Drums of The World: The Story is not Over

A Cultural Escape in the Heart of Los Gatos

The second annual HUEmanity Salon Series: Drums of the World event was a vibrant celebration of diverse cultures, showcasing various traditional performances.

The event started with a film screening of “Ayan,” the ground-breaking documentary on traditional Yoruba Drum Making. Next up was a mini-exhibition showcasing drums from Iran, Turkey, Morocco, and the Bantu region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Attendees could not get enough of the unique traditional drums.

The drums’ history, intricate detailing, and elegance left the audience in admiration of the craftsmanship and heritage.

Next was a captivating workshop titled “Stories and Murals,” facilitated by Sherinda Bryant and Kat Trinidad. Each participant was encouraged to contribute to the collective mural, creating a canvas of intertwined histories and experiences.

Adding to the diversity of the event, master drummer and percussionist Mike Fair was accompanied by dance artist and drummer Jillian Eittreim. Delivering some wonderfully beautiful sounds.

The synchronized drumming left the audience in awe and served as a reminder of the rich heritage of drumming.

Following the drum display, there was a music and drum performance featuring traditional instruments from the Middle East and North Africa, such as Frame Drums, Riq, and Darbuka.

The musician, Dror Sinai, skillfully played haunting melodies, transporting the audience to a world of enchantment. The audience was thoroughly entertained by his skilled performance, applauding and cheering in appreciation.

A highlight of the show was a traditional Yoruba oral storytelling, drumming, and dancing segment presented by Nkan Eledua and Taiwo Aloba.

Music and dance are a staple of Yoruba culture, and the breadth and versatility were on full display at the event.

The storytellers, adorned in elaborate traditional Yoruba costumes, gracefully moved to the beats of the traditional Yoruba Talking Drum, “Gan Gan,” before sharing riddles and enlightening Yoruba folktales, creating a mesmerizing spectacle for the audience.

The energy continued to rise as the storytelling duo engaged the audience in an interactive music and dance session on stage. The storytelling duo beckoned the spectators to join the music and dance performance on stage.

Outfitted in traditional Yoruba attires, spectators of all ages were taught different Yoruba dance steps, and they danced with so much joy, reminiscent of the village square in African communities.


“This is the most fantastic event I have ever been to, and I have lived here for twenty-nine years.” 

“It was incredible. There was almost this ancient but modern sense. The drums move you. You feel the music, and I enjoyed the feeling of moving.” 


“I loved the storytelling mixed with the dancing and the spirit of it. It was so engaging. I loved hearing and learning the Yoruba language.”

The grand finale left a lasting impression, celebrating the unity of diverse cultural expressions and leaving the audience with a sense of appreciation for the rich tapestry of storytelling traditions and drumming.

In her closing remarks, the Mayor of Los Gatos, Mayor Maria Ristow, reiterated the importance of community building and showered praises on Awo Center for providing a valuable platform for knowledge sharing and cultural preservation.

When stories of individuals are incomplete, our narratives of HUEmanity become inaccurate, recycling many social inequities. AWỌ’s programs spotlight, educate, and galvanize people to express their stories so that more inclusivity and representation become the norm within our communities. 
AWỌ’s HUEmanity Salons help to tell unheard stories, supporting and engaging many black, indigenous, ethnic, urban, and rural identities across local communities to create new opportunities for cross- cultural listening and engagement. 
AWỌ: SKIN. COLOR. RACE AWỌ is the word for skin and also for color in the Nigerian language of The Yoruba. We are a social justice non-profit dedicated to unifying the different shades of HUEmanity. Founded in 2020 in response to the death of George Floyd, we provide community space where people can ingest accurate cultural narratives about themselves, others, and HUEmanity as a collective. We believe that an incomplete understanding of the human experience perpetuates social inequities. Western history has long been dominated by the narratives and viewpoints of those from European ancestry. But as we make room for voices of darker-skinned people, marginalized and misrepresented people, we can foster a more profound understanding, inclusion and sense of belonging within our Bay Area communities and beyond. 
Please visit www.awocenter.org for more information. 
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AWỌ MISSION Our mission is to create engaging opportunities for historically unheard or misrepresented stories to be shared and expressed. We connect the different shades of HUEmanity for a more inclusive and representative world.