers in the drum troupe include Alphonso Coles, Laura Costas, Katy Gaughan, Renee Panagos, Ken Quam, Linette Tobin and Rakhel Yisrael.

The Southwest Episcopal Church’s Art & Spirit Coffeehouse series opens on the first Wednesday of each month to showcase local artists in their various media as they perform and share how their faith, art and social worldview intersect, according to the Rev. Martha Clark, Priest-in-Charge at St. Augustine’s. Donations will be accepted to help provide honoraria for the guest artists. Contact rector@staugustinesdc.org, 202-554-3222 or visit www.staugustinesdc.org for further information.

By Elaine F. Graves

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