Mary Amelia Beyer first encountered traditional West African music while a student in the directing program at Playwrights Horizons Theater School in NYU. The experience was so powerful that when she joined AmeriCorps after graduation to use the arts in community service, Mary set her sights on a residential mental health facility for children with a Therapeutic West African Drumming Program. There, Mary studied under Tom Harris who led her to opportunities with Aly Camara, Fode Lavia Camara, Mohammed Dacosta, Famodou Konate, and Mamady Keita. Mary teamed up with her partner, Brandon Grant, and together they went on to establish a Therapeutic Drumming Program at a facility in West Virginia, study under Bill Scheidt at Tam Tam Mendingue in North Carolina, and teach West African music and dance at teen pregnancy prevention programs and empowerment camps for middle school girls. Mary plays Djembe and dances, but she’s especially passionate about playing dununs–and she’s so grateful to play with Lannaya, an incredible group in a town she loves.