Press Release

Robert Bornn
Laura Worth

Hidden Villa Hosts
World Beat Music and Fusion Dance Event 
by DIAJ (Drummers in a Jam)

June 26, 2001, Palo Alto, CA.  DIAJ, a local, multi-cultural, acoustic ensemble, with deep roots in the Palo Alto area, will team up with guest dancers to perform The World Is You: A Music and Dance Event at Hidden Villa Ranch on Saturday, July 7th, 7-9 PM.  The band’s sweet, “pan-ethnic” blend of what its founders call African-inspired, California-grownTM music and dance is both celebratory and contemplative.  A community jam following the performance, around a campfire (weather permitting), will be lead by DIAJ, also known as Drummers in a Jam.

The World Is You was created by Robert Bornn, Ma Boukaka, and Laura Worth to celebrate our human rights and promote the importance of each individual’s intrinsic worth and contributions in our diverse culture.  It features “world beat/fusion” music and dance. 

DIAJ features Ma Boukaka, international vocalist and musician, originally from Congo and a long-time resident of East Palo Alto.  Also featured are Robert Bornn, founder and bandleader, and Laura Worth, cofounder, of Menlo Park and formerly Palo Alto with other local musicians on world drums, percussion, marimba, keesansi, and alto recorder.  Guest dancers include Lucile Vitolo, Maxi Harper, and Corey Bradley. 

Robert Bornn, the DIAJ ensemble’s founder explained, “During the last several years, we’ve teamed up with Ma Boukaka to build a small group of musicians committed to improvisational artistry.  We share a love of African-based rhythms, mostly Congolese and West-African, and a belief in the universal language of music, giving us all a common voice.  Music is a big part of our lives.  We rehearse together every couple weeks and perform as much as possible.”  He went on to say, “One of the joys of performing is that special link with a live audience.  We hope our audience brings drums and percussion toys for a community jam with us after the performance.” 

Laura Worth went on to say, “Several months ago we decided to experiment with adding a kind of ‘fusion dance’ to this performance.  On July 7th, our guest dancers will showcase original dances inspired by a combination of Congolese, West-African, Western ballet, modern dance, and other styles.”

In keeping with its desire to promote human rights and mutual respect among the world’s diverse “tribes,” DIAJ named its first CD after the land-mass that existed billions of years ago when there was only one continent.  “Pangaea:  Old World, New Visions” is available in stores and on the web.

Laura Worth, added, “DIAJ weaves rhythm, melody, and Congolese lyrics together with contemporary, improvisational, instrumental and vocal arrangements.  The musical blend builds on Ma Boukaka’s masterful artistry on drums and percussion and his Congolese lyrics.  To me, Ma Boukaka's Congolese vocals are like deep blue velvet." 

Laura went on to say, “This is fresh, all new, acoustic music that will surprise you: it’s haunting, joyful, and moving all at once.  It transforms me every time.” 

Ma Boukaka came to California in 1959 from what is now Republic of Congo.  Mr. Boukaka has entertained for years, co-producing many shows of Congolese culture through dance, drum, and song.  He has been a well-respected drum teacher on the mid-peninsula for decades, inspiring drummers at all levels.  He creates songs and musical arrangements evolving from his traditional Bantu roots.

DIAJ, Robert Bornn, and Laura Worth also have deep roots on the mid- peninsula.  Since 1990, in Palo Alto and surrounding areas, they have organized hundreds of community drum circles, drum and African dance classes, impromptu jams, and performances.  For a time they played weekly, having cleaned up the old boathouse in the Baylands as their headquarters. 

DIAJ performances have included Bill Graham’s "New Orleans by the Bay" (Shoreline), Mountain View's "Afribean" (main stage), a Peninsula School Benefit Performance (Menlo Park), San Jose's "Tapestry of Talent", a San Francisco fundraiser by EMILY's List called "Beat for Boxer," and various multi-cultural celebrations like Juneteenth (celebrating news in June of the end of slavery, word of which took weeks to travel through the country to the West). 

In 1997, after months of community-based drum and dance rehearsals promoting “cross-101 unity” in East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Menlo Park, DIAJ performed Robert Bornn’s original ballet, “Sweet California,” to a “sell-out” crowd at Burgess Theater in Menlo Park with Cherry Gilbert’s “African Explosion Dance Group."

DIAJ is available for gigs.  Free samples and CD information can be found at Call Hidden Villa Ranch at (650) 949-8653 for advance reservations ($15 adults, $12 students/seniors, $7.50 under 12, free admission for children under 3) or visit for a mail-in reservation form.  Tickets will also be available at the door.  Hidden Villa Ranch is located at 26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills.  Contact Robert Bornn at (650) 368-1946 or for information about DIAJ.

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Contact Information
Robert Bornn
DIAJ (Drummers in a Jam)
Box 75
Caspar, CA  95420
(707) 964-5564


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Photos by R. Bornn, J. Fisher, S. Marthe
DIAJ, Drummers in a Jam, African-inspired, California-grown,
The World Is You, and Pangaea: Old World, New Visions are trademarks of Robert Bornn.

Copyright (c) 1998-2003 by Robert Bornn and Laura Worth.