Music & Dance


Umi learned the traditional art of Afro-Latin percussion and singing by studying with Zeke Nealy, Juma Santos, David Frazier, Tobaji Stewart, Marcus Gordon, Bill Summers, Jesús “Cusito” Lorenzo (Cuba), Sandy Pérez (Cuba), Jesús Díaz (Cuba), Jorge Alabê (Brazil), Brian Rice, Pedro Rosales (Peru), Mario Pam (Brazil), Teddy Strong, Etiel Loango (Colombia), Juan Medrano “Cotito” (Peru), Pancho Quinto (Cuba), Carlos Aldama (Cuba), and other teachers.

Music is the beat of life that always goes on.


Umi has performed various styles of African, African American, and Caribbean dance with Dimensions Dance Theater, Grupo Folklórico Obakoso, Project Reconnect, Ilê Aiyê, and Emese, Messengers of the African Diaspora in the Bay Area of California, New York, Brazil, and Zimbabwe. His dance training includes apprenticeship and performance with master dancers Isaias Ramírez Rojas (Grupo Banrrarra), La Mora (Cutumba), and José Francisco Barroso (Obakoso). He has taught dance classes and made lecture presentation-performances at the University of Michigan, University of the West Indies (Barbados), Florida International University, La Casa de Africa (Havana), the Ann Arbor Public Library, Pemaju Dance Studio (Detroit), West Oakland Community School, the Life Academy High School, the National School of Folklore (Lima, Peru), and the Museo Afro-Peruano (Zaña, Peru). Dr. Vaughan created and teaches the Africana Studies course “Afro Cuba Hip Hop: Music and Dance in the Black Atlantic” at California State University, Monterey Bay.