Opening for Paperhand Puppet Show

Paperhand’s 2016 summer show “The Beautiful Beast”

Paperhand’s 2016 summer show “The Beautiful Beast”

Saturday August 20th Shabutaso will be the opening act for Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s 2016 show “The Beautiful Beast”. Shabutaso is honored to kick off the night as an ambassador to one of the world’s oldest storytelling traditions, the griot or djeli tradition from West Africa. The Pre-show starts at 6:20pm at the magical Forest Theatre in Chapel Hill. This outdoor amphitheater is perfect for families and a great place to meet up with friends. There’s nothing more intriguing than to be out under the stars with hundreds of people watching the seemingly impossible evolve before your eyes. You can’t help but leave feeling hopeful about the world we live in.



African Dance Classes!!!

                                         SHABUTASO AFRICAN DANCE CLASS!!!!!

Shabutaso is very excited to announce their Sunday evening Dance Classes!

Shabutaso is now providing African Dance Classes for the community every Sunday at 5pm to 6:15pm

tmoar-photo-1Dance classes will be located at the Terrerio Cultural Arts Center at 721 N. Mangum in Durham. Donations will be $8 for class. For more information please contact Yohance Bediako at (404) 484-6017

We at Shabutaso look forward to dancing with you this Sunday!


ZAWADI- Custom Kwanzaa Gifts

ZAWADI- Custom Kwanzaa Gifts    gourds                                                                                                          

Baby Djembes                                                                                                     Various sizes and colors                                                                                                 $50

Thumb pianos                                                                                                          Various sizes, shapes and colors                                                                                     $25 – $60

CDs                                                                                                                 TASUMA- kora and balaphon music by Teli Shabu featuring Mabinti Shabu                                                                             $8

Gift Certificates                                                                                                                 Private Djembe or Thumb Piano Lessons                                                                                              $25


Shabutaso performs at Cary Kwanzaa December 29th, 2015


Theme: “Developing and Encouraging Our Youth”

Tuesday, December 29, 2015, 11 a.m – 5:00 p.m.

Kwanzaa 2015Shabutaso Inc.: The Magic of African Rhythms and the North Carolina Association of Black storytellers perform at the 21st Annual Kwanzaa Celebration in Cary Tuesday, December 29, 2015

CARY, NC – The Ujima Group, Inc. in partnership with the Town of Cary will host its 21st Kwanzaa Celebration at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Avenue located in downtown Cary, NC..

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Developing and Encouraging Our Youth” and will feature a performance by The Magic of African Rhythm and the North Carolina Association of Black storytellers. In the tradition of every Kwanzaa celebration there will be a procession of the elders and the Harambee Circle.

The celebration includes fun for the whole family including food, vendor market and craft activities for children. Kwanzaa is a community cultural celebration that highlights African-American heritage and family through seven values – unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

There will be fun and activities for the entire family — young and old. Doors open at 11:00 am for the vendor marketplace and Children’s Village. The program and performance begins promptly at 3:00 p.m.

The Town of Cary co-sponsors the Kwanzaa Celebration through the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department with The Ujima Group, Inc., a non-profit 501© community based organization that promotes cultural diversity through educational programs and the arts. For more information, please call Lester Thomas, 919 380-7020, or The Cultural Arts Program Specialist, (919) 462-3963 or visit the Town’s website at,


Teli Shabu releases TASUMA

I’ve been wanting to be this bold for the past 20 years. Releasing an album has taken so long because I’m always thinking my music is not ready, not perfect enough, not finished. I woke up this morning realizing that my music does no one any good sitting on my hard drive. I want my music to heal people of whatever ails them. Music is vibration. Spirit is vibration. Music is a conduit though which the body can connect and absorb universal healing energy. Music is not words; it’s not signs; it’s the language of the soul; it’s another way of communicating.

Teli Shabu on Kora

Teli Shabu on Kora

Enjoy, share…and stay tuned for:

The Healing Power of Music Series– talks, testimonials, information, and healing concert.

New E.P. Release from Teli Shabu- TASUMA – Kora music feat. the beautiful and amazing Mabinti Shabu on Balafon.
TASUMA is available on Itunes, Spotify, Amazonmusic, Googleplay, Tidal, and Youtube.


