Teli Shabu is the Director of The Magic of African Rhythm (TMOAR) and the TMOAR Drum Institute. Its mission is to connect and reconnect to African arts, traditions and values in order to revitalize personal and community self-image. Teli was born in Liberia, West Africa and has traveled extensively throughout West Africa studying percussion and kora with masters. Teli grew up in a performing and visual arts family and began producing beats and writing and performing rhymes at age 12. Teli applies his love of music, using his hands to make beautiful and useful things, and his personal philosophy – that rhythm connects all of us – to his teaching and mentorship work. By mapping contemporary Hip Hop to the drumming and culture of African ancestors, Teli fosters racial pride in Black youth. In addition, he is a storyteller in the tradition of Malinke griots, performs with Whistle Stop Tours – an African American history walking tour ensemble in Durham, NC – and a trained bedside musician offering his music as medicine.
Mabinti has been dancing all of her life, touring and performing with dance companies in NYC and abroad. Mabinti is a master Balafon and Ngoni player. She is currently recording a new album. She play djembe and dunduns for with Valerie Naranjo, The African American Dance Ensemble, and many more!
Aya has been a dancer and drummer with The Magic of African Rhythm since 2005, and is currently the company’s Managing Director. A 2012-2013 Emerging Artist Grant recipient, Aya has choreographed for the some of the Triangle’s best theatrical productions last year, most notably The Parchman Hour, I Love My Hair and The Brother’s Size. Aya is the co-creator of Hayti’s Historic Hayti Walking Tour: Fayetteville Street
Maisha (Mama) Shabu
Maisha (Mama) Shabu has been telling stories and teaching children to use their imagination when learning important life lessons for over two decades. She is a trained musician and through vocals, instruments, and one’s own inner rhythm, Maisha helps her students to access their creative gifts. Maisha is currently living their dream in Gbanga West African on a 10-acre farm. Maisha and Baba Shabu have published a book Kpawo- The Bridge, How to Re-connect with Your African Spirit a travel guide for those wishing to return and reconnect to the MotherLand.