Biography

Edwina Lee Tyler

This is Edwina Lee Tyler!

Percussionist, composer, vocalist, dancer and actress, Edwina Lee Tyler blends these entire elements into more than just a performance, but into jubilation.

She has pioneered the playing of traditional African percussion instruments by women. A practice long thought to be forbidden in African culture. Her performances feature a combination of drum, djembe, songbey, conga, steel drum, calabashes, bongos, marimba, kalimba, shekeres, bells, conch shells, slit drums, as well as rattles and wood blocks.

Tyler has appeared at Alice Tully Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theatre Workshop, La Mama E.T.C., the Michigan Festival, and has toured throughout Europe, Africa and Korea. Tyler taught dance and was director of percussion studies at Dance Theater of Harlem. She performed with the Capoeiras of Bahia, and went on to create and direct A Piece of the World, an all women African dance and drum ensemble. Her collaborations with Dance and Theater artists include, “Song of Lawino” (1988) with choreographer Jawole Zollar and director Valerie Vasilevsky, “Death of the King’s Horseman” (1987) at Lincoln Center, with Nobel prize winner Wole Soyinka, “Anarchy, Wild Women & Dinah” {1986) with Urban Bush Women, and “Life Dance Trilogy”{1987) at Alice Tully hall with Jawole Zo1lar which earned Tyler a Bessie Award for achievements as a composer for dance.

Edwina Lee Tyler was the subject of Edwin Kim Kimber’s documentary, “To Be a Massai.” She has
appeared on numerous television programs and interviews focusing on African American Culture

Her work has been supported by a variety of foundations including, Meet the composer, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Eastman Fund and the Brooklyn Arts Council Association.

Tyler has recorded solo performances and has appeared as a percussionist on various CD’s. Her
recording, Drum Drama was released on audio cassette by’ Percussion Piquant the 1980’s. Her
latest CD recording, Things Are Gonna Change, weaves together her unique style of African, jazz and classical rhythms.

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