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Layne Redmond (1952-2013) Composer, Drummer, Author, Filmmaker, Educator


2006, volunteer to teach percussion at UFBA, the university in Salvador,  and Escola Pracatum, Carlinhos Brown’s special music school in Candeal.  I meet Rosangela Silvestre, choreographer extraordinaire and we produce a cd of tranditional candomble´ songs and shoot footage of six orixas, the gods and goddesses of Afro Brazilian legacy.

I get serious about making music videos and short films.

Met Tadeu Mascarenhas, a young musician and engineer when we record in his studio Casa Das Maquinas.  Tadeu and I become collaborators on my next four projects:  Flowers of Fire, Wave of Bliss, Invoking Aphrodite and Hymns From the Hive.

Meet songwriter, vocalist and visual artist Nathanael Ross Ells and make two videos with him.  Nathan along with my young musician friends in Brazil hip me to social media and how twenty and thirty year old artists are pursuing their careers.

The end of 2007 move to Brazil, have many experiences but can never get my permanent visa so come back to the US and settle in Asheville, NC.  I never wanted to be cold again, but if I have to be cold, then this is a great place to do it!

September 2012 Daniel Sabio has arrived to help me launch Golden Seed Films and put together When The Drummers Were Women archive. 

We’re busy working on our film Axé Orixá, Dreaming Awake the Gods and Goddesses of Brazil.


The moon and sun are eternal travelers.  Even the years wander on.
A lifetime adrift in a boat, or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. From the earliest times there have always been some who perished along the road.
Still I have always been drawn by windblown clouds into dreams of a lifetime of wandering. 

           Basho 1644 -1694

I become timeless when I work with fiber. Each line, each knot is a prayer. —Lenore Tawney

Internal Combustion, 1985

Handdance, 1985

Where it went strange.

I think it was that moment in the library when I discovered that there were 17 volumes of the The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum and I proceeded to read them all.  I was eight years old and had just taken my first photographs and was busy learning to tap dance.  By the time I was ten I was scouring the bookshelves for the sci fi symbol on the book spines.  At that point Robert Heinlein was writing for ten year olds but by the time I was 16 he wrote Stranger in a Strange Land.  And there I was, a stranger in a land getting stranger all the time.  I tap danced, cheer-led and hid in the darkroom during classes developing photos.

In 1966, at 14 in a state of total excitement I went to my first rock concert:  THE MONKEES but what got me stranger was the opening act -- JIMI HENDRIX.  Yes, Jimi Hendrix opened for the first three cities of the Monkees 1966 tour (playing with his teeth, behind his back, between his legs, setting his guitar on fire) until the mothers of all those little white girls in the audience completely freaked out. 

                     From this . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  to this!

From there on out it was Jimi, James Brown, Motown for me.  My fav song was Heard it Through the Grapevine  -- check Jack Ashford explaining why that turned me completely around -- the shamanistic “Indian war drums” (i.e. frame drum) beat on the bass drum and Jack’s tambourine jingles changed me forever.  I still stop dead still and listen when I hear that song.

My father goes to Venezuela to open the first crab processing plant in S. America, and I go stay with him for a month when I’m 16.  I see the barrios, each with a tv antenna on it’s tin roof, and realize they are watching American TV dubbed into Spanish.  I see a big billboard that says, Sugar is Energy.  Even at 16, a chill goes up my spine.  I cause a riot at the traditional market place (where I first see butchered whole cows hanging up covered with flies) because I’m wearing shorts even though I’m in the company of my father and his manager who was too shy to tell us I couldn’t wear shorts.  No one wears shorts in Maracaibo in 1968.   It was as if I had gone naked into the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store back in Florida.  I mean in Florida even the postman wore shorts!  I am so humiliated. I still don’t think I’ve recovered from that.  The native people who work at my father’s plant press against the window of my room to stare at me and want to touch my hair.  I feel like an exotic kitten but they are so sweet, I let them pet me.  The women walk along the road to come to work and when they need to pee, they stoop and pee on the ground, their colorful dresses acting as a privacy tent.  I go to the country club with my father and meet American kids whose parents are working for the American oil companies that have staked out Maracaibo’s oils resources and the wealthy Venezuelan students who go to the American schools.  It is the first time I hang out with wealthy, highly educated kids of color, everyone interacting the same no matter what color their skins are.  We had only integrated in my hometown 3 years before.  I return to Crystal River, FL but I know that my reality there is not everyone else’s.  I am never the same. 


At 17, in art school at the U of F in Gainesville, still scouring the book shelves, I come across the poetry of Basho, Yoga Youth and Reincarnation, Be Here Now and Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.  Alternate realities, art, rhythm, yoga, and zen have been the cornerstones of my life.

Hmmm.  Do I mention responsible entheogen use?  It was the early seventies!  But then again, was it responsible???   It certainly opened other strange aspects of my mind and psilocybin mushrooms were growing wild on the U of F’s campus in 1970.

