I became a drummer early on at the age of 10 in elementary school. I owned my first drum set at age sixteen and played my first paid professional gig at age 18. My older brothers said I drummed in my sleep!
Drumming has been my life’s work for more than three decades. Midway through my drum set career, I fell in love with the power of hand drumming. First I studied Conga with Jorge Bermudez and then I continued with the West African Djembe and Dunun drums under the instruction of Master Guinean drummers, Mamady Keita, Famadou Konate and Bolokada Conde, to name just a few.
I’m originally from the Bronx, New York and after high school, I migrated to Washington State to study percussion performance and fitness at Central WA University.
I moved to Nashville, Tennessee where I performed and recorded and then spent some time living in the San Francisco Bay Area doing the same. I ended up at Lake Tahoe, which has been my home for more than 25 years. I love Lake Tahoe where I am physically active and creatively inspired by its beauty, while having Reno, Carson Valley, Truckee and the Lake Tahoe Basin all within my creative reaches as a teacher and performer.
I’m a creative facilitator of drum circles for classes, team building, empowerment, university workshops, wellness retreats and special events.
I enjoy performing in my own theatrical drumming show, “Durga’s Drum Story” and with my drum group, “Dea Drum & Dance”. I continue to play drum set in an original Funk, Jazz & Blues Band, “The Wesley Orsolic Band”, and occasionally showcase on the Hand Pan Drum for sound artist workshops.
I’ve authored these two books to-date: “Adventures of Durga, Messenger of the Drum”, a children’s book, and “Djembe 101”, a beginning instructional djembe book, DVD and play along CD. (with links back to the store)
I’m currently a teaching artist in several schools and a social development drumming facilitator in Juvenile Treatment Centers. Thankfully my programs have been recognized and awarded grant funded by: The National Endowment for the Arts, Nevada Arts Council, American Century Championship / Lake Tahoe Visitor Authority, Douglas County Educational Foundation, Soroptimist International of Tahoe Sierra, El Dorado Community Foundation, and Tahoe Arts Project.
For 16 years I’ve contributed on adjunct faculty at Lake Tahoe Community College teaching drum set, Afro-Cuban Conga, West African Djembe and Dunun Drums as well as a Fitness and Wellness Coach.
My rhythmic journey continues to be exciting, rewarding, challenging, creative and incredibly diverse……it is about sharing my talents, passion, experience and knowledge with others.
My Personal and Professional Mission
To encourage and inspire others, through drumming, to be their very best. It’s easy because drumming always brings out the very best within us!
I primarily use West African Djembe and Dunun drums. I teach traditional West African rhythms because they are beautiful, purposeful and accessible. Traditionally, West African drumming has been the center piece of all special occasions. These rhythms are about life and relationships and so are my workshops. I enjoy sharing and comparing the purpose of ancient drumming with modern day situations.
I bring all the drums, and sometimes additional instruments. You provide the chairs and a space for the drum circle to be created.
For a more detailed chronological account of my background and qualifications with schools and education, youth and empowerment, team building workshops, classes, special events and performances, please visit my Career Highlights page.