the DIAJ musicians:
Bornn first learned hand drumming in the '50s on the streets of New
York City and in the '90s began to more formally work with talented professional
musicians. He has been taught and inspired by Ma Boukaka, Babatunde
Olatunji, Abdoulaye Diakite, Arthur Hull and other San Francisco Bay Area
teachers and performers. He has been creating improvisational music
for more than four decades and founded DIAJ (Drummers in a Jam) for Bay
Area drum circles and dancers in the early '90s. In 1997 he created
and performed in "Sweet California," an African-inspired performance of
original and traditional music and dance, including his original ballet,
"California Suite" at Burgess Theater in Menlo Park, California.
the founding and artistic director of DIAJ performing group and producer
of two DIAJ albums Pangaea: Old World
New Visions (on CD) and Mouyami
(a 2-CD album). He created, performed, and recorded with DIAJ.
He also creates original melodies for the Xylimba, keesansi (kalimba),
and tongue drum.
In 2001 he
created and performed in The
World Is You, an original African-inspired music and dance performance
to celebrate world human rights.
In 2004 Robert
released his movie, Ocean's
Edge - Spirit's Journey (on
DVD) celebrating the lyrical, spiritual, sensuous, and non-violent sides
of nature on the Northern California Coast with evocative African-inspired
music: six original instrumental ballads by Robert (on xylimba and standing
drum) and Laura Worth (on alto recorder).
After moving to Vashon Island, Robert and Laura
collaborated with local artists to create a celebration of positive dance
and music. This evening of community included an immersive light
and sound installation by Robert, his film and music, dance, performance
art, Vashon Island's
Circle of Sound and music by Laura Worth and
him as SoundMoments
Robert's second movie, Here
and Now: Vashon-Maury Island (on DVD) is an alternative,
romantic view of nature in an artistic, narrative-free, and nonviolent
style. Evocative natural waterscapes and landscapes on Quartermaster
Harbor are set to a medley from the Discovery Suite, Robert's improvisational
piano works. Filmed throughout 2005, the film's enchanted naturalism
touches each season on Vashon-Maury Island in Washington.
Robert currently performs with SoundMoments
Duo in the Puget Sound area. He
is also recording for his next film in the SeaDrift
Media Productions' film series,
Ebb and Flow.
Boukaka is from Republic of Congo in Central Africa and
grew up between the village Ngolibu and the capital city, Brazzaville.
He learned to drum by tapping out rhythms in the jungle with his friends.
At 14 he went to work as a cook in Brazzaville. Later he became a
"pisteur" -- guide, hunter, and cook for a French safari company in Northern
Congo and Gabon. On safari, he met Alan Baer, a young American who
offered to bring him to the United States. Ma Boukaka accepted and
came to the Bay Area in 1959. After the arrival of fellow Congolese
in California, Ma Boukaka worked with them for years to produce many shows
of Congolese culture through dance, drum, and song. Now, on his own
and with others, he continues to create songs and musical arrangements
evolving from his traditional Bantu roots. He has taught drumming
for decades and continues to initiate beginners into African rhythms and
inspire drummers at all levels. He performs with his band, Bole Bantu
("It Takes Two") and has released an album by the same name. He also
performs and records with DIAJ (Drummers in a Jam), including the original
"Sweet California" ballet, "The
World Is You," and his performance on the DIAJ album, Pangaea:
Old World, New Visions (lead vocals, conga, ngoma, harmonica, keesansi
(kalimba), clave, slit drum).
Worth was born and grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She moved
to California in 1970 as a young adult and played the soprano recorder
for personal enjoyment. In 1998 she began improvising original melodies
on the alto recorder for DIAJ. She has also been drumming African-inspired
music for more than a decade and enjoys crafting opportunities to make
music with others who share her delight in the artistic process.
She co-founded DIAJ. She performed and recorded with DIAJ, including
her performance on the DIAJ albums, Pangaea:
Old World, New Visions and Mouyami.
She co-produced the "Sweet California" ballet and The
World Is You African-inspired music and fusion dance event to celebrate
world human rights.
Laura and Robert
Bornn have also released a movie entitled Ocean's
Edge - Spirit's Journey, with
Robert on xylimba and drums and Laura on alto recorder. It celebrates
the lyrical, spiritual, sensuous, and non-violent sides of nature on the
Northern California Coast.
For more than
a decade Laura was a student of voice and stage performance as a principal
actor in the San Francisco Bay Area's acting and improv ensemble group,
Constance Wise Productions.
to Vashon Island, Laura and Robert collaborated with local artists to create
a celebration of positive dance and music. This evening of community
included an immersive light and sound installation by Robert, his film
and music, dance, performance art, Vashon Island's Circle of Sound and
music by Robert and her as SoundMoments
performs with SoundMoments
Duo in the Puget Sound area. She is also recording for Robert's
next film in the SeaDrift Media
Productions' film series,
Ebb and Flow
(alto recorder, ngoma,
guest artists and other musicians and dancers perform in DIAJ events
and albums. Some of the other musicians include: Thierry Sornasse,
Robert Sellers, Judy Kasle, Wade Peterson, Sean Araneda, Linda Scarborough,
Eliza Thomas, Jonathan Fisher, Devorah Ginden, and Nina Serpiello.