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       Djembe means unity.  The djembe drum unites drummer and drum, drum and dance, individual and community, one and oneness. As a creative artist, I am grateful for my gift. I am inspired by the richness it brings me, and I want to “give” this love to others. 

       My goal in making art is to inspire others, not necessarily to play the drum (although I am as pleased as punch when this occurs), but to realize their passion.  I believe this realization spawns a natural inclination to share, and when we share, we come together. We unify. 

       My role as an artist within the community, my role as a djembe player, is to bring people together — to inspire, bring a little happiness, some joy, a lot of love, and...


       As a young child, Kazi Oliver tapped out rhythms on many a household item, including tables, counters, even a sister or two.  When his mother discovered that a local afterschool program offered African drumming, Kazi was promptly directed to attend.  Since these early beginnings, he has truly become the drummers’ version of the Pied Piper, engaging children and adults in experiencing the energy and excitement derived from African drumming.

       Workshops and classes led by Kazi are not only educational, but also promote cultural awareness and a sense of community.  Participants are introduced to an impressive array of African drums, cowbells and other percussion instruments. They receive instruction in proper techniques for striking the instruments, as well as the historical and cultural importance of the drum.  Kazi’s humorous and fun-loving nature puts even the most introverted student at ease and facilitates the learning of both traditional African rhythms and original rhythms expressly created by the instructor.

       Kazi has been teaching for 20 years and performing for over 25 years. Ongoing classes are available for children and adults in both Peekskill and Newburgh, NY.  He is also musical director of the Kazi Oliver Drummers

and Dancers, an ensemble of artists from this continent and the continent of Africa.

       Professionally, Kazi has performed in many places.  Some of his most notable appearances have been at the famed jazz venue, the Village Vanguard, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and on ABC-TV’s “The View.” Yet Kazi enjoys just as much his appearances at community festivals, schools and events that bring together multigenerational and multicultural audiences to experience and enjoy the awesome power of the African drum.




Beacon Family Health Services, Beacon
Cathedral of St John the Divine, NYC
Families First, NYC
Hudson Valley Health Care, Peekskill
Newburgh Family Health Center, Newburgh
Project Liberty, NYC
St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Beacon
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Newburgh
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Peekskill
Theodore M. Young Community Center, White Plains
Unitarian Society of Yorktown
Westchester Arts Council, White Plains



Brooklyn Academy of Music
Clearwater Festival
Festival of 1000 Drums
MasterCard International
Museum of Modern Art
NAACP Image Awards
Pepsi Cola
United States Postal Service’s Multicultural Day
PBS Children’s Day
SummerStage at Central Park
Village Vanguard
WABC-TV’s “The View” with Barbara Walters
Marymount College
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh
SUNY New Paltz
SUNY Oneonta
SUNY Purchase



Brookside Elementary School, Ossining
Copper Beach Middle School, Lakeland
Furnace Woods Elementary School, Montrose
Haldane High School. Coldspring
High View Elementary School, Greenburgh
Garrison Elementary School, Garrison
George Washington Elementary School, Peekskill
Gorton High School, Yonkers
Lakeland Children’s Center, Lakeland
Museum Middle School, Yonkers
Oakside Elementary School, Peekskill
Ossining High School, Ossining
Park Elementary School, Ossining
Park Street Middle School, Peekskill
Shrub Oak Lakeland High School, Lakeland
Strang Middle School, Yorktown
Uriah Hill Elementary School, Peekskill
Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, Peekskill
Walter Panas High School, Lakeland
WJCS-Family Center, Yonkers
Woodlands Middle School/High School, Greenburgh

Bardonia Elementary School
Cherry Lane Elementary School
Cottage Lane Elementary School
Lakewood Elementary School
Laurel Plains Elementary School
Liberty Elementary School
Little Tor Elementary School
Montebello Elementary School
Strawtown Elementary School
Upper Nyack Elementary School
Viola Elementary School
West Nyack Elementary School
Woodglen Elementary School
William E. Schaffer Elementary School

Broadway Elementary School
Fostertown Elementary School
Gardenertown Elementary School
Homeschoolers Tri State Region
Horizons on the Hudson Elementary School
Meadowhill Elementary School
Montgomery Elementary School
Newburgh Free Academy High School
Newburgh Head Start
Newburgh Performing Arts Academy
North Junior High School
South Junior High School
Tri State Region Home Schoolers
Washington Street Pre-K

Gov. George Clinton Elementary School, Poughkeepsie

Dutchess County Community College
Lady of the Good Shepard College
Orange County Community College, Newburgh/Middletown Mercy
Rockland Community College
Westchester Community College

Camp Hand in Hand, Connecticut
Church of the Good Shepard, Bronx
Creative Arts Camp, Peekskill
Depot Theatre Summer Arts Camp, Garrison
School of the Tarrytowns Camp, Tarrytown
Yonkers Community Action Program, Yonkers