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GREAT LEAP, INC.
© 2001

GREAT LEAP : ARTISTS : FRANCIS AWE

 

Francis Awe, a Master Talking Drummer, is a prince in the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. Traditionally drummers perform for royalty. Princes rarely become drummers. However, when Prince Awe was but two months old, his grandmother realized that the infant possessed a strong affinity for the talking drum. It so happened that she noticed that he would burst into an unusual cry whenever the drums were playing. So one day, his grandmother took him to the site where the drummers where playing, and he stopped crying. Just to be certain she conducted this “experiment” three times. Each time he was taken to the drum site he would stop crying. So, on the third time she presented the infant Prince to the village drummers, that they may accept him as their son.

Francis Awe studied at the University of Ife where he obtained a degree in Dramatic Arts. Before coming to America to study, he was employed by the University of Lagos, Centre for Cultural Studies as a drummer and Chief Cultural Assistant. In the United States, he received a BA. degree in World Arts and Cultures at UCLA. Today he resides in Los Angeles. Together with his African American wife, Omowale, he directs the Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble, a performance group that educates its audiences about Nigerian traditions and culture through the use of music, song and dance.

Awe has traveled around the world entertaining audiences with his Talking Drum, performing in Italy, Mexico, Germany, India, Alaska and throughout the United States. He has composed music for stage, for films and television. With the Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble, he teaches workshops and performs in schools and universities.

Awe states, “My mission in life is, not only to make the Dundun a universal instrument, but also to transmit the family aspect of African life to all the people of the universe. I am interested in using this medium to unify the people of all races and colors. My students at present are reflecting this dream, because I have students from all ethnic groups learning to play the Dundun.”

Now a recording artist for Bindu Records, Francis Awe’s new album, Oro Ijinle has just been released. Remo Drums is also manufacturing a Talking Drum designed by and named after this Talking Drum Master.