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About Us

Led by Artistic Director, Taji Maalik aka Folade, Drums Are Life, LLC is a group of musicians who offer a wide range of high-quality percussive arts and culture programming. We are a group of highly skilled, passionate artists dedicated to creating an enriching and creative atmosphere.

Drums Are Life - the heartbeat of percussive arts and culture since 2006! Experience the rhythm of life with us and discover a world of music possibilities. Join us and let the drums take you on a journey! 

Taji Maalik aka Folade
Artistic Director

Folade is a second-generation musician and multi- percussionist and has dedicated himself to the art of music for over 25 years.  At a young age, he developed a passion for working with the youth in his community in New York City that later crystalized and began to manifest in Minnesota through the arts. Training in the art of music, he decided to pursue and continue his interests by obtaining a degree in Child Development.  As an educator he shares and directs the same passion for the arts through Drums are Life, an organization that has had a long history of providing programming to youth and adults in the community through cultural awareness, music, song and dance from around the world.  


As a percussionist, vocalist, dancer, he has worked with various artists across the globe. His rich performance history ranges from performing at many national and international venues including London, Beijing, and San Francisco. Folade has performed at many national and international venues, including the Jazz Café (London), National Black Theater of Harlem (NYC), International Music & Dance Cultural Tourism Festival (Beijing), Ethnic Dance Festival (San Fran.), just to name a few. In addition, he served as a musical assistant director at the Riverside Church (NYC). Now residing in Arizona, he continues to provide cultural enlightenment and education to the community through the study of percussion music, dance and visual art of the African Diaspora. 


Proven Outcomes

River S., AZ

"I have had the desire to learn African drums for quite sometime so when I found Taji’s drum class that meets weekly in the park I was excited! In this class I have been learning proper technique, inspiring rhythms, and most importantly discovering deeper aspects of myself through sound, vibrations and music. Taji’s class brings my soul so much joy, curiosity, and fun! He teaches with incredible patience, grace, knowledge, and his passion for his art reflects the powerful experience of each class. Thank you Taji for believing in and sharing your gifts! This has inspired me to keep believing in my own gifts!"

Bob M, AZ

"In my 35 years in education I've never experienced a better or more lively teacher. My highest praise for Folade."

Nursing Home Activity Director, MN

"Our residents were on their feet  dancing in no time at all, all through the rhythm of the drums"

Jack Pickar, Director of Life Enrichment, Walker Methodist Care Suites

"Our residents thoroughly enjoyed the colorful display of unique rhythm instruments and their ability to participate actively. The Drums are Life program was engaging, educational, and created a special atmosphere for all who attended." 

Library Programs Director

 "I was so impressed by Taji's ability to engage with his audience of mixed ages, and by his ability to both capture the attention of such a large group and inspire them."


"My son takes private lessons with Drums are Life, and his grades have improved, as well as his attention span. Thank You!"
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