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Aaron Spalding started playing electric bass at about 10 years old. After playing bass through his teens he switched to percussion and since 1998 has focused on African music, mostly the music of the Shona people of Zimbabwe and Cuban style conga drumming. As a founding member of the band Bliss Gypsys, he toured the United States and British Columbia, Canada. He has learned the fundamentals of West African djembe and Indian tabla with a little guitar and banjo thrown in for fun.

Adam Rice began playing the djembe in 2005. Several years later, he began providing percussion at local solo artists’ shows. In 2008 he played with Laugh At Linus, a folk-funk-rock band, and for the past two years has been accompanying The Bailout Revival, a rusty-rock cover band. In 2009, Adam joined CircAfrique, and has had the privilege of learning to play traditional West African and Zimbabwean music. During this time he has been introduced to the marimba, the mbira and several other West African drums.

James Harney started playing acoustic and electric guitar in 1992, rocking out to classic rock, heavy metal, and punk. In 1997 he joined The Sellouts, a pop group that played coffee shops and college parties. In 2004 he joined circAfrique and began studying traditional music from West Africa and Zimbabwe on instruments such as djembe, dunun, mbira huru dzavadzimu, mbira nyunga nyunga or karimba, marimba, and guitar. In 2009 he began studying traditional music from the United States on the mountain dulcimer. In 2011 he began studying latin percussion on instruments such as tumbadora and pandiero.

Robin Pickett and Sundeep Rao first studied West African Drumming with Yaya Kabo, of the Casamance region of Senegal, who taught them about a lot more than drumming. They also took classes in West African dance from Idy Ciss, of the Muntu Dance Troupe in Chicago. Recently, they have been studying Djembe and dunun with Master Drummer M. Bolokada Conde. Other than djembe, dunun and marimba, Robin plays a mean hosho. Sundeep’s motto is “I may not have the innate talent, but I make up for it with perseverance”. An amateur ethnomusicologist, his music interests range from mbira to didgeridoo to Central Asian throatsinging.



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