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I just wanted to share with you the success of last Friday morning’s Drum Café.  It  set the perfect tone for the day.  Several staff members have commented on how much fun the session was and that Friday’s meeting as a whole was the best ever.  That’s music to my ears!  Thanks.

- Janet Bray
Texas Comptroller
Human Resources

Team Bonding Activities | fun team building activities |Team Building Texas | Team Building Louisiana

  Dale Monnin

Dale Monnin

Dale Monnin brings the Drum Café to the Southern states on the heels of a successful career in Sales and Sales management.  With an MBA in International Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology, Dale has worked for Fortune 100 firm IBM, as well as other top global technology firms such as Parametric Technology and NCR.  Dale has worked on 4 continents, building and developing cross-cultural teams in marketplaces as diverse as post-apartheid South Africa (where he first took up drumming), the Pacific Rim, as well as Continental Europe and the UK.  An avid traveler, his adventures have taken him through over 100 cities in more than 45 countries.  Now in their 10th year of business, Dale and his Drum Cafe South team have used their unique repertoire of rhythm-based programming to enhance organizational effectiveness and energize organizational Spirit, personally touching over a million attendees from well over 1,000 organizations...and growing.
  Alseny Sylla

Alseny Sylla

Alseny was born in Conakry, Guinea, and began studying African drums with the Federation Company at the age of 16, and later toured Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and Ivory Coast with Etoile du Cdum. In 1987 he moved from Guinea to Abidjan, Ivory Coast where he worked for the next eleven years with the companies C’dyao and Koteba, the first national company comprised of many different African ethnic groups from different countries that combined theater, music, dance and ancestral traditions, touring Central and Western Africa, Europe, and the U.S. In 1990 he left Africa for New York and began performing with two West African ensembles, Foliba and Acquaba. Alseny permanently relocated to Austin in 2000, where he currently teaches classes in djembe and djun djun and accompanying West African dance classes at Tapestry Dance Studio, Atomic Dance Factory, and the Arabic Bazaar. He has also accompanied West African dance classes at the University of Texas at Austin, Kenny Doram School for the Performing Arts, and Zilker Elementary School and is a faculty member of the Afrikan Village Drum and Dance Camp in Dripping Springs and the Lisangua Ya Bato drum and dance camp in upstate New York. In addition to playing with Atash and Vengo, Alseny is co-founder and Director the drum and dance ensemble Lannaya, which means “confidence” in his native language, Su Su.
  Aj Flores

Aj Flores

Percussionist AJ “Rock” Flores was born in Midland, TX in 1976 to Raymond “Kama” Flores who is a Tejano Hall of Famer.  No doubt he was destined to follow in his footsteps.  At the age of 4, he was already rocking the living room on a miniature drum set.

By the age of 8, he took the stage for the first time with his dad playing a snare with the Tortilla Factory.  Now you will find him grooving with congas, bongos, and timbales or the high energy rhythms of the djembe and djun-djuns.
At the age of 18, he landed his first tour with Jennifer Pena y Los Jetz.  He has since toured with Bobby Pulido, AB Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings, Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo MAZZ, DJ Kane, Jay Perez, Ruben Ramos and The Mexican Revolution, and Las 3 Divas (Stefani Montiel, Shelly Lares, Elida Reyna) which included a USO Tour to Japan in 2006.  He has also worked with Jaime Y Los Chamacos, La Mafia, La Deferenzia, Joe Bravo, Augustine Ramirez, Sunny Ozuna, and Avizo.
Over the last several years, he has toured with the acclaimed Drum Café where he performs as a Senior member of Drum Café South. He still maintains close ties with his passion, Tejano music, recording and performing at major events.
His energy, confidence, versatility, and showmanship has made him one of the most sought after percussionists in the industry.  To his credit, he is a 13 time Grammy nominee and has earned two Latin Grammy’s and two American Grammy’s of which he takes great pride.  He has also been recognized by the Tejano Academy with a “Percussionist of the Year” award.  He is endorsed by such companies as TOCA Percussion, Gibraltar, Vic Firth, Evans, Paiste, Taye Drums,  SKB, and Basin Graphics. He attributes his top echelon success to an all-consuming passion for learning, performing, and sharing of his music.
  Aboubacar Sylla

Aboubacar Sylla

Aboubacar Sylla was born into a family of musicians in Conakry, Guinea in West Africa. Abou’s musical career began at the age of five when his uncle gave him a djembe.  When he was a child, Abou moved from Conakry to a village where he began his study of the balafon. He lived, studied and performed with his balafon teacher until he was nineteen, at which time he moved back to Conakry to perform with his family, as well as other musicians.

After returning to Conakry, Abou was invited to join Les Ballets Africains, the prestigious national dance company of Guinea. For six years he performed with them, playing not one, but five instruments – the balafon, djembe, krin, doundoun and bote.  

Abou has performed in Africa, Holland and throughout the United States.  He currently resides in Austin, Texas, where he performs and teaches when he's not onstage with Drum Cafe South as their lead Djembe player.
  Sevylla del Mazo

Sevylla del Mazo

In addition to her role as a Senior Program Facilitator and drummer for Drum Café South, Sevylla del Mazo is a full-time musician, teaching artist, and mother who has been studying and performing West African and Afro-Caribbean traditional music for 15 years, and has over 10 years experience working with “at-risk” youth. In 2000 she received certification in Afro-Cuban drum and dance from the Casa de la Cultura, Old Havana, Cuba, and returned to Cuba in 2001 for additional training with the Conjunto Folklorico de Trinidad, Cuba. In 2006, she was commissioned to produce a Cuban “carnaval” float for the inaugural First Night Austin festival, a New Year’s celebration of the arts, and in the fall of 2008, received an award from the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division to bring drum programming to the Dove Springs community. In addition to her work with youth, Sevylla has been a company member of Lannaya Drum and Dance Ensemble, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, since its inception in 2000, joining the board in 2009. She has been on stage with Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction at SXSW 2009; plays in the Austin area with Latin-Jazz trio, Acoustic Jungle, opening for Aaron Neville at the San Antonio Jazz Fest; as well as Strunz and Farrah, Jose Feliciano, Earl Klugh, and The Rippingtons at One World Theatre.
  Noah Mosgofian

