Happy Juneteenth! In this episode, we talk to Daunté Fyall and Tanee Osborne about the healing language of traditional West African drumming and dance.
This episode was recorded on June 16 from Motherland Music. We wish we could have been there in person, but unfortunately we still have to do things virtually, so please forgive the limitations of Zoom to capture the sound of these beautiful instruments.
Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @writingremixpod.
More About Our Guests
Born in Frankfurt, Germany and raised in Washington DC, Daunté “KINGTAE” Fyall is a passionate dance instructor, performing artist, and motivational speaker. Daunté travels around the world enriching our communities with the healing energy and power of Traditional West African Dance. His Roots began with the World-Renowned Assane Konte, Founder/Artistic Director of Kankouran West African Dance Company of Washington, DC. As a Senior Company Member, Daunte’s performance venues/credits include: The Kennedy Center of Washington DC, the Trinidad & Tobago Emancipation Festival, The Smithsonian Museums of Washington DC, and The White House of the United States of America, to name a few! Daunté has also participated in hundreds of hours of continuing education with West African Masters such as Babacar N’diaye, Aboubacar Oscar Camara, Marie Basse-Wiles, and Mouminatou Camara. He was awarded the privilege of studying and performing with dance Pioneer Debbie Allen at her prestigious dance academy located in the heart of Los Angeles. Daunté can also be seen displaying his talents in Projects with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and in a music video with 5-Grammy nominated R&B Artist: Khalid. Daunté currently hosts West African Dance Fundamental Classes with his Arts Collective: DAANSEKOU in the heart of Los Angeles, CA. Daunté is dedicated to creating nurturing spaces to develop the potential of inner city youth, collaborative workshops with community organizations, maintaining private, corporate and individual group lessons. Daunté is passionate about dance, traveling, leading retreats and teaching specialized workshops. Daunté believes that “…true healing starts with Pure Heart and Positive Intention…” so he is honored to share the value of this living tradition while simultaneously encouraging people to experience their infinite potential. Daunté is on a quest to collectively empower others to discover a greater self awareness through Love, Light (Knowledge), Respect and Humility!
Tanee Osborne is a West African djembe and dundun percussionist, first introduced to the West African Drum and Dance culture in 2009 with Bi-Okoto Drum and Dance, a company out of Cincinnati, Ohio. Relocating to California in 2011 and landing in Leimert Park, LA’s premiere cultural hub, Tanee has studied and continues to learn the culture and language of the ancestors fulltime from local and out of state master drummers and dancers. You can now catch her playing djembe and dunduns for DAANSEKOU Arts Collective, The H.E.Art Performing Arts and Debbie Allen Dance Academy. Learn more about Tanee in her recent interview with Voyage LA Magazine and find her on Instagram @TaneeTheTO.
You can follow DAANSEKOU on Instagram @daansekou and subscribe to their newsletter here.
“This is a language. We believe that it’s communicated through these drums…A conversation is happening…a conversation of a people.” -Daunté FyallTweet
“This language has to be shared. It is a love language. And a language that promotes healing and a language that promotes growth. A language that actually turns the world.” -Daunté FyallTweet
“This culture’s married to the heart…These rhythms are functioned off of the heartbeat.” -Daunté Fyall and Tanee OsborneTweet
“We’re all vibrational beings. We all have a rhythm within us. It’s the pumping of our blood, the way that our heart pumps, the way that we breathe and inhale. We all naturally have a rhythm, and this is just another way to connect and align those rhythms within ourselves and within the universe. This drum, djembe, actually means ‘to come together’…It’s impossible to be around these instruments and not be in a higher vibration of love.” -Tanee OsborneTweet
“There is a whole life around this drum.” -Tanee OsborneTweet
“As a teacher…what I’ve learned is you have to give your students something to hold onto.” -Daunté FyallTweet
“Don’t pull away from yourself…We need you at your best self. I need you to be who you are, because that’s what the universe needs. And so I don’t want you to do so much for others that you begin to take away from yourself. Make sure you’re whole. But when you’re whole, then there’s extra to fill over and it overflows…And if everybody overflows with their gift because they’re full of the joy of their gift, how can the world not be a better place?” -Tanee OsborneTweet
“Every rhythm has a purpose, has a meaning.” -Tanee OsborneTweet
“If you look in every culture, there’s a drum of some sort that takes place in the healing process and ritual and celebration and mourning and life. Everything was centered around some type of drumbeat. In every culture, you can find a rhythm.” -Tanee OsborneTweet
“These drums have survived. This language has survived. And that is the true test of the power behind this drum.” -Daunté FyallTweet
“[The drum] is fashioned after the woman. It’s fashioned after the womb. And it’s fashioned after the heartbeat too…One of the first sounds we hear when we’re in our mother’s womb is the heartbeat. That’s why it always kind of brings us back home.” -Daunté FyallTweet
“We’re spelling words over and over and over again with our bodies…We’re kind of writing in the lines of space, and so we’re able to then embed this language into our mind enough to be able to regurgitate it to someone else…We are the words in this book of life.” -Daunté FyallTweet
“[After a drum class] my energy is at an all-time high. That feeling right there is why we say this is medicine. The feeling you have after a good workout and a good lesson is the energy you want to bottle up and give to someone else.” -Daunté FyallTweet
“I tell people: do what you want to do. Move in that light, knowing that your intention is pure, your intentions are in the right place. As long as you’re moving in the light of love, how can you be moving in the wrong direction?” -Tanee OsborneTweet
“If you are a writer, that is your protest. Write! This is the time, more than ever, to write. This is the time, more than ever, to make an impact on the world.” -Daunté FyallTweet
“We’re in a state of awakening…We have this opportunity to be free…Now we get to write what the new normal looks like.” -Tanee OsborneTweet
“Love is the highest vibration.” -Tanee OsborneTweet