S U M M A R Y
Francis Awe's mission is to create unity and harmony among people of all races
and cultural backgrounds. He does this masterfully through the performance and
teaching of African Music and Dance and the sharing of principles from the heart
of African family life.
Together with his wife, lead dancer Omowale, Francis Awe formed The Nigerian
Talking Drum Ensemble in 1985 in response to a growing international interest in
this unique form of drumming. He has performed in Mexico, Germany, India, and
extensively in the United States. Currently based in Los Angeles, the Ensemble
has appeared at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Bower Museum, and Disneyland,
as well as at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, the John Anson Ford
Amphitheatre, the Hollywood Bowl and many other major cultural festivals.
Bringing the richness and wisdom of his culture directly to children is also Francis
Awe's passionate desire. He has spent much time and energy as a teacher,
workshop leader and cultural guide. In this capacity he has been able to reach
people of all ages and backgrounds, including those in the penal system. His
hope and inspiration is to establish a permanent Cultural Center where African
music and dance and its underlying message can be presented on a continuing
E D U C A T I O N
MFA Degree, African Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, 1994
BFA Degree, World Arts and Cultures, University of California, Los Angeles, 1990
(includes 2 years at California Institute of the Arts, Music Dept.)
Certificate of Theatre Arts, African Traditional Music, University of Ife, Ile-Ife,
Oyo State, Nigeria, 1981
W O R K H I S T O R Y and W O R K S H O P S
2003 - 1996 Teacher, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA
2003 - 1997 Los Angeles Music Center, Educational Division, Artist in
Residence, Conducting workshops with Omowale Awe sharing
African Traditions and Culture with school children
2002 --------- Teacher ( together with Omowale Awe ), Irvine Valley College, CA
Yoruba Culture and Rhythms
2002 --------- Teacher at The Performing Tree, Los Angeles, CA
Improvement Techniques for Teachers
1997 --------- Teacher, University of California, Irvine
African Culture and Rhythms
1997 --------- Designer, signature series of Talking Drums for REMO Drums, USA
1997 --------- First CD Recording Released, 'Oro Ijinle' (Deep Words)
1996 --------- Workshop Leader for Teachers of California Art Project and the
ABC Conference for Orange County Teachers
1991 --------- Lecture Demonstration, California Men's Colony, San Luis
Yoruba music and dance with philosophy of African life
1990 --------- Lecturer / Performer, International Conference, Bangalore, INDIA
'Communicating Conservation and Sustainable Development'
P E R F O R M A N C E S
2003 Los Angeles Theater Center, performed yearly since 1995
Creator of 'Day of Remembrance, Day of Healing' program
2003 'The Africans Are Coming' Los Angeles, performed yearly since 1991
(in cooperation with the L.A.Cultural Affairs Department)
2003 Hollywood Bowl, California, performed yearly since 2000
2002 Winston Salem State University, North Carolina
2002 World Festival of Sacred Music, Los Angeles.
Lecture Demo, Libation Ceremony and Performance
1999 Los Angeles Music Center, 'Kids on Stage'
1999 Los Angeles Philharmonic Open-House; Hollywood Bowl, L.A.
1998 J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
1997 John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, Los Angeles 'To All Relations'
1997 The Performing Tree, Los Angeles
1997 Appeared in the films 'Moesha' and 'Strange Days'
1997 The Bower Museum, Santa Ana, CA
1996 Television appearances and various commercials
including 'Frank's Place' and 'Growing Pains', TV shows
1990 Los Angeles Coliseum, Celebration for Nelson Mandela
------- Recording Sessions with Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder & Others
A W A R D S R E C E I V E D
2003 Commendation for Outstanding Service to the Arts Community, Inglewood, California
2003 Multicultural Award ( 2001-2003 ), California Arts Council
2002 'Exemplary Artist', California Arts Council
1997 Durfee Foundation, Santa Monica, CA
Annual Fellowship Program to sustain and teach musical skill and
cultivate new audiences
1996 Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Grant, to teach Yoruba culture.
Program included Master drummer from Cuba, with emphasis on
similarity between two cultures and their common roots.
1987/86 Clifton Webb Award, UCLA, for studies in World Arts & Cultures
1986 Associate of Ethnic Arts, UCLA
1985/84 Cannonball Adderly Scholarship, UCLA
1985/84 MacNeil Pierce Scholarship, Ahmanson Foundation Scholarship,
California Institute of the Arts
1984/83 California Institute of the Arts, Full Scholarship
P U B L I C A T I O N S
2003 WORLD RHYTHM, Global Music and Culture, Featured Artist
2002 UCLA BEAT, literary journal of the UCLA School of Medicine
Photograph featured on the back cover