Michael J. Taylor
Michael J. Taylor, more commonly known simply as 'Taylor', has been teaching, performing, and recording West African percussion since 1994. After beginning studies with Grand Master Drummer Mamady Keita in 2001, he achieved the degrees of Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy Instructor (2005) and TTMDA Senior Instructor (2006); he is the Director of TTMDA-Chicago. Through TTMDA he teaches and performs with and for youth ages 5-105. The founder and driving force behind Holy Goat Percussion, he imports, sells and repairs West African djembes and dununs. Additionally, he recorded all djembe parts on the Djembeföla! App for IOS. He is proud to be a “messenger of tradition” in representing TTMDA. Check 'djembist' on YouTube for video examples. He began drumming through theatre and has performed and/or taught djembe on every continent except Antarctica. In his work as a musician with the djembe he has put this traditional West African instrument in performance art, storytelling, contemporary music (jazz, classical, pop, blues, etc.)
The music of the West African djembe drum is part of the fabric of Mande culture; that area of the world that was once called the Malian Empire in West Africa in the 13th century. Djembe is always played intentionally, for a purpose. No matter if it is being played for the farmers, for initiation, for the full moon or for any other reason, dance is always involved, so don’t be afraid to dance when the djembe calls to you!
Whether it is as an educator, entrepreneur, video/recording artist or performer, Taylor brings a unique perspective to his craft. With the combination of a unique ability to communicate, instill discipline and promote creativity, combined with a broad range of life and professional experience, he focuses on the relationship between the individual and rhythm/drumming. This has led to an overall philosophy that seeks to bridge the gap between all things in rhythm, seeking to find where one's own personal pulse lies in relation to the collective pulse. By way of traditional West African or non-traditional styles, Taylor demonstrates the universality of rhythm in everything he does.