Zest for Education of Youth Brings Rhythm Arts and Humanities
Zest for Education of Youth Brings Rhythm Arts and Humanities


Multi-Media Festivals

New York Festivals (free events)
  • 2001, The Miracle of the Princess and the Frog - performed at the World Trade Center one month before the infamous 9/11. An original folktale adaptation, about a frog that wanders throughout Africa and meets a lost princess who was raised by dolphins and is rescued by this special frog. The frog makes a really giant hop to get to Cuba, to restore the lost crown and visit a secret king! (This event was part of a concert series called Evening Stars, produced by the LMCC.)
  • 2001, Here I Am AT Home II - a Senegalese dance/drama about village life in Senegal, directed by Lamine Thiam.
  • 2000, Here I am At Home I - a dance/drama choreographed by an outstanding Senegalese choreographer Lamine Thiam.
  • 1999, I Love Her, a Senegalese dance/drama/love story, directed by Lamine Thiam.
  • 1998, AJOYO - (A Joyful Celebration) rhythms, dances, songs and videos from Cuba and Haiti, in conjunction with Covenant House, for homeless teenagers, general public invited.
  • 1996, A Tale of Two Cultures - a musical drama comparing African American and Afro-Cuban folkloric and contemporary art forms, held at the National Black Theatre of Harlem
  • 1991, The Neighbors - an Afro-Cuban dance drama, written and directed by Regina Shwartz-Iyaleio with a comprehensive review of all major Afro-Cuban dance forms.
  • 1990, Search for the Missing Twins - a dance/drama combining West African and Caribbean folkloric traditions, a bilingual (Spanish and English) storybook for children was released with the folktale.
  • 1988, Re-union of the Bata Family - a Nigerian group of traditional bata and dundun drummers and dancers, performed with Cuban counterparts; Dundun (Nigerian talking drum) and bata drummers from Cuba and Nigeria were able to exchange drumming styles, through workshop and performances at a tribute to Cuban born Rosa Leyva, Chango Laramie.
  • 1987 - Video Festival with recently shot and edited African videos, live drumming.
  • 1986 - A panel discussion by anthropologists and musicologists, followed by music.
  • 1985 - Egungun, African masquerade and other dances, held at a NYC grammar school
  • 1984 - Fun Irantai Balogun, a tribute to a Hero: Ronald Balogun Love (13 African American dance companies performed for free to honor this hero.)
  • 1978 and 1979 - A tribute to African and Caribbean drumming and dance, by ICAR, (Institute for Caribbean Arts and Research) forerunner of ZEYBRAH
Honorees of the Moment In Time Festival
  • 2008, Honoring Puntilla Rios, Father of the Bata Drum in America, two events featuring bata drumming, jazz, rumba and original music dedicated to Puntilla. Perfroming groups included many musician who had played with him: Michele Rosewoman and NewYorUba, Amma McKen and Omi Yesa, members of Puntilla's 'Nueva Generecion and members of Gene Golden's Quinto Mayor and Raeces Habanera, as well as a ZEYBRAH original son/rumba dedicated to the life and contributions of Punilla who brought Cuban folklore 'to the people' in the U.S.
  • 2007, Honoring Father and Mother, Fela Ransome Kuti and his mother Funmilayo Kuti Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti (1900 - 1978), born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, was a politician, teacher, women's rights' activist, an African feminist and founder of the Nigerian Women's trade union. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, who always wanted a better education for women, started the first adult education program for women in the country, which she called "the social welfare club for market women". Through these clubs, she also helped Nigeria's independence movement. She encouraged everyone to appreciate their own cultural heritage, despite the negative influences of the colonialist attack on traditional values. Fela Anikulapo Kuti (1938 - 1997) was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria. He was a singer-composer, trumpet, sax and keyboard player, bandleader, and politician. Fela was one of Africa's most controversial musicians and throughout his life he continued to fight for the rights of the common man despite vilification, harassment, and even imprisonment by the government of Nigeria (which he often criticized.) Fela has a worldwide following and is considered one of the most popular and influential African musicians of all times.
  • 2006, Honoring Father, Honoring the Chief Obalesu, Head of the Obatala Temple in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, the Yoruba 'Garden of Eden,' Obatala represents the 'father of creation/mankind. Videos of the Chief, which were filmed in Nigeria in 1987-88 were shown, along with traditional music and dance of Nigeria and Senegal.
