Learn about some of the special events he has provided to festivals, communities, conferences and arts venues…
Here’s an article from the San Francisco Examiner.
Spread the Word
Onye Onyemaechi takes his message beyond the North Bay
BY CHARLIE SWANSON
Onye & the Messengers perform on Saturday, July 15, at Redwood Cafe, 8240 Old Redwood Hwy., Cotati. 8:30pm. $10–$12. 707.795.7868.
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- STRONG SONGS Onye Onyemaechi (third from left) sees music as a tool of self-empowerment.
Known for a dance-inducing repertoire of African rhythms blended with jazz, funk and splashes of reggae, Onye & the Messengers get the crowd moving at the Redwood Cafe in Cotati on July 15.
Born in Nigeria, Onyemaechi studied business in Boston, but ultimately chose a musical life over a corporate one in the early 1980s. "Now my business is to make people happy," he says."
Onyemaechi moved to the North Bay in 1989 and founded Village Rhythms as a way to present drumming and music in a multitude of educational programs for individuals, businesses, schools and other organizations around the world.
Seeing music as a tool for community building and self-empowerment, Onyemaechi often performs at school assemblies and promotes a joy of learning in his youth programs. One of Onyemaechi's most popular offerings is African Village Celebrations, a public program he brings to libraries and museums throughout Northern California. These 60-minute workshops feature African drumming, dancing, songs and stories presented in their historical and cultural context. Participants learn to value and integrate their own heritage into the experience.
In addition to his work with Village Rhythms, Onyemaechi is also a celebrated performing and recording artist, spreading positive values through the rich tradition of Afrobeat from his native Nigeria.
"I am inclusive of diversity in all aspects," Onyemaechi says. "Music is a very powerful medium to bring that message to people all over the world. Music is full of love and kindness; it allows us to be free and de-stress from all our problems."
Made up of several seasoned Bay Area musicians, Onye & the Messengers excel at showcasing not only the technicality of Afrobeat's polyrhythmic sound, but also the genre's intuitive and creative flair, and the group expands on that creativity with jazz and world music embellishments.
"What I do with the band is to allow them to be free, to be available within their own creative means," Onyemaechi says, "to let the music speak for itself."
Bring an African-style drumming celebration to your community
February 9, 5:49 PMFiftysomething Lifestyle ExaminerAmy Wachspress
Lift your spirits with an old-fashioned community drumming and dancing celebration. Times are tough and it’s easy to become dejected, depressed, and disillusioned. A terrific antidote to the miasma of negativity is a celebratory gathering, and nothing does it like dancing and making music. Drumming is such a simple musical opportunity that participants of many ages and abilities can join in and become one with the beat and the drumming circle. Or become one with those dancing to the drumming. Forming a drumming circle and dancing to the drum beat is an ancient stress reliever, community-builder, celebration, healing tool, and all-around good time. If you want to bring an inspiring drummer to your school, library, event, or community, then consider the talents of Onye Onyemaechi, an African drummer living in Santa Rosa. Create your own village celebration with Onye, who will take you on a joyous and soulful drumming journey that will pour the good energy into your heart. Find out more at Village Rhythms.
The Bleeping Herald
The peak event of the conference, for me, was the “Village Rhythm Experience” lead by Onye Onyemaechi. This was a mix of drumming, trance dance, meditation, letting go, prayer, communion, community, and oneness like I have never experienced before. I found myself laughing and crying at the same time.