Kunama Mtendaji

2024 Exemplary Teaching Artist

Kunama Mtendaji is a veteran teacher and performer of storytelling, music and dance. He was born into a family that excelled in the oral tradition on his mother’s side and musical instrumentation on his father’s side. He learned traditional drumming and dance of the African diaspora during his college years at the Performing Arts Training Center, directed by the renowned dancer and anthropologist, Katherine Dunham. Baba Kunama was a principal drummer with the Chosane Dance Company, directed by his teacher, legendary master drummer Mor Thiam. While working as curator of the Katherine Dunham Museum, he deepened his understanding of “functional communal performing arts”. Kunama launched his first programs to teach youth about African cultures in 1981.

Kunama Mtendaji’s Programs

Dance to the Drum, Drum to the Dance
Stories with Drums
Words from the Drum