Chuck Cogliandro, Director, Kumandi Drums

Chuck Cogliandro

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Chuck Cogliandro (pronounced, “Coe-lee-ahn-dro”) is one of the foremost African Drum artists and teachers in the Southeast United States. He has played drumset with a number of rock, funk and country/western bands and participated in recording sessions for commercials and television shows. He has studied and played with a variety of renowned artists including Mike Adams, Brother Yusef Crowder, Stone Montgomery, Mohamed Diaby, Mohamed daCosta, Aly Camara, Ibrahima Camara, Papa Ladji Camara, Abdoul Doumbia, Sidiki Joh Camara, Alisco Diabate, Lansana Kouyate, Inza Diabate, Doudou N'Diaye Rose, Mamady Keita, Ngoma Diaw, Koto N'Gum, Reinhard Flatischler, Bill Summers and Skip Burney, among others. He has performed and recorded with Alafia (musical director 1997-present), Emerson Drummers (musical director 1996-present), T.H.E. Percussion Choir (musical director 1997-2003), Gwen Hughes (jazz) and Dave Bass (jazz).

In the mainstream arts community, Chuck may be best known for helping to assemble and perform with the 100-member percussion tribe that began the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. He directed the T.H.E. Percussion Choir from 1997-2003, and the Emerson Drummers from 1996 to the present. He has organized and hosted the twice annual Blue Ridge Mountains African Drum and Dance Camp since 1997. He has taught as a guest professor in Georgia State Univeristy’s music department, at Georgia Perimeter College, and at hundreds of schools from pre-K to high school levels.

For Chuck, drumming is more than a source of musical expression; it is a source of deep connection and creativity, as well as a way to provide space for others to learn, grow, connect and celebrate. To further deepen the healing he has been doing with his hands through drumming for many years, Chuck is now studying at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing. These advanced studies enhance Chuck’s ability to help others create optimum health on all levels, uncover their essential core qualities, deal with central life issues and develop personal creative processes.

Kumandi is the culmination of Chuck’s musical and cultural experiences with drumming and healing. The Malinke word, “Kumandi,” means “To invite, to call, to sound.” It embodies the inclusive spirit of African drumming and teaching, the “calling” that drumming has been for Chuck and his many students, and of course, the resonant sound of the drums themselves.

Chuck and Babatunde Olatunji 1997



Organizational Training
& Team Building


School Programs

Drum Circles, Lessons
& Classes, Camps &


Performance Ensembles
& Recording Sessions


Healings, Rituals,
Personal Exploration


Drums, Bags & CDs
for Sale, Drum Repair