  • 2005, Olukose Wiles and Baba Ishangi, (Fathers of the African Masquerade in America) These two friends were African American pioneers in the fields of African dance and drumming and especially noted for their sensational ability to dance traditional African masquerade including the chacaba, or stilt walker and other types. This event was hosted by a couple who are leaders of the Orisa Community Development Corporation in Philadelphia; the woman, Ayoka Quinones is the daughter of Olukose and her husband, Joe T. Quinones is the son of a legendary African American spiritual leader, named Margie Quinones.
  • 2004, Papa Ladji Camara, Father of the Djembe Drum in America. This tribute featured an original dance drama called, Dance of a Chief, adapted from a Native American folktale. It focuses on the life of Papa Ladji's who was the first drummer to bring the djembe drum to the U.S. and teach it to large numbers of people. In the dance/drama, the young chief-to-be is tricked into loosing his dance powers, only to regain them after a mystical encounter with a diviner and a lion, and a lesson in dancing with his 'own shadow." Papa Ladi, is portrayed as a young drummer, who is recognized by the community for his great drumming skills.
  • 2003, Dr. Leopold Senghor, Father of a Democratic Senegal, was the first President/Poet of the Republic of Senegal, who organized the first International African Arts festival in Africa and also started the National African Ballet of Senegal. Several of the members of that company were part of a dance choreography, which included a rap song about Senghor's numerous accomplishments.
  • 2003, Mongo Santamaria, Father of Afro-Cuban Jazz, an internationally recognized drummer/musician who was among the first to introduce Cuban percussion into the American jazz scene. At this event, former members of his band including Sonny Fortune, played jazz favorites and an updated version of Afro-Blue with new lyrics about the life of Mongo. Other elements included: drum songs, jazz, African and Afro-Cuban dance, libations, written educational and biographical materials for the youth, and well known speakers. Also, Mongo's daughter Ileana Santamaria, performed a song she wrote, as a tribute to her father. (She has since been performing with us at most of our festivals in NYC and NJ.)
  • 2002, Maguette Fall from Senegal, Father of the Talking Drum in America, a master of the talking drum, who contributed to the perpetuation of the talking drum tradition in the Americas, uplifting the general public in the knowledge of the tama, the 'talking drum' of Senegal.
  • 2001, Ronald Balogun Love, an African-American cultural hero who contributed immensely to the recovery and development of the African drumming tradition in the U.S. He was the sound technician on Gil Noble's television show, "Like It Is." There is a memorial booklet of poems, drawings, and biographical anecdotes collected from his contemporaries that were created for a previous tribute for him in 1984. Though we deeply mourned the passing of Balogun, who left us at the young age of 35, we are encouraged by having his son play at several of our festivals, knowing that he is keeping the drumming tradition alive.
The Moment In Time Festival

The Moment In Time Festival is a celebration of African and African/ Caribbean cultural heritage through the arts. The festival began in 1984 as a multi-media family festival, and has evolved over the years into a tribute honoring the memory of a cultural hero with a program that reflects their contributions. Each year the festival pays tribute to a member of our wide cultural community who has passed on, through a multidisciplinary celebration of African arts. The Moment in Time Festival's past honorees have included Mongo Santamaria, Leopold Senghor, Ronald Balogun Love, and Papa Ladji Camara. ZEYBRAH produces the festival in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, (our co-sponsor) as part of their Junior Scholars Program. The event is free and open to the general public. The Schomburg, a New York City library located in Harlem, has the largest collection of African related resource materials (books, films, etc.) in the world. The Junior Scholars Program is a free program for qualified youth of color throughout NYC. More info...

Oceans of Rhythm Festival

Oceans of Rhythm Festival, held in Long Branch, New Jersey for fifteen years is designed to bring diverse sections of the community together, for a family oriented, educational and recreational, multi-media festival, that will expand and broaden the experiences of all those who participate, both audience and artists. It is ZEYBRAH's aim to provide a vehicle for positive community growth and development. More info...