Rhythm Arts Alliance
West African drumming
About the Organization
Rhythm Arts Alliance was founded in 2010 and has established itself as the premiere cultural arts organization, integrating the traditional arts of African and Latin culture in order to inspire and rebuild our communities. Through the healing power of drum, dance and song, the organization unites at-risk youth and their elders to reweave the tattered fabric of community. Kahlil Cumming’s (lead teaching artist) father, Rahsan Cummings, still remembers the founding of the weekly drum circle in Leimert Park, which originated as a response to the civil rights riots of the 60s and 70s. In his own words “We just wanted to do something nurturing with all our frustration. It felt like we were drumming in the middle of a burning village.” Some 50 years on, the drum circle has passed from one leader to another and in 2018 was temporarily shut down due to the the LAX/Crenshaw line. Through Rhythm Arts Alliance programming and their collaboration with Kaos Network, they have been able start a weekly African drum workshop for the community. While helping to provide education around the central role that West African culture played in the development of American culture, the organization seeks to facilitate conversation around the elements of societal connectivity that the traditional West African music and dance can bring to modern day communities undergoing stress.
A grant from ACTA’s Living Cultures Grant Program will support Rhythm Arts Alliance’s monthly, multi-generational workshops in Leimert Park. Workshops will provide expert instruction with master teachers in African drum, dance and song.
The Rhythm Arts Alliance received ACTA funding to offer weekly, multi-generational traditional West African arts workshops and their annual festival, a key event that brings the Leimert Park community together in celebration.