“GRACE is what brings you from one place to a better place.”
Dr. Rev. Iyanla Vanzant
Founded in 2010, GRACE DRUMS is a percussion & vocals ensemble of spirited women of African descent, with the singular mission of making joy contagious across all races, ethnicities, religions, and with the vision of dissipating all visible & invisible attachments that divide. Our goal is to unify our audiences cross-culturally through joyous, ecstatic percussive expression.
Using time-honored traditional West African percussion instruments (Djembe Djundjun), music and vocals from African & Caribbean cultures as a foundation, GRACE DRUMS bridges the traditional to the contemporary, infusing the traditional with influences in R&B, Afro-Caribbean dance music, & vocal improvisation. The result is traditional & contemporary percussion, vocals, and joy, with wide audience appeal.
Each GRACE DRUMMER is a versatile artist with experience in a variety of performance arts including music, dance, theater, and storytelling. We draw from each other’s strength & creativity to honor our musical roots & influences in the Caribbean (Haiti, Panama, Trinidad), West Africa (Ghana, Guinea), and North America, while exploring what these roots mean to us now as women raised in, living & working in North America.
Bridging of the traditional with the contemporary, using instruments historically played by men, a GRACE DRUMMER also embodies unlimited possibility and creativity. We therefore drum & sing in the name of women and girls everywhere, in recognition of the gift that each person brings to the table by their very presence, affirming that there is room for everyone.
GRACE DRUMS performances include: Haiti Earth Quake Relief Fundraiser, Brooklyn, NY (2010), Water is lIfe Kenya NYC fundraiser (2011, 2012), The Field Summer Residency (2011), Haerfest Showcase at Spoke the Hub, Brooklyn NY (2011), Half the Sky Festival: Girls Hit the Street produced by the Brooklyn Arts Council (2012), Black Women’s Blueprint, Brooklyn, NY (2012), Adolphus Gustavus Church (2012), Bronx Rising at BMHC Lab (2103). Black Women’s Blueprint/Mother Tongue Monologues At the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (2013). Upcoming performances include Community Works @ Riverside Church March 2013, Women’s Center @ City Tech March 12, 2013, Grace Drums in Concert for The Women Gather , April 20, 2013 @ 7 pm.
Bronx born & raised Arlene Hale attended The Fiorello La Guardia High School of Music and Art, where she first studied voice. Arlene has been a member several distinguished New York City choirs, which include The Riverside Church Inspirational Choir and The New York City Sacred Center Choir. Community Theatre in and around New York…Read more!
Music and performance is second nature to Brooklyn born Gena Jefferson. Born into a family of musicians from Panama, Gena grew up with the sounds of live Latin Jazz, West Indian dance music, and Panamanian folklore. While a teen, and with the encouragement of a beloved High School teacher who saw much potential in her…Read more!
The youngest child of immigrants from the Ashanti region of Ghana, West Africa, Catherine Poku was raised in Canada performing the dances, music, and rhythms of the region. She hails from a family of dancers and choreographers, and has performed for the Montreal based, award winning Shaka Dancers, and the avant-garde, Acroyoga-inspired Special Blend Dance…Read more!
Harlem-born of Trinidadian heritage, JoAnna Powell has been a professional dance artist, choreographer and teacher for over 30 years. Her eclectic style draws from modern, contemporary, jazz, improvisation and multicultural forms, and she has extensive experience in all aspects of theatre crafts. JoAnna’s passion for dance began in Montreal, Canada while a fine arts student…Read more!
Corey Myers-Jones Philly born, Brooklyn resident. A love for music, quest for life and spiritual growth provide the path for this journey. Music shaped her life very early playing keyboard and singing in choruses from childhood. She continued to gravitate towards musicians with a thirst to explore many instruments but none more than guitar and drums. Corey has performed…Read more!