Ensemble Members bios:

Yahya Johnson: Yahya has been playing West African and Afro Latin style percussion for 14 years. His influences include study with the late Babatunde Olatunji and several trips to West Africa. Yahya’s style is heavily influenced by Afro-Cuban folkloric traditions and the music of West Africa's Mande people.

Gregory Acker (coordinator): Gregory teaches world music at local colleges and universities, and is an artist-in-residence in community/educational settings. He served two terms in the Peace Corps in Africa, and continued his studies with master drummer Abraham Adzenyah of Ghana. He is also a musical instrument-builder.

Angela Scharfenberger: Angela first fell in love with the communal spirit of African music 12 years ago, which led to her current path as an ethnomusicology student at Indiana University (Bloomington). Among her many amazing teachers (including the members of Kyene) are Ghanaian master drummer Sowah Mensah, and her daughter Joy. 

Abdullahi Al-Shakur: Abdullah has been a community-based drummer for over a decade, first drawn by the sounds of Latin/Afro-Cuban music, and now enjoying West African rhythms and songs and especially the company of his fellow musicians in Kyene. 

Gary Pahler: While most musicians develop a singular style and trade off of that sound,
Gary’s approach is suited towards the project under construction. This has lead him to add his drumming skills to afro-cuban ensembles, indie-rock bands, jazz and world music groups, and avant-garde new music ensembles. He is also currently a member of both the pan-idiomatic ensemble Ut Gret and the string-based ensemble, Commonwealth. In addition, he is a television producer/director for KET (Kentucky Educational Television/PBS).

Sheri Carbone: Sheri was introduced to African drumming and the djembe 10 years ago in Chicago, Illinois, listening to a SGI (Soka Gakkai International) Buddhist women's drum group. Feeling that the drum was healing, she continued to play the djembe and then traveled to Mali, West Africa with Master Drummer YaYa Diallo to study music, dance and culture. She has performed in his concerts locally, and she also currently performs with Mystic Rhythms—a  diverse Women's percussion group. Performing with Kyene is her dream come true.

Joshua B. Henderson: Joshua has been playing and learning West African and Latin drumming for over a decade.  Main influences include: Soungalo Coulibali, Percussion du Guinea, and Mamady Keita.  Fascinated with the rich oral history in the music that details the African diaspora and its cultural and spiritual past, Joshua is dedicated to bringing this same music to contemporary audiences in the hope that more education will lead to peace, understanding, and world unity.  "Music is compassion; let us all unite and sing a song of harmony, peace and justice for all peoples of the globe!"

Kyene also includes Eric Clark, whose bio is soon to come.

Home Biographies Contact Videos / Photos