Fonziba Drums!
School Programs Libraries, Retirement Communities and Public Venues Adult Programs Photos & Testimonials School Funding - Iowa About Fonziba Contact Home

About Fonziba

Fonziba has been teaching and performing on West African jembe hand drums since 1995. She has presented her African Drumming & Culture programs to thousands of kids and adults in schools, libraries, museums, churches and retirement communities throughout Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.  She is listed on the “Arts & Education Roster” of teaching artists for the Illinois Arts Council and was also listed with the Iowa Arts Council until their roster was terminated.

Graduating cum laude from New York's Alfred University in 1976, Fonsiba earned a BA in music education and was nominated for Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges. For the next seventeen years, she arranged and directed vocal works for a multi-national, educational group performing in Holland, Switzerland, Thailand, India, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

During Fonziba's in-depth training in West African drumming, she studied with master drummers from Mali, Guinea, Senegal and the Ivory Coast (see list below), and apprenticed with the renowned Malian drummer, Madou Dembele.  Fonziba spent a year touring Midwest schools with Mr. Dembele and performed for the general public with his drum troupe, Super Yankadi. She also helped bring other West African drum and dance teachers to the Midwest for performances and workshops. 

Fonziba spent the summer of 2003 in Mali and the Ivory Coast, living with the Dembele family, a drumming family whose training and traditions go back over thirty-three generations or 800 years. While there, Fonziba apprenticed with Dramane Dembele (Madou's older brother), and played for African wedding celebrations as part of his drum troupe. She produced a documentary video about her trip, “Gifts from Mother Africa” which is now an important component of her programs. 

When not teaching in schools and libraries, Fonziba gives workshops, classes and private lessons in West African drumming in her hometown of Fairfield, Iowa, and throughout the Midwest.

Fonsiba's drum instructors include:

Madou Dembele, Mali and Ivory Coast
Dramane Dembele, Mali and Ivory Coast
Abdoul Doumbia, Mali
Sidi Joh Camara, Mali
Mohammed Da Costa, Guinea
Mamady Keita, Guinea
Bolokada Conde, Guinea
Djimo Kouyate, Senegal
Mar Gey, Senegal
Osei Apagye, Ghana
Fatu Lady Drummer, USA
Tam Tam Mandinque, USA
Ubaka Hill, USA
Arthur Hull, USA
Gordy Ryan, USA
Beverlee Botsford, USA
Adam Rugo, USA
Candace Freeland, USA
Michael Marcus, USA


Fonziba performing with Madou Dembele and Super Yankadi

Fonziba playing the Doundounba with Mamady Keita

Fonziba playing with Dramane Dembele
Fonziba and Dramane Dembele playing for a wedding

Fonziba with African woman playing a calabash in the Ivory Coast


School Programs  |  Libraries, Retirement Communities and Public Venues  |  Adult Workshops  |  Photos & Testimonials  |  Funding  |  About Fonziba  |  Contact  |  Home