I AM… Nomad

My birth name is Darrin. My self-name is Nomad. The Nomad is the name given to the young lion of Africa. When he leaves his home and goes off on his on to search for his kingdom. The Nomad is also the name given to hunter / warrior tribes of Africa that live outside of the world. The follow their own laws and customs. So for me, the name Nomad represents the name of a warrior, it also represents the home of my ancestors, it also tells me not to follow the foolishness of the world but to be strong in my own beliefs.

I don’t practice a performing art. I practice my culture.  As my elders grow old and pass away, someone has to pick up the mantle and continue our traditions. As a black musician, I feel it is my responsibility to learn and inherit our culture. Then I too will pass it on. So that it will never die. Culture can only be preserved by the actions of the sons and daughters of that culture. I study and perform traditional malinke drumming, balafon, and the Fulani  / Mandinka flute. I also study jazz, blues, gospel, and hip-hop music (and many of the offsprings of hip hop such as EDM).

If being playing music for about 37 years. If being studying traditional African music for about 25 years. I currently perform with Kawambe-Omowale African Drum & Dance.

“When I perform, and I look around and see people smiling, dancing, and enjoying the music, I feel a great sense of purpose.” ~Nomad

Music and sound bring people together. It is also an internal part of many people’s special moments. I have played at weddings, funerals, graduations, baptisms, retirements, and many other celebrations. And when I play at someplace like a funeral, I recognize the significance of that event to the people involved. So I focus and do my absolute best. Being there is my purpose. It is the tradition of my ancestors, it is also an honor, and of high value to be there for people in their important moment.

My family is from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. I am and African American with a strong southern lineage. I recognize that which is why I also study jazz and blues. But I also recognize that my culture didn’t originate there. I don’t know which part of Africa. That part does not matter, I will just embrace it all. If I can embrace all that is “American”, then I should be more than capable of embracing all that is African.

You are what you eat.  I have grown up with a steady diet of R&B, Blues, Funk, and Jazz. Even if I was just listening I gained a musical vocabulary. I learned to talk, speak, and feel music in a way that is indigenous to my family and cultural background. I never took hip hop dance class, or blues classes, or R&B classes. But I can perform in all of these categories of music like an after that, because it is already me. That is my soul food. When I started to study traditional African music, It was not strange to me, because it was made of the same ingredients that I have already been consuming all of my life. It was just served in a different dish.

When I perform... Tafa

The Name Tafa, was given to me on one of the many trips made to West Africa with Kawambe- Omowale. It is basically and Arabic given name The name is an epithet of Muhammad that means - The Chosen One. It is a very common male given name throughout the Muslim world.

West African Drum and Dance. Most of the performances pieces come from parts of West Africa. Most of the dance pieces represent traditions and events that have taken or take place within communities.

I have been a part of Kawambe - Omowale for over 30 plus years

The dances from west Africa are more grounded with a connectedness to the earth in many of the pieces.

My ethnic origin is African American, going back 4 generations from Mississippi and South Carolina as best I can tell. Prior to that is the African American story often told about existing in the South.

Some of the things I have gained artistically and culturally is a realization that people are basically the same around the world, celebrating, important events and birthdays that have come to be meaningful within cultures.

"There is a sort of freeness  and self-expression that comes with the drumming." ~Tafa