Assembly Programs

The Afro-Peruvian Ensemble
Afro-Peruvian music

This remarkable ensemble led by Peruvian drummer and educator Hector Morales features some masters of the Afro-Peruvian musical tradition currently living in the US. These include former Peru Negro singer and dancer Mariela Valencia, legendary percussionist and tap-dancer Freddy “Huevito” Lobaton, former Peru Negro percussionist Hector Ferreyra, and innovative arranger/guitarist Yuri Juarez. The group was founded in 2012 by Morales with the goal of introducing this unique musical tradition to wider audiences in the US and around the world. The Ensemble’s  assembly programs are especially designed for young audiences to explore Afro-Peruvian music in a fun and interactive way. In addition to experiencing riveting live Afro-Peruvian music, attendees will also learn the social and historical contexts of the songs, dances, and the musical instruments. During the program, audience members will join the band on stage to play typical percussion instruments like the quijada (donkey jaw bone) and cajita (little box), sing refrains of popular Afro-Peruvian songs, and learn dance steps of uplifting styles such as the festejo! A performance guide will also be provided to help students and educators continue learning beyond the assembly.

African Dance Rhythms Ensemble

Fofoo Attiso (AKA Apey) is a Master Dancer from Ghana, West Africa, who specializes in many forms of dance including traditional African, freestyle, hip hop, and contemporary. He has been dancing since he was nine years old, training under many Ghanaian masters. He is a dynamic dancer who astounds audiences with his electrifying interpretations of traditional and original dances by imbuing them with his own unique style and explosive energy.

In additional to preforming, Fofoo is especially proud of his work in schools with children over the last ten years before migrating to the United States in 2022. He has taught African Dance, Drumming, Storytelling and Games in schools during his travels, sharing his passion with all ages. The joy and excitement he has brought to students from his workshops is inspiring. He is determined to bring his passion for African Dance and culture to schools in the United States through his performances and workshops.

Befo' Quotet

Live music and storytelling with celebrated musician, poet, and storyteller Aitba Wilson and his ensemble, the Befo’ Quotet. A journey through various African American musical traditions. Befo’ Quotet, founded in 2004, is a “rhythm ‘n dues” band that focuses on original and contemporary expressions of Afrikan music and spoken word developed in the U.S. and other regions of the Western Hemisphere.

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company was founded in New York City in 2003 with the mission to celebrate the rich diversity of Mexican and Mexican-American cultural heritage through dance-based programming including live music. To this end, the organization produces professional performances via its touring company, designs arts-in-education programming, and provides low-cost, high-quality arts-in-education programming throughout New York City, most notably its program Calpulli Community. Calpulli aspires to be an entity that is celebrated by its community- while remaining accessible to a broader, mainstream audience- for its high-quality artistic works and also for the integrity of its organization. The name “Calpulli” was chosen for, in the Nahuatl language, it means “family” and “big house.” We are a calpulli of dancers, musicians, and teaching artists.

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company shares Mexican folkloric dances with their unique costuming and rhythms from the company’s active repertoire, that will take you on a journey throughout different regions in Mexico. Talented dancers perform and a narrator explains historical and cultural backgrounds and leads fun, interactive workshops with audiences. When live music is a part of the program, musicians also share their insight on the distinct musical traditions from Mexico and how our instruments are used in each. Workshops during the assembly include faldeo (skirt-work), footwork, and rhythmic exploration. The assembly can be tailored for all ages- from Pre-K to Universities! 

David Oquendo's Afro-Cuban Ensemble
Afro-Cuban Music

The Afro-Cuban Ensemble presents a musical journey through Afro-Cuban music, including Son, Cha Cha Cha, Rumba, Bolero, Mambo, Danzon, Guajira, and Descarga. Students learn about each style and are introduced to the bass, piano, and drums. Audiences can play along to different tempos and get ready to join the Conga line!

Kamate Traders

Performing in elaborate masks to the explosive percussion of a corps of brilliant drummers, KAMATE  TRADERS Dance Company brings to life the ancient stories and legends of Africa’s Ivory Coast. Under the artistic direction Yahaya kamate, KAMATE TRADERS is rapidly establishing itself as one of the most exciting African troupes in the United States. Noteworthy past engagements include a tour in Greece, most Festival in the tri-state area and divers privates and publics schools.

