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Journey of the Drum waking up spirit!!
In the Beginning...How our journey began:
(Telling a long story in a short version, will be challenging).
Emmanuel is from Ivory Coast and was born in a small but beautiful village called Bangofla. He had been surrounded by drumming and dancing from his culture and tribe from the time he opened his eyes. His mother and father’s family all came from a drumming background. He was taught at a young age. When he moved to the city, like many village people, he had to learn to make money. He worked in a factory and carried other jobs. As he grew older, he grew tired. He began going to church where his uncle was the Pastor. He picked up the drum again, and it was like magic. He was able to make the drum sing and everyone wanted to come to church to hear him drum. He was then recruited to the Ivory Coast Orchestra and soon became the lead drummer. Emmanuel had played in many orchestras and also was paid to be on many CD’s for other singers and bands.
When he heard that his brother, Dr. Djobi, from the same mother and father, was coming to visit after 18 years, he was excited. His brother who he had been estranged to him for many years; had no idea he had made drumming a career. Emmanuel was excited to see his brother in action because of the stories. Dr. Djobi was a legend in the family and people of Ivory Coast. He wanted to learn and visit with him while he was home visiting.
Kimberly was born in Toledo, Ohio. Both her parents were musicians from guitars, banjo, piano, drums, and more. She grew up going to her parent’s gigs and being encouraged to dance and drum. She began in ballet at the age of 5 and continued to learn violin and singing. She began her journey of the healing drum in 1996 after she lost her firstborn daughter. Kimberly’s first teacher was Nighthawk, and journeyed to learn from other master such as Yaya Diallo, Baba Olatunji, Eesa Greyson, and more. Wanting to learn more, she gained her Bachler’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in African studies at University of Toledo. She later gained her Master’s in Mental Health. When invited to go with Dr. Djobi’s group to Ivory Coast, she journeyed there her first time for 4 weeks. At that time she owned a store front called ‘Tea spoon of Sugar’ and partnered with a recording studio. They rented space to other artist, and rented space for people to rehears their music as well as had people there daily recording. They taught music and drums every Saturday and had an open venue for music everyday.
When going to Africa to study music with the Gourou tribe to learn Zaouli, Kimberly had no idea where the adventure was truly taking her.
After getting off the airplane, and spending the night in a hotel, the Djobi family gathered. There were people everywhere. When getting on the bus that was taking her to Bangofla .There was a handsome man smiling at her. When she smiled back, there eyes met. She knew and he knew. They were destined.
The first week was hard, they did not know how to speak each other’s language. Kimberly had no idea he could drum. He was there to spend time with his brother. Many people in the village helped teach drum. Emmanuel hung out a lot with Kimberly. He took her French book to learn English. Finally, after many days, he took her on a motorcycle ride with their cousin, Abel. When he got her alone, he confessed his love. Kimberly felt the same way. They spent every moment together and prayed that if this is right, that God will show the way.
Before Kimberly left Africa, they both went to Embassy. Kimberly wanted the right forms to legally become married. Both Kimberly and Emmanuel were never married before. First, at the Embassy, they told Kimberly it would take 2 weeks. Kimberly, then asked again, politely. Explained the issue that she needed to go home, and did know if she be back for a couple months because of her job. The man behind the counter at the Embassy, looked at her and knew she was in love and needed to do this or he would not be right with God. He gave her, her interview to have the permission slip from the embassy to be married properly. Then, 2 days later they had a legal marriage.
After they were married, that night Kimberly and Emmanuel went dancing, out to eat, went sightseeing, and more. But, at the end of the night, Emmanuel said to his new wife, that he had a surprise. He took her to a strange place at 1:00 A.M. where there were many people gathered. He walked to the place he belonged. Then he sat his new wife down next to him and told her to have no worries, he knew she could drum. A spotlight came on and showed his wife proudly he could really drum. There was 100’s of people around, dancing, clapping, and singing. Kimberly not knowing this big aspect of her husband, was so surprised and happy. He explained to her that he didn’t want her to love him because of the drum, but for his heart and his soul. And he knew she loved him, and was so happy to journey his life with someone that loved the drum as much as he did.
After the legal marriage, she came back to prep for a proper traditional marriage in the village. On her 3rd trip back, she brought her family, and both families headed to the village for the big wedding.
Kimberly was the first American woman to be married in the village of Bangofla and in territory of Zuenoufla. The chief of the village and the people of Bangofla approved the marriage. She was beloved by the people of Bangofla. They had a traditional wedding in the village with a Zaouli dancer, DJ, and lots of food, family, and fun.
After many long days apart, talking on the phone everyday, Kimberly and Emmanuel were able to get him here with a Visa. After spending the first year learning the culture, the language, and family, they began the formation of ‘Djobi Ensemble’ Wake Up Spirit.
(Here is the beginning, and a short version of how this all began—I hope to add more and blog as we go)
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