Hooked on Drums™: About Us

Hooked on Drums was founded in 2006 to carry on the youth drumming educational and performance programs that began in Minnesota under the banner of The Sojourner Truth Center, and have continued in Chicago as part of the Chicago Djembe Project. As of November 2013, we are no longer a non-profit and cannot receive tax-deductible donations.

Lilian and Nankama Drum Core member Katie, from 1996 TV documentary,
"A Different Drum"
on FOX 29,
Minneapolis , MN

The purpose of Hooked on Drums is:

  • To provide high quality, constructive educational and recreational opportunities based in the ethnic art form of the drums of the Malinke from West Africa , to youth of diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • To offer professional instruction, leadership, artistic direction and resources for youth performance projects.
  • To create opportunities for youth to learn from experts in the ethnic arts, with specific focus on the drums of the Malinke.

Dr. Lilian Friedberg, Founder/Artistic Director

Dr. Friedberg began teaching African drumming to youth and leading youth drumming ensembles in 1994, after having been a soloist, group leader and drumming instructor in Europe and the U.S. since 1986. She has developed, designed and facilitated the Hooked On Drums curriculum and performance program in community centers, schools, churches, arts organizations and other settings.

Born in Wisconsin , an expatriate in Europe in the 1980s, and living and teaching in Minnesota from 1992 to 1999, she is now based in Chicago and has taught youth and adult students throughout the Midwest . She is a bilingual, published author with a PhD from the University of Illinois/Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Chicago .

While living in Europe in the 1980s, Dr. Friedberg was one of the first non-African students of Les Ballets Africains legend and Malinke Master Drummer Famoudou Konaté, and one of the first and finest drummers and teachers on the continent. She has made four study trips to Guinea , West Africa to learn the authentic djembe drumming tradition and participate in traditional Malinke festivals.

Jim Banks, Co-Founder

Jim has dedicated himself to the djembe/dunun drumming tradition since 1996, and has been a drumming instructor since 2003. He brings high standards of professionalism to djembe teaching, performing, organization and promotion. He has studied and apprenticed with Lilian Friedberg since 1998 as co-founder of the Chicago Djembe Project, studied intensively with Master Drummer Famoudou Konaté from 2000 to 2004, and has also studied with Master Drummer Mamady Keita.

As manager of the Chicago Djembe Project (CDP), Jim established Guinean Master Drummer Famoudou Konaté's North American workshops and performances from 1999 through 2004, organized workshops in Chicago for Master Drummer Mamady Keita from 1999 to 2002 , and organized CDP's classes while co-directing its performing ensemble.

Lilian Friedberg and Jim Banks performing with the Chicago Djembe Project Ensemble, 2004

Lilian Friedberg working with kids at a Park District open house in Chicago, 2006

Interested in Hooked On Drums Classes or Performances?
For Our Youth Class Schedules & Registration, Click Here
For Adult Classes through the Chicago Djembe Project, Click Here
For Classes or Performances at Your Organization, Send Us an Email
All content © 2006-2009 by Hooked on Drums TM
Hooked On Drums, Inc., 2849 E. 93rd St., Chicago, IL 60617
ph: (773) 251-8067
Send us an email for more information


website design © 2006 - 2007 by Julia Droste Stege and www.graphicgirlz.com