Who We Are

TTM Winston-Salem is a branch of the world’s first international school of West African drumming,
Tam Tam Mandingue, founded by world-renown Master Drummer Mamady Keita.
We are dedicated to preserve and transmit Mandingue musical tradition as a tool to promote tolerance, understanding, equality and international peace.

This Is Our Mission

The Masters say the djembe is a drum that speaks a language. What the djembe is speaking is a message of love, togetherness and peace. This is our mission.

The Masters say the djembe has no borders. If we all thought like the djembe, then we would not have so much trouble in the world. This is our mission.

The Masters say the djembe is an instrument that teaches us. What the djembe teaches us is about ourselves. This is our mission.

The Masters say the djembe is a traditional instrument invented by the Mandingue people of West Africa. It is the way of the djembe to give thanks to those who passed the spirit to us. It is our way of thanks to pass the spirit to those who will come next.

To all those who came before us, and all those who will come after . . .
And especially to Mamady Keita . . .
Our mission is dedicated in gratitude to you.

Why Drumming

Actually, it’s not just about the drum. It’s about using drumming as a vehicle to produce outcomes beyond the scope of drumming and music. Drumming is a vehicle for creating community, joy and celebration. Drumming is a way to preserve tradition and culture. Drumming is way to build bridges of human understanding and cultural harmony. Drumming naturally tends to move people in the direction of having a life that is healthy, fulfilling and fun. Drumming is a wholesome activity for bringing communities together. Drumming is for everyone – you don’t have to be of any particular religion, subscribe to any philosophy, or be of any gender, age, race, or socio-economic background. Ultimately, it’s not about the drum, it’s about the experience of being alive!

Our Approach To Drumming

It is our goal to create a natural and accessible experience of drumming that engenders success within the traditional art form of the instrument, and fosters the growth of a long-term relationship with the drum as an everyday tool for joy, health, and community. It is the goal of TTM Winston-Salem to create an experience of drumming that is powerful, musical, expressive, accessible, and joyful.

To learn more about our approach to drumming,
read the article “The Drum as Instrument and Tool” written by Bill Scheidt.

Mamady Keita, Tam Tam Mandingue’s Founder

Commonly regarded as the world’s most acclaimed West African drummer, Mamady Keita has regularly toured Europe, Japan, China and the United States since the age of 16.

In 1969, at the age of nineteen, he was awarded a gold medal at the Pan African Festival in Algeria and pronounced “Best African Drummer.” Between 1989 and 1999 he released six CDs and a major book. In 1991 the documentary film about Mamady Keita’s life, Djembefola by Laurent Chevallier, became an international success. He soon became a very popular teacher and established his international drumming school “Tam Tam Mandingue” which currently has 17 branches in Europe, Japan and the United States.

To read more about Mamady Keita please click here.
To read more about Tam Tam Mandingue, please click here.

Bill Scheidt, Director Of TTM Winston-Salem

Bill Scheidt picked up a djembe for the first time more than 25 years ago, having studied a variety of Western instruments from age five. Since then he has traveled to Africa six times, spent more than a year and a half living in rural African villages, and studied percussion at Berklee College of Music. Today he is the Director of Tam Tam Mandingue Winston-Salem.

Bill spent more than 15 years as a close personal student of Mamady Keita, and was among the first group of students to ever perform on stage with Mamady Keita both in the U.S., and in his home village of Balandougou, in Guinea, West Africa.  Bill is a Senior Certified Teacher in Mamady’s international school of the djembe, the Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy (TTMDA). In earning the TTM Senior Certified Teacher qualification, Bill joins a small handful of drummers from around the world who have been commissioned by Mamady Keita to preserve and teach the music, culture, spirit, and traditions of the Mandingue djembe.

Other teachers Bill has learned from include Famoudou Konate, Bolokada Conde, Daouda Kourouma, Sékou Konaté, Fode Camara, Mohammed DaCosta, Mahiri Keita, Kikala Olaré, and Joe Galeota. Bill also studied Afro-Cuban percussion with Ricardo Mendoza and Egguie Castrillo, percussionist for Tito Puente.

Bill regularly travels throughout the US leading workshops, clinics, and performances. He has received multiple awards from state and local arts councils and has been an instructor at institutions such as the North Carolina School of the Arts and Wake Forest University. Bill has recorded and performed with a number of groups playing everything from Latin jazz to traditional West African music to rock-and-roll.

