Founded by Omomola Iyabunmi in 1988, the Women’s Sekere Ensemble is a group of percussionists dedicated to making West African traditional music a resource for communities. As Africans born here in America, Women’s Sekere Ensemble members are committed to reclaiming African culture and sharing it. They work to foster an appreciation for African music through performances, workshops, classes, lecture/demonstrations, and residencies. Students of West African music for well over thirty years now, the women’s group offers performances featuring a range of traditional, secular, and festive music, originating among the peoples of Nigeria and Ghana, and found in Cuba, Haiti and other locales throughout the African diasporan region. Ensemble members make and play sekeres (hand drums made from gourds and covered with intricate beadwork) and other traditional percussion instruments.
Omomola Iyabunmi, the ensemble’s Director, has pursued her study of African culture and percussion for more than 35 years. Her teachers have included Leonard “Doc” Gibbs, Baba Ibekunle Bey (Robert Crowder), Baba Ishangi Rasak, Peache Jarman, and others. She is among the local musicians featured in the special “Women’s Music Project” issue of the PFP’s Works in Progress.