October 6-Week Talking Drum Workshop

unnamedLast Saturday (9/12/15) Shabutaso was invited by BUMP: The Triangle to participate in a 2-hour family workshop entitled Talking Drums: Telling Our Stories. Shabutaso’s high energy performance ensemble opened with Balankora their dynamic duo performance of acoustic griot instruments: balan and kora. After a brief welcome by Executive Director of BUMP, Dr. Georgiary Bledsoe,  Shabutaso’s versatile musicians Teli and Mabinti Shabu picked up talking drums and began chatting with one another in drum language. After several pitched exchanges, the conversation was directed to the audience. Wide-eyed children and adults listened but were unable to understand and respond at first. Over and over again the talking drums tapped out the same phrases. Finally, one brave soul put her hands together and clapped out a response. And she was right! Soon the entire audience was clapping their hands, locked into a “call and response” pattern with the talking drums. The audience was hooked by the interaction and now a growing curiosity. Unfortunately exposure is the extent of most African diasporic community music experiences. But because of the strong collaboration between BUMP and Shabutaso, Teli and Aya Shabu took workshop participants deeper on a talking drum journey to discover the drum’s construction and how the talking drum learned to speak. There were several hands-on demonstrations illustrating the stretching of goat hide and weaving of rope to make a drum. Families made their own BUMP model talking drums and also took home an original story written by author Valine Zeigler. The day ended with a fiery Magic of African Rhythms performance again by Shabutaso singers, dancers, and musicians. Carter Cue, Standford L. Warren Librarian, joined the artists on stage during the audience participation segment. No one could dare say they were still hungry at the end of such a full day, as vegan soul food was made available by Vegan Flava Cafe.

Talking Drums: Telling Our Stories” provided a sneak preview of BUMP’s 6-week youth workshop starting Oct 3. Families who attended this event received a discount on the 6-week youth workshop. More info on the Oct youth workshop is available at BUMP: The Triangle.

The goal of BUMP Community Workshops is to affirm the cultural assets of youth in an environment of engaged community, and to celebrate African Diasporic musical heritage. Through activities designed for ALL ages, participants will learn from scholars, educators, performers and each other. Come. Learn. Share.

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte Welcomes Us Back

OUR SUMMER TRAVELS have taken the Shabus all along the East Coast: Cambridge (MA), Manhattan and D.C. We loved the Boston Salsa Festival, the ferry ride past the Statue of Liberty to Governor’s Island, and Woodlands serving up the best vegan food outside of Durham. However, the Smithsonian National Museum of History captured our attention for TWO full days. We were fascinated by aquatic animals that produce light in order to make their bodies “disappear”, the evolution of the Arctic polar bear from a forest brown bear, and the Human Origins exhibit (mind-blowing and a little scary). I am reminded of how many cool museum treasures North Carolina has. Durham’s Museum of Life and Science is right in our backyard and is our favorite; it is ever expanding. I’m looking forward to “losing” myself in the newly constructed HideAway Woods. While I can easily become a young child again bounding between exhibits, what must it be like to really be a kid again with so much information and fun at their finger tips.

Performance at S.W. Snowden School, Beaufort County, NCChildren’s Theatre of Charlotte is another one of those places teeming with childhood wonder. Every so often, I am bowled over by the realization that as professional artists we get be a part of creating childhood magic. 2009 was our first CTC performance and we returned a few years later to the welcoming “whoops” and “hollers” of  Mecklenburg County school children. This January 2016, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte welcomes us back to the stage for a exciting week of school shows and TWO public evening-length performances featuring new fiery choreography making it’s world premiere. We are so excited to work with new material, new artists, and long-time beloved musician-friends returning for just such an occasion.

I wonder, who will be having the most fun this time, the audience or the magicians on the stage?



The Best Kwanzaa Yet

Teli runs kids' drum circle at KwanzaaFest 2014

Teli runs kids’ drum circle at KwanzaaFest 2014

“This was the best Kwanzaa season yet!” my husband Teli beamed after returning home from an evening at Holton Resource and Career Center. I too felt the totality of the holiday. The Magic of African Rhythm wore many hats during the week-long celebration.

Since moving to NC in 2003, the Hayti Heritage Center has remained my foundation of black culture in Durham, given its history.  I can’t imagine Kwanzaa without an event at the Hayti. It was an honor to step up as the organizer of their annual Hayti Heritage Kwanzaa celebration but mainly to serve my community and see the joy on their faces.

Known in the community as “Baba Teli”,  led the drummers and the procession of elders guided by Baba Chuck Davis at Holton’s Kwanzaa celebration. Unlike last year where both Teli and I performed while sick with the flu last Kwanzaa season, it was pure joy to watch Teli on stage this year. As the duo Balankora, Teli played kora and his sister Mabinti Shabu played  balaphon, both traditional griot instruments. Griots are the name for oral historians in Francophone Africa. But the highlight was when jazz trumpeter and arranger Al Strong invited Teli on stage, calling him “one of the baddest drummers I know”.

