Tyrone Owusu Slater

Man in traditional clothes posing with a djembe.

Tyrone Owusu Slater hails from St. Vincent in the Caribbean, homeland of the Garifuna people, where he was first drawn to music by the Starlift Steel Pan Movement of the 1970s. In 1980, he joined Naked Roots Cultural Drumming Group, touring the Caribbean and participating in World Expo 1986 in Canada. Since moving to United States in 1991, Slater has worked with groups throughout the Tri-State area, touring and recording with the Rock of Ages Reggae Band, the Zena Foster Jazzpel Band, and jazz legend Ornette Coleman. He was cofounder and program director of the Biko Transformation Center in Bushwick, Queens, a cultural exchange dedicated to preserving Garifuna music and language. He has worked with community organizations, such as the Rhythm Wizards, the Central Brooklyn Jazz Consortium, and the Afrigarifuna Jazz Ensemble. He currently plays with the Weusi Ensemble and the jazz band Zanrah. Slater is also a storyteller with the African Folk Heritage Circle and Pearls of Wisdom, as well as chairman of the Cultural Association of Vincentians.