I talked to Wahru Cleveland at the Hot Times Festival.
Location: 240 Parsons Ave., Columbus, OH 43205.
What is your name?
My given name is Barbra Jean Cleveland. My drum name is Wahru. It stands for Woman Ancestral Romantic Universalist.
How long have you been playing the bongos?
I started playing bongos at fourteen. I tried to play them in the Pentecostal church.
Tell me about the group.
I play with an all-women’s group called “Sistah Ngoma.” I am incorporating the men. When I incorporate the men, we call ourselves the “Spirit Drummers.” Ngoma is an African phrase that means song, drama and dance. I am working on the group being more multi-cultural. “Sistah Ngoma” are all women who drum really well. They are willing to practice. “The Spirit Drummers” are coming along. So, they get exposure we put them on the stage too. It might be between twelve and fifteen people.
How does someone who is interested join the group?
I do workshops periodically. Now, people can look on Facebook for “Wahru Cleveland.” I am considering changing the name to Multicultural Drumming Originates From Everywhere.