Aj Flores

Noah Mosgofian has been drumming for over 20 years. Prior to his current time with Drum Cafe South, Noah's performance career includes 6 years of touring with the international hit show STOMP and scores of award-winning bands including Lost at Last (RCA records), Del Castillo, Atash, and guest appearances with Sekouba "Bambino" Diabate, Joan Baez, Phil Lesh (Greatful Dead), Wil-Dog (of Ozomatli), and others. He has taught thousands of students here and abroad, with the San Francisco Ballet's dance outreach program, Scotland's Edinburgh Int'l Festival, Bantu Camp, Camp Fareta, and Camp Mabina. Noah's teachers include the top names in many disciplines: Mamady Keita, "Changuito" Quintana, Mike Spiro, C.K. Ladzekpo, Fara Tolno, Jorge Alabe, Mabiba Baegne, and many more.
  David Montalvo

Aj Flores

David Montalvo was born in San Antonio, Texas. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Texas State University, served 26 years in the San Antonio Fire Department as a Lieutenant Firefighter-Paramedic, owns Montalvo Leather and is also a Professional Actor & Model. David is a charismatic person who enjoys an active life-style, fitness, healthy nutrition and personally training others in exercise/longevity techniques.   His drumming began at age 7 and later intensified as he studied with Afro-Cuban and West African Master Drummers on the congas, bongos, timbales, djembe, djun djuns and various other percussion instruments. He is a Certified Drum Circle Facilitator and a “world percussionist” with several local bands in the San Antonio area. David is a high-energy, enthusiastic Program Facilitator for Corporate, School Administration, Faculty, and Students as well as private interactive events and performances.
Nina Rodriguez

Nina Rodriguez is a nationally celebrated, Grammy-winning percussionist, musical performer, clinician and educator. Her extraordinary energy and dedication to the power of music, drumming and performance has shaped her career as a lead Facilitator with Drum Cafe and a celebrated independent musician.  

Through Drum Café, Nina has inspired thousands of Fortune 1,000 employees from all sectors of Healthcare to Banking, Technology and more, including those from Microsoft, Levis, Gap, Universal Music Group, NBC, Google, and scores of school districts throughout the US.She is an endorsed artist for Toca Percussion, Vic Firth and Zildjian

  Michael Madison

Michael Madison

Michael has been a life-long percussionist, vocalist, and overall music enthusiast, and has been performing with Drum Cafe South for most of its existence.  He has trained and performed extensively in Japan in addition to his work domestically here in the US.  In addition to his musical talents, Michael knows the academic arena well also.  He holds a Masters degree in Technology from UTSA with a broad array of experience in the Corporate world.
 Joe Gonzales

Sunny Suit

Joe Gonzales is a drummer/percussionist, certified special education teacher, writer, instrumentalist, devoted husband, and father from Houston, Texas.   Versed in a wide array of music genres/styles from Marching Percussion, African, Latin, and Jazz Joe is able to work in any musical situation. Currently, Joe holds a Bachelor’s degree and is pursuing a Master’s degree in Educational Administration.

Joe meticulously adds vital musical soul and technique to every musical situation thus helping his playing career managing to pick up two Latin Grammy awards with world-renowned La Mafia for the albums, “Para el Pueblo” and “Eternamente Romanicos” along with two Gold Records with Jay Perez for the albums “De Mi Cora Soul” and “Hombre en la Luna”.

Joe’s passion for drumming inspires him to do his part in the music world by helping others learn the art of percussion. He performs West African style on djembe as well as the double-headed drums known as the djun djuns consisting of a family of 3 pitches played on the keikini, sangbon and dunumba.

Joe’s total arsenal of office tools and endorsements consist of Westone In-Ear Monitors, Vic Firth drumsticks, Toca percussion, Paiste cymbals, Aquarian drumheads, Audix Mics, Pearl drums, and Roland electronics.
Aicha Sylla

Tony Browne

Aicha was born in 1976 in the Highland region of Guinea and began singing as a young child.  She learned singing from her mother who comes from one of the great families of Mandingo griots.  As an adolescent, her creativity and sensitivity to the beauty of the Mandingo musical repertoire inspired her to compose songs and assist in arranging their musical accompaniments.

Aicha began her professional career as a singer with the Ensemble Instrumental de Guinée.  She then became a chorister with world-renowned griot Sékouba Bambino for 3 years before being recruited as a principal vocalist for Amazones Women Master Drummers’ in 2000.  She brings a new element to the group: the acoustic guitar.  Aicha also composes and arranges musical pieces for Amazones in which she is often featured as a soloist.

Aicha’s strength of character and determination have enabled her to become one of the few women in West Africa to learn the kora, the crowned instrument of the griot, under the tutelage of one of the master kora players of the Mandingo culture.  
  Yancy Vega

Yancy Vega

Yancy is our Logistics/Operations Manager. Doing nearly 200 programs a year across an area as big as the South means that Yancy keeps extremely busy! After running his own food distributorship business for 15 years, he decided to make a career change and join Drum Cafe South. His business experience is a tremendous asset and his work in developing and delivering plans to move drums and people efficiently and effectively is a key component to the success of our programs.   When Yancy is not on the road for a Drum Cafe program, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 children.