What Does It Mean To Be A Certified TTM Professor

Only a small handful of people around the world have earned Mamady Keita’s certification as Professors within the Tam Tam Mandingue school. These select few have been personally commissioned by Mamady Keita to preserve and transmit Mandingue musical tradition.

To earn this honor, each professor has studied closely with Mamady for a number of years, then passed an examination in which they were required to know 60 traditional rhythms and the 12 Solo Originals (traditional solo techniques.) Beyond this, each has demonstrated their respect for people of all cultures, and their continuing commitment to being of service in the world. These professors are certified to teach as a representatives of Mamady Keita and Tam Tam Mandingue.

Why You Should Learn From A Certified TTM Teacher

  • Every certified TTM teacher has undergone extensive training in Mandingue rhythms and has been personally approved by Mamady Keita. The TTM logo indicates that the teacher has passed an examination to demonstrate his or her proficiency in a wide range of Mandingue rhythms.
  • Certified TTM teachers are committed to accurately preserving Mandingue rhythms as they have been played for centuries.
  • Every certified TTM teacher has spent time in Guinea and experienced Mandingue culture first hand. A TTM teacher will not only teach traditional rhythms, but also teach the cultural significance of each rhythm in its traditional setting.
  • A certified TTM teacher has proven his or her skill at playing solos that are true to the traditional style of the corresponding rhythms and their origins.
  • A certified TTM teacher has knowledge of the instruments of the Mandingue percussion orchestra and will provide accurate information about their origin and history, including regional variations in playing style.
  • A certified TTM teacher is required to participate in a continuing education program. This ongoing commitment ensures that TTM teachers retain their existing skills as well as actively develop new ones.
  • A certified TTM teacher is committed to being a mentor and advisor in your artistic development.

Certified Associate Instructors

Forrest Fode Matthews

Forrest “Fodé” Matthews began studying West African music in 2003, at the age of 11 and is a close student of Fode Lavia Camara. Forrest has traveled to Guinea twice, spending a total of 6 months living and training with the artists of Ballet Gbassikolo du Kaloum as well as organizing and performing in the KALOUM DJEMBE Festival with Fode Lavia. He has also studied extensively with Bolokada Conde, Aly Camara, Mohamed DaCosta, Abdoulaye “Felu” Kouyate, Mohamed Dioubate, and Mamady Keita and Bill Scheidt of the TTM Djembe Academy. Forrest currently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina and works as a freelance artist doing teaching programs and instrument repair throughout the Southeast.

Forrest has attended the Kumandi African Drum and Dance Camp, in the NC mountains, since 2003 and is now on the teaching staff for both djembe and dunun. He is a core member of the Living Rhythms and Sewa Beats teams based in Winston-Salem,, regularly traveling and delivering programs in schools and companies all over the country.

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In addition, Forrest teaches the Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced level evening classes in Winston-Salem and does all upkeep and instrument repair for the school drums. He completed the DIT Program in 2009 and currently resides in Greensboro. He can be reached at www.kaloumdjembe.com or email him at kaloumdjembe@gmail.com.

Patty Westcott

Patty Westcott is a committed student of world percussion and has devoted the past 20 years to expanding her knowledge of cultural traditions, techniques and healing applications of drumming. She was certified as a TTM Winston-Salem Associate Instructor in 2011 after completing a two-year Instructor program taught by Bill Scheidt, Tam Tam Mandingue Certified Professor.

She has had the privilege of studying with African drumming masters Mamady Keita, Famadou Konate and Babatunde Olatunji, Brazilian master percussionist Jorge Alabe and numerous other dedicated and talented teachers. One of the highlights was a 1997 tour of Ghana with Baba Olatunji where she attended The International Center of African Music and Dance at the University of Ghana at Legon.

Patty is a founder and active member since 1999, of the world percussion performance group Beleza and a past and still occasional member of Joia, a St. Louis-based world percussion ensemble.

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Patty has long promoted the healing, team building and educational benefits of group drumming by facilitating workshops for groups such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Barnes Jewish Hospital, Old Dominion University, the National Council on Alcoholism and the Governor’s School for the Arts.
Patty is a trained facilitator for HealthRHYTHMS® and has a B.S. in Psychology with a Health and Wellness emphasis, from Old Dominion University. She resides in Virginia Beach and teaches workshops and classes in world percussion.

