The Percussion Lady & Alafia Heading

The Percussion Lady

Program Descriptions

Preschool through PreKindergarten
(30 to 45 minutes)

Rhythm Fun (& More!):

Come sing a song, play a drum (or bells, shakers and scrapers!) and move to the beat you create. A magical movement and percussion playshop for everyone!

Earth Day Celebration:

Take a fun, percussive ride on spaceship Earth—via a song, story and rhythms—to celebrate the beauty of the spring season.

School Age - First through Fifth grade
(45 to 60 minutes)

Catch the World Beat:

A multicultural excursion introducing Middle Eastern, Latin and African rhythms, drumming and percussive grooves.

An OPTION: Choose any one of these cultures as a program focus. For example, participants can learn the basic "3/2" clave pattern during the Sounds of South America; play several basic Middle Eastern patterns on the doumbek drum during the Music of the Middle East; or become an ensemble of percussion players, singers and dancers while participating in "Fanga," an African Welcome song.

Primordial Percussion Groove:

Students recreate the rhythmic sounds of early man and participate in a "cave person combo."

Teen Programming
(60 minutes)

Rhythmic Drumming & Rhythms:

Groove on several world-beat patterns while learning about their cultural context. An engaging hour of meditative and stress relieving rhythm!

Family/Community - Great for ages 2 to 92!
(45 to 60 minutes)

Community Drum Circle:*

Experience the magic and excitement of playing world percussion (drums, bells, shakers, and scrapers) instruments in a community setting. All instruments are provided. (This program can be customized as a team-building event for adult audiences and tailored for student/school groups.)

Rhythm of the Machine:

A whole body-mind-spirit experience of rhythm to create sound ... to create rhythms, culminating in quite the BOOM!! All instruments are provided in this engaging and interactive event.

Paws & Claws--Crazy Critters of the Bush and Jungle:

Explore your wild side and sense of adventure! Experience tales, rhythms, movement, and a song about exotic animals and bugs. All instruments are provided. Come ready to prowl, slither, and roar!

* I usually facilitate these circles solo; however, if the group is large enough, Sondra co-facilitates.


Our Story

Helen and Sondra

Once upon a time, in a former life, I imagine that Sondra Singer and I lived in an African village. We were drummers, storytellers, and very good friends. In this lifetime, we became performing partners in 1999 while playing with the African drum troupe, Oyoyo. We both realized an affinity for culturally-based rhythms, stories, and songs and struck out on our own under the moniker of Alafia (which means peace). Much of our current programming centers on the themes of peace, building bridges, African and Middle Eastern culture, and actively engaging their audiences—which have ranged in age from 2 to 92!

Our Programs

Our programming is appropriate for children from preschool/ kindergarten through 6th grade and can be customized to fit a particular theme and/or age level. Performances generally run 45 – 60 minutes. In addition, we are happy to customize our programming for community groups, conferences, and special events.

Program Descriptions

Building Bridges--Stories, Songs & Dance about Getting Along:

This interactive, modular program about creating peace uses songs, folk stories, rhythms and Dances of Universal Peace (see for more information) that emphasize the benefits of enhancing our understanding of others through clearer communication, listening and empathy.

A Tour of Africa in Story, Rhythm & Song:

An instructive and fun introduction to African culture, this involving rhythmic program features a variety of performance pieces from the African continent—such as "The Drum," a drum origination story from the Congo and "The Promise of the Full Moon," an adaptation of the story of the Khoi Khoi people of the Southern Cape of South Africa. The performance also includes percussion, songs and the African welcome song and dance, "Fanga." To create a full-bodied, authentic experience of an African cultural program, we include a third percussionist

Tales of the Earth, Songs of Peace:**

This participatory and modular program incorporates a variety of ethnic folktales and songs from Native Americans, Bali, India and Japan that highlight the dual themes of environmental appreciation and responsibility—such as “The Screen of Frogs,” a tale from Japan about a selfish wealthy lad who transforms to caring protector of the land and animals; and the ever-entertaining “Gecko Cannot Sleep,” a story from Bali about the interconnectedness of life. Also included are Dances of Universal Peace—where time and space is available—to help connect the audience more deeply to the earth.

Chanukah and Kwanzaa--The Other December Holidays:

In this fun, educational and entertaining holiday programming alternative, we share historical information and holiday symbols. Starting with Chanukah, we sing songs and involve the audience in playing with our giant dreidel (a four-sided top used in a children's game of chance). For Kwanzaa, we include stories and songs that reflect the qualities of the African American celebration and, if there is time, play a rhythm game; we culminate with "Fanga" — an interactive welcome story, song and dance often told during this holiday.

Chanukah Fun for Everyone--Songs, Stories Rhythms & Games to Celebrate the Miracle of Lights:

This engaging all-Chanukah program is filled songs, music and a lighthearted retelling of the Chanukah story from a cats' perspective (you must have heard of Simon Catzenbaum, a distant cousin, who helped the Maccabees!)—culminating in a spirited, hands-on children's drum circle with a Chanukah theme on the percussion instruments we supply.

Let's Make Noise:

This is a fun and interactive event that is great for school assemblies and private celebrations. The first part features a Russian folktale, "The Stubborn Turnip," told in tandem. During the second part, students participate in a rhythm band: not only do they create rhythmic sounds with their bodies and voices, some are also invited on stage to play on the supplied percussion instruments. Throughout this second part, we can also demonstrate the playing of these instruments and mention fun cultural facts about each. The program culminates joyously with everyone learning "Fanga."

** Sondra usually performs this program solo, but I can join her as an Alafia option.