Teli putting head on a djembe

Teli putting head on a djembe

Every year, the seven-day Kwanzaa celebration culminates at the Durham Armory with KwanzaaFest hosted again by Baba Chuck Davis and The African American Dance Ensemble. Ezibu Muntu, a Virginia-based dance and drum ensemble, raised the roof off the armory this year. Their ranks have swelled with new hungry young drummers powering the dancers’ feet. Teli and I were in our glory. This time not as organizers or performers, but as a vendors. Teli had just released Balankora’s first album, not quite an EP, just three songs, but potent enough to call it “One Dose”. Our son Delacey was invaluable help that final day arranging our business cards, cds and a listening station. The Magic of African Rhythm also had an assortment of different shaped and sized mbiras for sale. Mbiras are commonly known as thumb pianos. Teli hand-makes these music boxes and has even customized them for child-sized hands as well because anyone can make these instruments sing.

My friends’ mother from California has been celebrating Kwanzaa for over 30 years. She shared with us the first traditions of families coming over to one another’s homes and sharing a feast (karamu). Our cohort of seven or so families have been honoring this part of Kwanzaa’s tradition for the past five years. Each family hosts a night and it’s accompanying Nguzo Saba, or Kwanzaa Principle. Ujima [Collective Works and Responsibility] was our night. We crowded around the kinara lit with flaming candles as we sang “Oh, oh oh. Joy has come to the earth today. Let’s celebrate. Our heritage. Our togetherness.”

Mabinti practicing balaphon for Kwanzaa

Mabinti practicing balaphon for Kwanzaa

“This was the best Kwanzaa season yet!” I agreed  with Teli and thought about the fullness of our lives this past year. As a family we had completed a 10 week no- sugar candida diet. As a couple we had fasted during the Winter Solstice. My yoga practice has been disciplined and I have more peace in my life as a result. And Teli was still riding the high from his 2013-2014 Emerging Artist Grant Award. We closed out 2014 with a lot to be thankful for.


Hayti Heritage Kwanzaa 2014

Bridging the Divide

Hayti Heritage Center’s Annual Kwanzaa

Friday, December 26th, 2014

Kwanzaa 2014 Hayti Heritage Center

Kwanzaa 2014 Hayti Heritage Center


The Hayti Heritage Center hosts its annual *Kwanzaa Celebration. Umoja is Swahili for Unity, the focus of this year’s event. Zayd Malik Shakur will lead dynamic Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Evening performances and activities include African diasporic music and dance from B Shak Rhythm & Soul, Collage Dance Company, The Magic of African Rhythm, and BUMP The Triangle. Interactive workshops for children, families, and seniors beginning at 5pm. Food, clothing, jewelry, and art available at the Marketplace. Suggested donation $1 kids/seniors, $3 adults; no one will be turned away.


African-style Marketplace

Early browsing is encouraged at the African-style Marketplace showcasing original artwork by local artists, black books, clothing, jewelry, and so much more!

Food Court

Dinner plates from a variety of local food vendors catering to an array of dietary preferences will be sold in the “food court”.


Intergenerational Workshop designed to connect community across generations

Ages: Preteens to Seniors 5 – 6pm

African Diasporic Music Education Workshop with BUMP: The Triangle

Children 5 and up unless accompanied by an adult 5 – 6pm






No one is turned away!!!!!


PLEASE CONTACT: Aya Shabu:                       Hayti Heritage Center: 919-683-1709 OR
*Kwanzaa is a  7-day celebration of family, community, and culture observed from December 26 through January 1. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase, “matunda ya kwanza” which translates in Swahili as “first fruits”. Started in 1969 by Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is centered around seven basic African values, The Nguzo Sabua, which in Swahili translates to The Seven Principles.  For more information on Kwanzaa please visit the Official Kwanzaa Website:



Chapel Hill Public Library Performance

Teli Shabu with his kora surrounded by singing friends.

Teli Shabu with his kora surrounded by singing friends.

Monday July 28th, 2014 TMOAR performs The Magic Calabash at Chapel Hill Public Library as part of the library’s summer series. The Magic Calabash is a performance of melodic gourd instruments and their cousins. This musical journey of percussion, melody and song is an introduction to traditional storytelling instruments: kora and balaphon. Gourds are just one of the many similarities between West Africa and North Carolina. Whether a bowl, an instrument or memory, the gourd is also a bridge.