“blood drum spirit brings a new global vision to music, exploring deep into the world’s great traditions through the prism of live jazz performance.”


David Bindman, saxophonist and composer, leads his ensemble, and is a member of Blood Drum Spirit, and has performed with numerous artists and groups, including Wadada Leo Smith, royal hartigan, Kevin Norton, Ehran Elisha, Adam Lane, Anthony Braxton, and Talking Drums. He co-founded the Brooklyn Sax Quartet with Fred Ho, recording the critically acclaimed CDs The Way of the Saxophone and Far Side of Here, and collaborated with poet Tyrone Henderson and visual artist Quimetta Perle, creating the multimedia pieces “The Madman” and “Strawman Dance.” The David Bindman Ensemble’s double CD Sunset Park Polyphony was released in 2012. Bindman lives in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

(David Bindman by Oren Slor)
(David Bindman by Rob Mayer)


Wes Brown is a bassist, flutist, pianist, drummer, and dancer who has toured the world with many groups, including the legendary pianist Earl ‘Fatha’ Hines, Talking Drums, Anthony Braxton, and the Black Rebels reggae ensemble. His musical expertise includes Jazz, Afro-pop, highlife, reggae, blues, and gospel styles. Wes has appeared on over two-dozen records with various artists, and currently teaches contrabass and directs the Gospel Choir in the UMass Dartmouth Music Department.

(Wes Brown – far left, royal, art and david in that order)


Art Hirahara is a jazz pianist/composer, originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, now residing in Brooklyn, New York. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in jazz piano performance at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA and a Bachelor of Music degree in Electronic and Computer Music from the Oberlin College Conservatory in Oberlin, OH. In 1996 he was selected by the U.S. Information Agency to serve as a “Jazz Ambassador” on a seven-week tour in Qatar, Yemen, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, where he performed, lectured and conducted workshops with local musicians. Art performs across the globe with many leading jazz soloists and ensembles, and has performed regularly at venues on the East and West coasts, including Yoshi’s in Oakland, CA, and Birdland in New York City, working with noted musicians including Vincent Herring, Akira Tana, Rufus Reid, Wadada Leo Smith, Scott Amendola, Todd Sickafoose, Hafez Modirzadeh, Anton Schwartz, Marcus Shelby, Anthony Brown and the Asian American Orchestra, E.W. Wainwright, Eric Crystal, Bob Kenmotsu, Chuck Sher, San Jose Taiko, Idris Ackamoor, and Helcio Milito.

(Art Hirahara)
(Art Hirahara)

Art has studied performance and composition with Charlie Haden, Joe La
Barbera, Neal Creque, Jimmy Owens, Wadada Leo Smith, and David Roitstein. He was recently chosen as musical director for a new Off-Broadway show in New York. His CD entitled Edge of This Earth was released in August of 2000, followed by Noble Path in 2011.


Royal Hartigan is a percussionist, pianist, and tap dancer who has studied and performed the musics of Asia, Africa, Europe, West Asia, and the Americas as well as African American blues, gospel, funk, hip-hop, and jazz traditions. He was awarded an A.B. in philosophy from St. Michael’s College in 1968, a BA in African American Music with honors from UMass Amherst, and M.A. and PhD degrees in world music and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University in 1983 and 1986, studying intensively with ethnomusicologist David McAllester and Bill Lowe, Bill Barron, Edward Blackwell, Freeman Kwadzo Donkor, Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, and other master artists/scholars from Java, India, and Ghana, West Africa.

Royal has received many awards for global research, performance, and teaching. These include Healey and Whiting Award (2010), Asian Cultural Council Research Grant for the Philippines (2009), a J. William Fulbright Lecture/Research Award for the Philippines (2006), a New School University (NY) Dean’s Resident Master Artist Award (2005-06), and a Korean Foundation Fellowship (2001). He is an endorsee for Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets, Istanbul Cymbals, and Remo drumheads.

Royal has taught ethnomusicology, African drumming, and world music ensemble at the New School University (formerly the New School for Social Research) in New York, Wesleyan University’s Graduate Liberal Studies program, San Jose State University, and is currently a full Professor at UMass Dartmouth. His publications include Blood Drum Spirit: Drum Languages of West Africa, African America, Native America, Central Java, and South India, a 1700-page analysis of world drumming traditions (UMI/ProQuest); articles in Percussive Notes, World of Music, Annual Review of Jazz Studies, Music in China, and The African American Review; a book with compact disc, West African Rhythms for Drumset (Manhattan Music/Warner Brothers/Alfred 1995, 2004), named one of the top 25 percussion books in the history percussion publications by Modern Drummer Magazine, and two with digital video disc, Dancing on the Time (Tapspace 2006), and West African Eve Rhythms for Drumset (Print Tech 2011). He has given lectures and clinics on world music and jazz in Africa, China, the Philippines, Europe, and North America. Royal travels to West Africa most summers to teach, perform, and do research, collaborating with master artists and the people of various villages, including the Dagbe Cultural Centre at Kopeyia Village, Volta Region, Ghana, the Dagara Music Centre in Midie, Ghana, and Mampong, Asante Region, Ghana. He was a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Culture and African Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, during the 2013-14 year.

(royal hartigan JAZZ-FestivalCCPday1-2011Aug2003)
(royal hartigan JAZZ-FestivalCCPday1-2011Aug2003)

He has performed, given workshops, and recorded internationally with his own blood drum spirit ensemble and master artists (blood drum spirit, 1997 and 2003, Innova; ancestors and blood drum spirit: the Royal Hartigan ensemble live in china, both Innova, 2008), Juba (Look on the Rainbow, 1987), Talking Drums (Talking Drums, 1985 and Someday Catch, Someday Down, 1987) the Fred Ho Afro-Asian Music Ensemble, Hafez Modirzadeh’s Paradox, the David Bindman-Tyrone Henderson Project, Nathaniel Mackey, Michael Heffley, soundSFound Orchestra, Global Phatness, and Paul Austerlitz, among others. He has released a documentary and artistic video of his work in West Africa and its relation to the African American music cultures (eve).

blood drum spirit ensemble subset

royal hartigan, david bindman, wes brown jazz trio will be playing live at Alliance Francaise on 28th january, 2015. I believe you read every single line and held your breath throughout because these legends are worth knowing! >>

great_wall 2006
(L-R: royal hartigan, david bindman, wes brown)

(www.royalhart.com, http://www.blooddrumspirit.com, http://www.youtube.com/royalhartigan’s channel)


Author: Kwame 'Write' Aidoo

Kwame Aidoo, also known as Write is a fond reader, writer and lover of music and the arts, with a degree in Biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Tech., Kumasi and a certificate in Cultural Organizations in Transition from University of Lüneburg. He founded the creative activism movement: Inkfluent which curates Slam Ghana, The Write Experience, Vocal Portraits poetry albums, Slam Lab and the biggest literary festival in Ghana; Nkabom Literary Festival. Aside Ghana, where he is based, he has shown work in Brazil, Togo, Austria, France, Benin, Germany and Burkina Faso and most recently Norway with Aurora Ekvatorialis; a light sculpture and texts collaboration with Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen, exhibiting at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, 16.9.2016 – 15.1.2017.

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