Leon Mobley is the founder, artistic and musical director of Da Lion and Djimbe West African Drummers and Dancers. He began to play African drum rhythms in 1976 and studied for ten years with Nigerian master drummer Babatunde Olatunji at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. In 1977, Leon joined Bokan-deye under the directorship of Senegalese master drummer Ibrahim Camara, former drummer for the National Ballet of Senegal, and it was from this foundation that Leon began traveling the world in search of rhythm and its teachings. In 1981, Leon went to study and perform in Surinam, South America and Trinidad, West Indies, Senegal and Gambia in 1982, Japan in 1987 and 1992, South Africa in 1991 and 1992, Germany in 1995 and Italy and Israel in 1996.
Leon has had theatrical training and appeared regularly on the PBS television show "ZOOM". He is an accomplished percussionist and has performed in off broadway musicals and with numerous musical groups representing all styles. Some of these artists include Quincy Jones, Debbie Allen, Michael Jackson, Ben Harper, Babatunde Olatunji and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. He also toured South Africa where he performed with returning exiles Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya and Hugh Masekela. Leon has appeared on the works of many recording artists such as Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Peter Wolf, Ben Harper and the Spinners just to name a few. Leon has self produced three audio cassette tapes and cds of djimbe rhythms and songs. These works represent the definitive educational experience for those wishing to tap into the traditions of West African drumming and has proved hugely successful for countless African dance schools and workshops, nationwide.
Leon has a great deal of experience teaching African drum rhythms. While in Boston he taught at community centers, toured schools with the Art of Black Dance and Music and conducted workshops at Berklee College of Music. In 1983, he became the musical director at Paige Academy, a private school in Roxbury, MA. Leon continued teaching after moving to Los Angeles in 1986, and in 1992, Leon completed a tour of Japan where he taught and performed West African drumming and dancing while visiting Sado Island the home of Kodo, the internationally acclaimed Japanese percussion group. He has conducted weekly classes at UCLA, Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Theater and the Los Angeles High School for the Arts on the campus of Cal. State L.A., as well as Billy Higgins' legendary drum workshop at the World Stage, Leimert Park, Los Angeles.
Da Lion is a very exciting ensemble made up of a group of African American percussionists, fronted by a magnificent player and Remo signature series artist Leon Mobley. Accompanied by Jah Amen Mobley his brother.
They all have for many years studied the Diaspora of African rooted percussion music. They've studied here in America and abroad in Africa with some of the most influential people to the African music scene today.
Their own musical environment, growing up and studying in this country has of course influenced them. They have been blessed individually to work with some of the top names in the music industry of America as well as abroad for well over twenty years.
With these musical influences they have decided to merge them together, the final results is a hybrid form of music like you never heard before. This music encompasses the sounds of traditional African rhythms and songs with a twist of some traditional African American funk, jazz and hip-hop. It makes you want to listen, it makes you want to dance and it makes you happy. Come and enjoy.