Ben Weston

Ben is originally from Jamaica, where he heard the drums call at an early age. Hand drumming is an important part of several styles of Jamaican music and are central to many aspects of Jamaican culture. He finally got to try his hands at drumming around 1990 and has been playing ever since, with a special focus on West African drums, rhythms and culture since 2008.

Ben completed the TTM Winston-Salem Drumming Instructor Training in November 2013 and became certified as a TTM Winston-Salem Associate Drumming Instructor. He is currently serving as one of the assistants for the 2013-2015 DIT group.

In addition to continuing his studies with Bill Scheidt, Ben has the great fortune to study and perform often with Bolokada Conde, who now lives in Greenville, SC.

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Ben has also taken workshops with Mamady Keita, Fode Moussa Camara, and Adama Dembele.

In Greenville, SC, Ben offers group and private classes in West African drumming, conducts workshops and presentations, performs, and plays for West African dance classes. In addition to playing them, Ben also enjoys working on the drums, and occasionally leads workshops on how to tune and/or re-head them. He can be reached at 504-782-6319 or benkweston@gmail.com.

Susan Natale

Susan Natale began her journey into West African Drumming after attending the Kumandi Drum and Dance Camp in the NC Mountains in 2006. Soon after, she began taking classes in Greenville, SC with the Spirit Beat Drummers and guest instructor Greg Pratt of Asheville, NC. Over the next several years, she continued classes at the Kumandi Camp, with Bill Scheidt, Mohamed Da Costa, Fode Camara, and Robin Leftwich. She studied with Mamady Keita and Bolokada Conde and had the privilege to perform with Bolokada on several occasions. Additionally, she has attended workshops with Amazones and Fode Camara. She studied with TTM professor, Bill Scheidt and received her Certified Associate Instructor certificate from TTMWS training in 2014. Susan is a certified Early Childhood Montessori teacher. In 2014, she founded SEWA Drum School, where she teaches West African drumming to K-6thgrade students at Clemson Montessori School in South Carolina.

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Additionally, she teaches after-school classes for children and beginner classes for adults. Susan is available for school residencies as well. For more information visit: natalesusan.wix.com/sewa. She can also be reached at natale.susan@gmail.com or 864-247-4675.

Kasey Jones

Kasey “CaveMan” Jones began as a multi-instrumentalist and musician in his early teens. He first discovered West African music and the djembe while attending a drum circle hosted by TTMWS members back in 2007. Discovering an inner passion for drumming, Kasey continues to study through various West African masters ever since. He completed Bill Scheidt’s Drummer Instructor Training course in 2013 and began a full time career teaching professionally. Kasey currently resides in Floyd, Va where he, through his HoloRhythm Community Drum School can be found building and repairing instruments, orchestrating drum circles, teaching private lessons, workshops and group classes throughout the surrounding community. The CaveMan can also be found up and down the east coast at music festivals teaching workshops, vending and facilitating drum circles all year round. Find out more by visiting www.HoloRhythm.org or on Facebook and Instagram @HoloRhythm.

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His other profession is as a tattoo and piercing artist through his HoloDragan Ink business. Kasey can be contacted at (336) 624-2237, www.facebook.com/HoloRhythm, or HoloRhythm@gmail.com.

About The TTM Winston-Salem Associate Instructor Training Program

TTM Winston-Salem offers an intensive two-year training program to train associate drumming instructors in the curriculum of TTM Winston-Salem. The intention of the program is to create associate instructors certified under TTM Winston-Salem to teach the tradition of the djembe. This program leaves trainees deeply and powerfully related to drumming in a way that they are easily and naturally able to share it with others. Our instructor trainees gain a high level of proficiency with a variety of skills and abilities, from teaching traditional rhythms to beginners to refining technique and sound with experienced players.

Our current associate instructors and instructor trainees are a caring and dedicated group of people. For them, teaching is a natural way to share how much they’ve gotten out of their experience with drumming. You’ll often see our team volunteering as assistants in classes and helping with various school functions. To contact any of our instructors or trainees, or for more information about the TTM Winston-Salem Associate Instructor Training Program, please call us at 336-774-3898 or send us an email: info@ttmws.com.

Photo Credits: Bernd Geh, Masato Kubota, Bill Scheidt, Manfred Schweda, Simply Southern Photography, Joti Singh