I'm from Ethiopia, but grew up in the US, as did my parents. I've lived in the midwest, the south and the western United States and currently reside in Kent, Ohio.
I first became interested in the history of African Americans when I was in the 3rd grade and have been a passionate researcher and cultural practioner ever since. In 1970 I first went to Africa and a whole new world opened up in front of me.
Ever since that time I've been seeking more knowledge of my African heritage and culture. In the course of learning more about myself and who I am/we are I've leared how to play a variety of African instruments, including a variety of drums, the Mbira, and accompanying instruments, as well as how to make them.
In my search I've come in contact with different people of all stripes and denominations, including African classically trained musicians and traditional musicians, folk musicians, etc. Therefore, I can appreciate all types of music and can relate to people on a lot of different levels.
During my sojourn in Los Angeles, I got to meet and work with a number of world renowned artists, including John Outterbridge, Kenny Burrell, Bill Summers, Leon Mobley, Kamau Daaood, Babatunde Olatunji and many others.
I had formal training at a number of universities, including UCLA, the University of Washington and Kent State University, matriculating from Kent State on 2 occasions. However, my most valuable degree is the degree of the streets, which I earned on the streets of L.A.
What I learned on those streets from the everyday people from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Korea, China, Japan, Brazil, the US, a number of African countries, et. al. could not have been learned anywhere else. Los Angeles has to be one of the most, if not the most, cosmopolitan city in the country. I would be hard pressed to say where else I could have the same experience.
My goal now is to offer to the youth of public institutions of learning the same kind of learning experiences that I was able to offer to my children, as a homeschooling parent. Get the book "Freedom Challenge" to learn more about what it can be like to be a homeschooling parent.
I've got a number of current projects in the works involving a variety of media and hope to be getting them into production in the near future. They invlove history in the making, as we see the stories unfolding right before our eyes someone has to document it and tie it to our past, so we can see where we came from and determine where we're going.