Kenya Ajanaku is a nationally known drummer and storyteller whose talents have captivated his audiences for over 26 years. His signature program, "Rhythms and Folklore of Africa," is a unique combination of storytelling, drumming, and dance.
Kenya started his career as a professionally trained jeweler, but after some travel and reflection discovered his calling as a performing artist. He soon became a percussionist for the world renowned Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe. He sharpened his skills as a dancer with the master West African drummer Mor Thiam in the dance company Cosaan. He also developed his stage presence as drummer and vocalist with the InFra-Red Rockers, a reggae band.
Master storyteller Bobby Norfolk introduced Kenya to the art of professional storytelling. Today, Kenya performs nationally, combining storytelling, drumming and dance in unique, unforgettable performances.
Kenya also devotes his talent and energy to his community - serving as founder and Executive Director of Harambee Institute, a non profit organization that promotes personal and social development through experience in the cultural arts.
"He sings, animates and dances as he weaves traditional tales of respect, understanding, pride and self esteem"
"Kenya's stories cut across all cultural and generation lines, and because he tells them so compellingly, you have to be neither African-American nor a kid to enjoy them."
This is Kenya's signature piece! It highlights cultural diversity through stories and illustrates African culture in an entertaining way. It is ideal for schools, festivals, theater , and community events, and can be adapted to either indoor or outdoor venues. Audience participation involves hand-picked students dancing and playing traditional African instruments.
Immerse yourself in the rhythms of Africa as you join Kenya in this exciting and sought after program! (all ages)
These humorous stories, originating from Africa and the Caribbean, teach lessons of universal, timeless wisdom. Kenya draws on his imagination to create and bring to 3D life characters whose struggles with everyday problems help teach us! These stories are full of silly antics that entertain as well as educate. (all ages)
This popular program is a must for all educators & parents! Kenya weaves tales that instill character education traits such as respect, responsibility, honesty, cooperation and self-esteem. These stories put kids on the right path and teach tolerance and conflict resolution skills too. (all ages)
Kenya performs hits form the 60's, 70's, and 80's. This program is perfect for older audiences wanting to walk down memory lane. It also helps younger kids gain an appreciation of the music makers who defined an era.
Kenya tells the life stories of notable, but neglected, historical figures. Choices include:
Invite Kenya for either half or full school day sessions. The perfect way to experience Kenya up close and personal in a small classroom setting.
Kenya provides hands-on instruction and personal interaction in the following topics:
Kenya teaches group based African hand drumming, plays a variety of traditional and non-traditional percussion instruments such as congas, djembe, djundjun, shaekere, agogo bells, rainsticks, cow bells and clav6s. Polyrhythms and drumming-by-parts are emphasized. Kenya explains how to use drumming techniques to accent a story. Instruments are provided.
Kenya, in collaboration with a guest dancer, uses the Katherine Dunham technique as a warm-up to teach workshop participants a variety of traditional West African dances. The art of drumming helps accent dance sequences.
Kenya demonstrates and teaches the art of making traditional African jewelry as he explains its role in traditional African culture through stories and demonstration. Supplies and tools are provided.