Puerto Rican Bomba & Plena

Los Pleneros de la 21 (LP21), formed in the South Bronx, New York City, in 1983 by National Heritage Fellow, Juan Gutiérrez-Rodriguez, is a group which has spanned three generations of Puerto Rican musicians, dancers, and artisans dedicated to performance and transmission of bomba and plena, two genres of Puerto Rican music which spring from deeply-rooted African traditions.  Their assembly program features five members of LP21 presenting Puerto Rican bomba and plena traditional music, song and dance in a highly interactive format. The performances include original LP21 compositions and arrangements of the traditional bomba and plena repertoire, dynamic demonstrations, insightful narratives and interactive activities where students and teachers can join the artists on the stage for drumming, singing and dance exchanges. All sessions conclude with a Q&A.

Bharatanatyam Dance & Carnatic Music

Malini Srinivasan and Friends bring their audience on a journey to the beautiful and colorful world of Indian classical dance and music. The company presents Bharatanatyam dance and its sister art form, Carnatic music. The dance grew in the courts and temples of South India, and combines percussive and rhythmic footwork with dynamic movement and intricate story-telling. Dancers use storytelling techniques including hand gestures and facial expressions to tell stories from Indian mythology. Through the performance students learn popular Indian stories, try hand gestures and clap with the rhythms. Students are also introduced to the idea of the oral tradition, which is how classical arts in India are passed down from generation to generation. Performances conclude with interactive sessions in which students get on stage and learn the basic steps and hand gestures of the dance and/or try out musical instruments like the kanjira (tambourine). area.  ~Marta Montañez

Traditional Chinese Dance

The Manhattan-based DANCE CHINA was founded in 1973 in New York City’s Chinatown. DANCE CHINA NY’s dancers include internationally-renowned artists from performance stages and academies throughout mainland China, Taiwan and the U.S. Performing a vast and dynamic range of Chinese dance and Beijing opera styles, DANCE CHINA NY transports audiences to a world of colorful myths, historical drama, and timeless beauty that evoke the haunting beauty and melancholy of imperial courtesans, recreate the rousing carnival rhythms of a harvest festival, and conjure up the dramatic beating of drums and clashing of swords on a distant battlefield. Noted for pieces with powerful grace and contained elegance, this 45-minute program, including a demonstration/interactive segment, introduces beloved ancient Chinese folk art pieces, including Lion dance, excerpts from Peking Opera featuring the popular Monkey King character, as well as the signature red ribbon dance.

Soul Inscribed

The collective features MC/Producer Baba Israel, vocalist/instrumentalist Grace Galu, vocalist Duv, Saxophonist/Flutist Sean Nowell, Keyboardist Robert Knowles, and Drummer/MC Doron Lev. Soul Inscribed flows between crafted songs, improvisation, and human beatboxing.

Soul Inscribed received a Fulbright grant in 2017 to perform and lead workshops in Mauritius through the U.S. Embassy. As arts educators, Soul Inscribed brings music to young audiences across the world. In 2016 and 2018, Soul Inscribed has toured as cultural ambassadors to Russia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Mauritius, and Peru as part of the State Department’s “American Music Abroad” program.

The 2020 release “Tune Up” shares Soul Inscribed’s collective musical experience and passion for all genres of music. Released by Tokyo Dawn Records and Co-produced by Manchester-based, legendary producer Irfan Rainy. It’s a fusion of jazz, hip-hop, house, afrobeat, soul, and disco. It reflects on the everyday struggles and triumphs of life in NYC and responds to our world’s current state of affairs. “Tune Up” challenges corruption and repression and celebrates community, joy, and freedom of expression.

Baba Israel (writer/performer), Grace Galu (composer/performer), and their band Soul Inscribed are developing Cannabis! A Viper Vaudeville produced by HERE. They are recipients of the 2020 Map Fund and NEFA NTP Grant.

Trina Basu and Arun Ramamurthy

Violinists Trina Basu and Arun Ramamurthy reimagine the potential of string chamber music with a unique sound both deeply intimate and cinematically expansive. Rooted in traditions of Carnatic classical music, Western chamber music, and jazz, the duo is uniquely positioned to create a sound that feels ancient, orchestral, and contemporary or as The New Yorker put it “free-flowing and globe-spanning.” Combined with the duo’s fluency in improvisation, there is a clear architecture to their sound that still gives space for the two violins to be delightfully indiscernible and shine individually. They have been Artists-In-Residence at Avaloch Farm Music Institute and Next Stage Arts Project, and have performed at Ragas Live Festival, The Jazz Gallery, Bang on a Can, Benque Cultural Center, Brooklyn Raga Massive and Lyric Chamber Society of NY. 

To book any of these ensembles for an assembly at your school, please contact Sahar Muradi at or 347.458.7879.