Chief Ayanda Clarke lectures and performs regularly on African culture (drum, dance, and more) and on the percussive arts. Bring him to your campus or convention today for a unique engagement, one you’ll remember for a lifetime! Contact AKILA WORKSONGS, Inc. to speak to a lecture agent today (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I am, will forever be, and always have been, an African man living in the Diaspora. At birth, my parents endowed me with an understanding of my African identity. They raised me to appreciate, embrace, and be proud of my cultural heritage and my essential self. Every day since then I have carried this gift with two hands. For more than 35 years, I have been fully immersed as an African percussionist and have been trained by the world’s best. As a professional musician, I have had the honor and privilege of studying and working with some of the most respected, legendary master percussionists to ever play African music. While that has been its own humbling reward, being installed as a chief in Osogbo, Nigeria is probably my most humbling honor to date. A year ago this month, I was chosen to receive the title Ajibilu Awo because of my life and career as an African percussionist and my commitment to the spiritual philosophy of music-making. Adding to the already rich experience, I received the honor right after my father received his title, at the same ceremony. My father (the legendary African and jazz master percussionist Neil Clarke) and I were both installed by a council of chiefs who are the highest ranking spiritual and cultural leaders in Osogbo.
For many people, the concept of a chieftaincy title might seem archaic. I would say, “You’re right…it is archaic!” The value of this title—and the leadership responsibility that comes along with it—lies in the fact that it comes from a way of life that is old. Old as in classic and honorable. Not old as in stagnant. In the way that New York City is known as a global haven for forward-thinking, inclusive, and progressive culture, Osogbo is largely known as a center for traditional African philosophy, art and culture in West Africa. In fact, it is the place that hosts the annual Osun Festival at the sacred Osun Grove. Because of its centuries-old history, this same grove was designated as an UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site in 2005. So as Ajibilu Awo of Osogbo, Chief Ayanda Ifadara Clarke, I respectfully embrace the honor and am happy to share the news with my supportive community. In all that I do in the world and in everything that I produce as an artist and healer, I will continue to respect my African heritage.
That time when the New York State Senate commemorated #IseseFestivalNYC in celebration of traditional African culture and spirituality in #Brooklyn. Click the link here to read the official resolution: http://bit.ly/isesefestivalnyc2017
We would like to thank our founding elder Chief Baba Neil Clarke, Ogbe Sooto Ifa Temple of Brooklyn, #THEFADARAGROUP, #256HealingArts, Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation. And of course, we’d like to extend a special thanks to NYS Senator Kevin Parker.
#AjibiluAwo #ChiefAyanda #AfricanDrumIs #ClarkeFamilyLegacy #AfricanHeritageMatters #TeamChiefAyanda
Chief Ayanda Clarke of THE FADARA GROUP and hip hop’s favorite worldwide activist-artist, BLITZ the AMBASSADOR, talk about African traditions, our “cultural DNA,” and the two events in Brooklyn on June 4, 2017 that seek to uphold an important truth: #AfricanHeritageMatters.
VIDEO: Check out this #BKLive interview from BRIC TV (June 1).
I am pictured here with my father (left) Chief Alufopejo Awo (Chief Baba Neil Clarke) and Baba #ChuckDavis (in the center). I am honored and humbled to have worked with such a legendary pioneer. We lost a great teacher and leader in the drum and dance community on Sunday (May 14, 2017).
May we always honor Baba Chuck Davis in the work that we do for the planet, for the elders, for self, for everybody!
“PEACE! LOVE! RESPECT for the Planet! PEACE! LOVE! RESPECT! for the Elders! PEACE! LOVE! RESPECT! for Self! PEACE! LOVE! RESPECT! for EVERYBODY!” ~ Chuck Davis.
“Music has more than one meaning and most practically, it has more than one function. At its most basic level, music is what I have termed as “audible positive vibrations,” or APV. Whether lyrical or instrumental, it is a communicative agent. The most progressive artists, healers, scientists, and academics of their respective times have noted that humans connect music to their spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical experiences. For both the individual and the community alike, music is a tool, a inherently positive tool by mere virtue of its creative properties, that assists in learning, communication, and the development of most human endeavors.
Practically, music is language, and metaphorically, it is the “voice of a people.” Ancient and traditional musical expressions contain within their artistry, an ancestral voice that communicates ideas, history, folklore, philosophy, values, and aesthetics across generational lines. Through the examination of the music of any given society, we can hear the voice of the people creatively and uniquely expressed.
We, at THE FADARA GROUP, embrace and harness the therapeutic properties of music, and champion the healing art of music-making. We also appreciate, respect, and value the ancestral voice of Africa and its diaspora as exhibited in traditional musical expressions. We seek to leverage the wisdom of the past, through application in the present, allowing for future victories and successes.”
In Text Photo Credit: Stella Magloire
Watch this short clip where O’Farrill talks about the process of creating his GRAMMY-Award winning album, “The Offense of the Drum.” Chief Ayanda Clarke is one of the distinguished featured musicians on this great project (2014) … and there’s a glimpse of him in this video.