New Orleans’ native, Imhotep Dlanod is a professional musician and teacher known for playing and teaching a variety of musical genres and drumming styles. His training has been in the oral tradition-apprenticeship style of teaching and learning music. As a young child and adult, he worked alongside his father and siblings to support the family-owned landscaping business.
In 1988, he began playing West African drums and studying the teachings of the black consciousness movement. For two summers in 1990-1991, he lived and studied with his mentor and teacher Meshach Silas. Meshach was a native of Mississippi and long-time resident of Chicago who founded Funkadesi and Minianka African Drum and Dance Ensemble. From the early 1990s to the early 2000s, he performed with a variety of professional African Dance and Drum ensembles, including Zulu Connection, the African American Dance Ensemble with Chuck Davis and N’kafu Traditional African Dance Company. Throughout this time, he taught drumming to children through different in-school and after-school programs.
In 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, he began playing New Orleans second-line and Mardi Gras Indian percussion as a way of remembering and commemorating his roots. As a resident of Asheville, NC, he collaborated with many groups combining the afro-style of drumming to other genres such as Gypsy, Punk rock, Funk, and Traditional Appalachian. For the past eleven years, he has worked as a master teaching artist with LEAF Community Arts. He has worked with RedZebra to provide team building and leadership development workshops for corporate and community groups. He is a member of Alternate ROOTS and studied Sociology at Southern University in New Orleans, LA.
The approach to music-making he brings to his professional work and teaches to his students is about collective and personal healing from external and internal oppression. He believes that connecting people to culture is a transformative and liberating experience that instills a sense of self-worth, shared history and collective purpose. He works with and within mixed racial/ethnic groups and believes music is a way for people to learn how to listen better to one another and promote harmony across areas of difference. His artistic and activist work is guided by Afrocentric and indigenous principles, such as self-determination, interconnectedness, self-love, self-acceptance, respect, and unity.