LEON J. LARSON ( BABA LEON )
Baba Leon has been drumming since age 10 and has accumulated more than 50 years of musical experience. His primary focus has been in the realm of hand drumming. That experience has included playing with many varied types of bands such as African, Reggae, Rock, Country, Jazz and every thing in between. His specialty is African and Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Babatundi (Michael) Olatunji the Nigerian master and founder of the group “ Drums of Passion “ has been the strongest influence in Leon’s musical career. Gordy Ryan, a 20 year veteran of Drums of Passion has been his mentor and trainer for the past 10 years, focusing on West African culture, rhythms, and dance. He has also trained with a number of prominent drum masters from Africa. Some of those include Papa Ladji Cammera, Godwin Agbele, Mohammed DeCosta, Abu Syla, Mustapha Bengoura, Lansana Diabouta and the Chuck Davis African American Dance Theater.
Current activities include collaborations with the Theater and Dance Departments of Santa Fe College, and the University of Florida African drumming and dance ensemble “ Agbedidi. Leon is a co-founder of the African drumming group “ The Lost Safari Drummers “ ( CDs available at CDbaby.com ) where he continues to act in the capacity of lead performer and group manager. He also has accompanied several jazz groups and a number of guitarists/vocalists. Leon has been an instructor for Santa Fe College community education classes in hand drumming for the past 15 years and also, as an adjunct professor at Santa Fe College conducts credit courses in African and Afro-Caribbean ensemble drumming. Leon has facilitated numerous drum circles and has conducted drumming workshops throughout the state . In addition to these activities Leon owns and operates a small business (LJPercussion) which manufactures, markets, and repairs African drums and accessories,