Photos: Friday night at Umoja 2019

Knoxville’s Ojo Ajanaku, 12, shows his skills on the drums at the annual Umoja cultural unity festival held in downtown Johnson City in 2019.

The Umoja Arts & Culture Drum Festival will bring driving beats and members of the community together June 12 from 5 to 10 p.m. in the Pavillion at Founders Park in Johnson City.

Several different drumming performances will be featured, including African drumming by Peter Gbaa and a drum circle where members of the Johnson City Drum Circle will engage with each other to create a group rhythm and cooperate in rhythm games.

Youth from Carver Recreation Center will participate in a workshop where they will be taught drumming using the African drums. The instructor is Obayana Ajanaku, who is an African drum instructor who has taught for 14 years at Austin East High School in Knoxville. His drums have taken him professionally to Russia, Brazil and throughout the U.S. New Vision Youth group from Kingsport will also participate in this workshop.

The youth from The Langston Center will take part in a workshop learning bucket drumming, also called street drumming, taught by Vincent Dial, a retired band director from the Johnson City school system, will teach them. Both youth groups will provide drum beats on Saturday.

Vere Henry from Knoxville will provide music using the steel drums. There will be a local high school drum line performing. DJ Jerome Dunn will provide music throughout the festival time. Food will be available for purchase.

The event is free and appropriate for the whole family.