Bele Bele Rhythm Collective
The Bele Bele Rhythm Collective is a women-led, intergenerational, diverse group of African drummers and students from DC and surrounding areas. Founded in 2008 and led by Drumlady Kristen Arant, the BBRC performs tightly sewn compositions of polyrhythms on dun-uns and djembes, along with exciting breaks, contagious songs, and dancing. The BBRC performs to celebrate unity and diversity, and to spread the joy and power of West African drumming to the community at-large. Kristen Arant & the Bele Bele Rhythm Collective recorded their debut album "Roots" in 2016.
Akoma @ All Souls
Akoma @ All Souls is a percussion ensemble created by All Souls Unitarian church in Washington, DC in 2014. Under the direction of Kristen Arant, this program gives an introduction to a variety of West African percussion instruments and their accompanying polyrhythms and songs. The program rehearses on Monday evenings fall-spring, performs regularly for church services, and is open to students of all musical abilities, age 9+.
Drumlady Arts + Activism (Drumlady LLC)
Drumlady Kristen Arant teaches private and group drumming workshops for groups of women and girls, as well as mixed groups (male and female) of children, youth, adults and elders at private homes, schools, youth centers, businesses, conferences and organizations throughout the DC metro area and the mid-Atlantic region. Kristen has developed her own curriculum, called Drumming Empowerment, and teaches West African djembe, dun-un and bell playing techniques along with traditional West African rhythms and songs including cultural reference. She also teaches her own compositions and arrangements, and is skilled in creating group compositions using guided improvisation. The easiest way to find Kristen is to come to her weekly classes on Zoom (Zoom Drum - Tuesdays, 5:30pm EST), or check out Drumspiration – an in-person class that is also broadcast via Facebook Live weekly on Sundays at 4pm EST. You may also book her for a private session or group class at your home or facility.
Kristen is currently the music teacher for children K-6th grade at Lee Montessori PCS in Washington DC, and teaches weekly classes for elementary students at The Springwell School and the River Farm Community School, and to middle and high school students at the Washington Waldorf School.
Kristen has received 22 grants, awards and fellowships for her work as a teaching artist.
The easiest way to contact Kristen is via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project
The Young Women’s Drumming Empowerment Project (YWDEP) was founded by Kristen Arant in 2005 on a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. YWDEP organized a summer enrichment program for urban teen girls aged 8-18 from 2005-2018. Participants attended 12-14 weeks of weekly intensives with established DC artists who also served as positive female role models and mentors. The girls began by learning to play the djembe from Kristen, who taught them to use the drum as a tool for building self-esteem, self-expression, personal growth and healing. Young women opened up as they learned to drum, and were then guided to journal, write their own poetry and songs, choreograph dances and skits, and perform in front of live audiences. Each summer program ended with a final performance, which served as a rite of passage for young women who entered the program shy, apprehensive, and unable to process their emotions, and then reached completion as self-assured young women aware of their talents and wisdom, and able to express their authentic selves to audiences of family, peers, community members, and strangers.