Daughters of the Drum: Amikaeyla, Susu Pampanin and Spirit of Sultana
Proclaimed as one of the “purest contemporary voices” by NPR, powerhouse Amikaeyla embraces the best of many types of music. Her sultry sound is “like listening to velvet waterfalls” (MTV) and her soulful flavor captures the listener with dynamic passion and sincerity. Winner of Eight Washington Area Music Association Awards for Best Jazz, World and Urban Contemporary Vocalist, Amikaeyla was named DC’s best female composer; won the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts, and was recently honored with first prize for Best World Music Composition from the Maryland State Arts Council. She has studied, recorded with, and shared the stage with many award winning artists, including Take 6, Sweet Honey In The Rock, Baba Olatunji, Mickey Hart, Gil Scott Heron, Wyclef, Pete Seeger, Shiela E and Esperanza Spalding to name a few. Her strong academic interest in Sacred Ethnomusicology led her to study with many spiritual and musical masters from many different cultures, and she was invited to perform in India at the Inaugural Festival of Sacred Chanting and Singing for the commemoration of the Golden Buddha at the request and invitation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Currently, Amikaeyla serves as a Cultural Arts Ambassador for the US State Department and for over the past 15 years she has travelled the world extensively as a liaison between communities and fostering relationships amidst artists, healers and the general populace by designing strategy platforms which allow different cultures and nationalities to gather together and address issues concerning our communities at large. As the Founder and Executive Director of the International Cultural Arts & Healing Sciences Institute (ICAHSI), she has appeared internationally on numerous radio and television programs performing and speaking about her “Music As Medicine - Healing with an Artful Purpose” programming - a multi-faceted therapeutic approach through music, movement, & theater modalities. This program has been implemented around the world to at-risk women and children hoping to aid in alleviating pain and trauma caused by war. She is the proud recipient of the Voss Foundation Emerging Leaders Women Helping Women Award, Global Woman Award, the Pioneer Award for Exemplary Leadership and Outstanding Service in Social Justice and Advocacy Award, and the Hero for Peace and Forgiveness award. Susu Pampanin: Spirit of Sultana is a women’s percussion ensemble focused on drums, songs and dance from Egypt, Morocco and beyond. Pampanin’s heartbeat is her drum; her life stories are her songs; her dreams are her dances. Working most recently with singer Holly Near, she has been heard in numerous world music groups including Keith Terry’s Crosspulse, Wild Mango and Stellamara. Respected world-wide as a master of Arabic drumming, she leads Spirit of Sultana in songs, timeless melodies, intricate improvisations both melodic (taqasim), and vocal (mawwal, reminiscent of the ancient call to prayer) while highlighting the percussive sounds of its Middle Eastern rhythm section. The music draws inspiration from Andalusian, Tarab (Classic), Sufi, popular and folkloric genres. Pampanin says, “Spirit of Sultana aspires to take you to a faraway place, where the spirit of the queen lives.” In addition to Pampanin the group features percussionist-dancers TerriAnne Gutierrez and Amina Goodyear; oud player, singer and percussionist Fatima Zohra Lahlou and percussionist Mohini Rustagi.