MICHAEL MARKUS President
As a musician, artistic director and educator, Michael Markus has spent over twenty years performing, teaching and studying West African, Afro-Cuban, and American styles of drumming. Along with a BFA in percussion, he has mentored with accomplished master indigenous artists and travels often to Guinea to learn more.
Michael is a visionary and charismatic teacher of drum and dance workshops throughout the United States and Canada. Michael has co-produced and released a CD of his previous group, Magbana, as well as a series of 11 educational percussion CDs, plus a DVD of master drummers from Guinea. As a world music clinician, he has presented at versatile venues ranging from college music and dance departments to inner city community centers. He has regularly developed and conducted workshops for National and International Percussion Conventions, master classes at various Universities, public and private schools all United States, Canada, and Mexico. He has also created commissioned pieces, composing and directing choreography for such groups as Ethos Percussion, which debuted his work at the Symphony Space in New York City.
Michael is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of cultural arts and socioeconomic development in Guinea, West Africa where he has based the production end of this company, Wula Drums, where authentically elegant and professional sounding African drums are crafted.
YAMOUSSA "YAMBIG" KARAMOKO SYLLA
Director of Production, Conakry, Guinea
Yamoussa Karamoko Sylla began djembe work at 17 years of age as a means to pay for school fees. After graduating with a degree in computer technology, he found that he really enjoyed the work and culture of the djembe, and was naturally adept in mastering the techniques. He soon worked with many of the different drum makers throughout Conakry, searching to gain all of the knowledge and experience possible. Given the nick name, “Yambig” – which means “Never Die,” Yamoussa progressed very quickly and became respected by many as one of the best. He achieved this title by assembling and packing an entire container full of 350 djembes, all by himself, in only 6 weeks!
After working for Wula Drum mounting drums, he quickly transitioned in role of production manager. He is currently instrumental in overseeing the quality and consistency of every single instrument Wula Drum produces.
M’Bemba Bangoura has traveled the world as a performer and teacher of the Djembe drum, and he is revered for his high level of mastery. As a native of Guinea, West Africa, M’Bemba began playing the djembe at the young age of seven. By the age of twenty-one, he was acclaimed as a master drummer and was invited to play for Ballet Djoliba, the national company of Guinea. Since moving to the US in 1992, M’Bemba is an integral part of the entire drum and dance scene nationwide. He has taught hundreds of students, many of who are now teachers themselves. In addition, he has personally created choreography and developed repertoire for dozens of dance companies worldwide.
Working throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean, his style is infectious. He has recorded 3 solo albums, and a 2 volumes of DVDS called Wamato: Everybody Look! M’bemba has been a guest artist on dozens of other recording projects, videos, and films. Dedicated to teaching drumming, dancing, and his culture, M’Bemba is one of the prominent ambassadors for Guinean drum and dance!
IBRAHIM "LE GRAND" BANGOURA
Shipping Coordinator, New York
Ibrahim "Le Grand" Bangoura is originally from Guinea, West Africa. Now living in New York City, he is happy to be part of the Wula Team and to make sure all these beautiful drums are carefully packed and shipped on time.
Besides being a blazing jazz drummer/percussionist, Damian keeps the shop organized, and makes sure the orders are processed properly. He does repairs too! From Argentina, he has been in NYC for 3 years and we are lucky to have him be part of the Wula Team.