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Leon Mobley and the Djembe West African Drummers and Dancers

About this Artist

LEON MOBLEY, world renowned percussionist, member of Grammy-winning band Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, and Remo Djembe Signature Series Artist, has made his mark in the music and performance industry for many years. At the young age of seven, he studied African drums at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in Roxbury, Massachusetts, under the tutelage of Babatunde Olatunji, who was a world renowned Nigerian Master Drummer. He was fortunate to also study Trap Drums with jazz greats Max Roach and Steve Ambush. By age 10, Leon was a cast member on the Emmy Award-winning PBS television program entitled ZOOM. At such a tender age, Leon received opportunities to perform for and with the likes of Coretta Scott King and Duke Ellington.

After leaving ZOOM, he began performing with the traditional West African dance company “The Art of Black Dance and Music” and touring with a reggae band. He was an original cast member of an off-Broadway Motown musical Dancing in the Street for many years while attending University of Massachusetts, where he studied music and education. Upon leaving his roots and moving to California, he started the traditional West African dance company Djembe West African Drummers and Dancers. His dance company has been featured in the motion picture Poetic Justice, starring Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur, as well as the television series A Different World and Northern Exposure.

Leon began his own musical group Leon Mobley and Da Lion, showcasing his musical combination of traditional West African and traditional American African funk, creating a joyful, vigorous, exuberant atmosphere of jubilee. He has gone on to produce six CDs and has had countless performances throughout the United States.

Leon was selected as Art Envoy by the U.S. State Department, under President Barack Obama, for the Arts Envoy Exchange Program which sponsors the Innovative MIMA programs (Modern Improvisational Music Association). In this position, he traveled abroad doing workshops, recordings, and performances throughout Africa and South America.

He has had his own REMO signature series Djembe drum for over twenty years, selling millions around the world.

Throughout his career, he has recorded and performed with many notable artists, which include Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, Mick Jagger, Madonna, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Blind Boys of Alabama, Damian and Stephen Marley, the Temptations, NAS, Kamasi Washington, Dave Matthews, and Joss Stone, Henry Kapono, Kimié Miner, Paula Fuga, Tavana, Guidance Band, Lyon Fiyah, Jack Johnson, Mike Love, Tenelle, Teki, and Jah Maoli.

Djembe West African Drummers and Dancers were formed by Leon Mobley in 1986. They perform traditional West African drumming and dancing from the Great Mali Empire of the 13th and 14th century. They perform with vigor and grace and are best known from their appearances at Northern Exposure, Motown 30th, Martin, Pan African Film Series, Los Angeles Zoo, Getty Museum, Festival Of Masks, L.A. African Market Place, and with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre.

Come and enjoy “sounds of music of the soul!”