New Arab American Theater Works program Yalla Drum! teaches local community to play traditional Arabic percussion instruments in an ensemble environment, and provides an opportunity for the larger Twin Cities to interact with our rich traditions. These percussion instruments have existed for many centuries in South West Asia and North Africa, played by Muslims, Christians, Copts, Druze, Jews and Turks.
Yalla Drum! ensemble will grow by continuous training, and also by adding more drummers to the group as we expand. We strive to pass our rich traditions onto future generations, offering them the opportunity to experience the music in and from our communities. We believe that creating spaces to share our multiple traditions strengthens solidarity with each other.
Documentary about the Yalla Drum! Program
Lead Drum Instructor
Khaldoun Samman is widely known as a local master of Arab percussion who has been teaching Arabic drumming in the Twin Cities for the past several years. Growing up in Zarqa Jordan, his favorite memories of childhood usually involved listening to the beautiful sounds of Arabic music. When Khaldoun’s family moved to New Jersey, a lot of this came with them. Khaldoun has been studying Arab percussion intensively over the past 13 years traveling across the United States and to Jordan to study with the masters of Arabic drumming. He has performed widely in the Twin Cities, including venues like the Science Museum in St. Paul, the Festival of Nations (multiple performances), the Fringe Festival in Minneapolis, as well as in Mizna sponsored events, and in several local Twin Cities Arab weddings.