Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble (UAD) founded in 1984 and were blessed by learning traditional and authentic dance, drum, song, language and instruments from African and African-Americans teachers since 1984. Two of our African master teachers, historians and scholars were from the best African Dance & Drum Troupes in the WORLD, out of West Africa (Guinea), Moussa Diabate, and Tenenfig Dioubate. Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble have been learning from Moussa and Tenenfig since 1998.
While in Guinea, West Africa in 2005, for almost one month everyday for 14 hours a day, Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble founders and directors Robert, Wanda, Nasir and Jamal Dickerson were blessed with the best teachers from Les Ballet Africain, Les Percussions De Guinee, The Amazones Woman Drummers and other Guinea Dance & Drum Ballets. They learned more of the Djembe Family of Drums, Balaphon, and Kora from: MITO CAMARA, MAMADY MANSARE, PAPA HIDARA, SEKOU DIABATE, JUDEE, and OUSMAN.
Other great teachers from Les Ballet and other Ballets of Guinea, Africa, were also responsible for teaching Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble the Guinea style of drumming such as KOLIPE, JULEA, MAMADOUBA "MOHAMED" CAMARA, M' BEMBA BANGOURA, YOUSSOUF KOUMBASSA, YALANI BANGOURA and others. UAD also received teachings from MALAY from Mali, Africa and was blessed to learn songs, drum and dance from THULA SIZWE, a dynamic group from South Africa, while they were touring America. UAD has also learned the art and craftsmanship on how to skin, and string the drums, the Balaphon, the Kora and other authentic instruments, to ballet performance quality from these great teachers in Africa and America.
We must give love and appreciation to our African Family of Teachers first, however we must stress the importance of African-American teachers born and raised in America who have also learned and studied from the best Africans in Africa. Many African-American teachers understand the importance of teaching our African culture to our community and bridging the respect and love of Africa to America. Since 1968 as a teenager I, Robert Dickerson was introduced to the importance of our African culture, history and the African Diaspora. My wife Wanda was also introduced to the culture while dancing in Junior and Senior High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and later became a member of the Arthur Hall (ILE IFE Dance Company) in 1979-1982 and Kofi Asante (Chicku Dance Company 1982-1986). In 1984 Wanda and I, started our own Dance Company (Universal African Dance and Drum Ensemble) and was blessed with many African-American teachers, colleagues and friends. We will list some of the major ones such as, Alfred (Bro. Saladin) Williams, Andre Forrest a.k.a. (Spunky), Lawrence Clark a.k.a. (Big Mike), Arthur Driscoll a.k.a. (Kofi Gyemerah), Paul Lucus and Jerome Williams a.ka. (Bro. Rome). We always admired and received profound information and inspiration from Kofi Asante, Daryl Burgee a.k.a (Kwasi), Nana Korantema Ayeboafo and of course one of the greatest elders out of Philadelphia, Pa., representing the beauty of African Culture through dance, drum and the performing arts, Baba Robert Crowder (THE FAMILY OF KULU MELE) and many others.
INOU WALI, THANK YOU / INOU WALI, THANK YOU / INOU WALI THANK YOU