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The Underground Drummers

The Underground Drummers

Woman and Man wearing traditional African head pieces holding a djembe and conga drums in front of a sign that reads The Underground Drummers.

The Underground Drummers are part of the cultural fabric of New York City. The duo met in 2011 while drumming for an Afro-aerobics class. They began performing in the subways and soon formed the Underground Drummers.

Niyyirrah El, aka “STAR,” who holds a B.A. from The College of New Rochelle, is an Afro-Caribbean dancer, entertainer, percussionist, and Afro-aerobics instructor, as well as a family advocate, educator, healer, choreographer, and poet. She has a residency at The Children's Theatre Company of New York City and is a recipient of the “Merit of Citation” from the Bronx Borough President’s Educational Alliance. She is also the founder and manager of ExcelleAerobics, LLC. Eugene Ballard, aka “SABOR,” has played percussion for over 40 years. He first learned to play as a merchant seaman, developing his craft at diverse venues with artists such as jazz singer Sweet Georgia Brown and the band Master Force. He has played at Carnegie Hall, the Apollo Theater, and the Miss Black America Pageant. He has also played with the Original Last Poets (Felipe Luciano, Gylan Kaine, David Nelson), Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Stevie Wonder, and George Benson. He is a member of the James Spaulding Ensemble and creator of the Black Seed Band.