In 1974, I’m browsing the library shelves at the Newark Public library (I am in art school now at Rudgers in Newark, NJ) I find a volume on Cycladic Art, another moment when my mind went stranger still:

In 1977 I am studying painting at the Brooklyn Museum as one of the Max Beckmann scholarship students with Joyce Kozloff and through her I meet many of the powerful feminist artists in Manhattan.  I hear Martha Wilson speak at Artist’s Speak on Art and showed up the next day to apply as an intern at her performance art/artist book archive space:  Franklin Furnace.  Soon I have my own loft down by city hall and join a performance art/dance collective,  and we open 626 Broadway, a loft in lower Manhattan dedicated to what seemed to be a warped version of vaudville performance art.  I begin to create Performance Art Pieces: including The Edge of Night and As The World Turns.  I meet found art artist, Janet Nolan,  who becomes my closest friend forever.

1981 I go to a Charlie Morrow and Glen Velez concert and watch Glen play many different types of frame drums and talk him into taking me on as a student.  I have no idea that this will completely change everything in my life.

Find Dharma Mitra’s yoga studio and Glen and I meet there every day for class.  Then we meet Swami Bua who becomes our yoga master and we go to class as often as possible.  Study aryuvedic cooking with Swami, the shat karmas, pranayama and his wonderful hatha yoga.  I was blessed to find a real South Indian Yogi, living in an apartment at Columbus Circle!

I am awarded an art studio at the Clocktower, and I make art  there but also Glen and I practice drumming there for hours and teach ourselves to do overtone singing.

I get involved in organizing the collection of images of frame drummers Glen has put together.  I noticed that they were almost all women?????  This starts me on the path to figure out why at one time most of the drummers were women and why they are not today.

Become a peon in the Guerilla Girls for a short while (they sent us younger newbies out to post the posters, a miserable job!!!  Ducking the police, lugging heavy buckets of glue which splashed all over us in the cold) but a photography session at my Hell’s Kitchen apt. immortalized my backside!

Move into Hell’s Kitchen and live there through the crack epidemic.  Rent is dirt cheap, so I have a lot of time to drum and I make a lot of light paintings.

Glen and I drive 1200 miles through Morocco and come back with a bunch of bendirs!

Remo Belli decides to create a line of frame drums.  This will change everything for frame drummers in the US!

1985, I meet two young rappers from the Bronx, Cool Supreme and Easy Gee, and we do a performance art piece called In Money We Trust at PS 122.   This is right before Run DMC breaks rap out of the neighborhoods and into the commercial world.  For about 9 months I venture with my camera into the fierce neighborhoods of rap and live to tell the tale.

I record Handdance with Glen, the first recording for the new label, Music of the World, and the first new music recording based on frame drums.

Glen and I head to Cologne, Germany, and record Internal Combustion for CMP Records. 

The groundbreaking and influential percussionist Colin Wolcott is killed in an automobile accident and I go to his funeral rite at Dharmadatu in NYC.  I was so moved by the practice of Tonglen in that ceremony that I start the Shambhala training program and begin years of serious sitting meditation practice.

Glen and I go to Haiti but don’t come back with any drums.  It was my first serious plunge into the African diaspora cultures outside of the US.

Glen and I go to Brazil, get an airpass and travel from Rio to Salvador to Recife to Manaus, cruise up the Amazon on a fishing boat playing frame drums and sleep on the river banks in hammocks.

Glen and I form a trio with the incomparable bansuri flutist, Steve Gorn, which was known as the Handdance ensemble.   We record Seven Heaven, 1987, and then Assyrian Rose for CMP Records in 1989.  Steve Gorn to this day remains one of my favorite and most brilliant collaborators.

Gerry James creates Interworld Music to make frame drum instructional videos.

I begin teaching frame drum classes and shortly have 50 students a week.

Meet Amitava Chatterjee, fall crashingly in love, and marry him which eventually leads to me leaving the Handdance ensembles (scary after a decade of commitment to that music) and start The Mob of Angels.  Amit opens a whole new world of pitch and harmony to me.  It is the beginning of a ritually magical part of my life and Amit remains one of my great artistic and spiritual muses.

1991 I record Since The Beginning with the Mob of Angels and Amit as co-producer.  Steve Gorn and the brilliant violinist Vicki Richards grace the recording!

Meet Yamada Sensei, my tea teacher and study Japanese tea ceremony for two years, I was a terrible student because Hisashi only taught beginners!!  When I am finally forced out of the beginners class by the other teachers, I give up classes.  But every day I make matcha and think of my beloved Hisashi.

Go to Greece by myself for my first research trip into the ancient frame drummers.  By chance I run into one of my great mentors, Lenore Tawney, who at age 84 is traveling through Greece.  Lenore often graces the Mob of Angel events with her powerful presence.

Leslie Meredith, of Random House, watches a performance and slide lecture I do at Omega and the next week buys the rights to the unwritten When The Drummers Were Women.  And then I had to write it!!  I move upstate New York and start!

One of my best friends and frame drummer John Wieczorek and I flee the worst winter in 25 years in the Catskills and go visiting museums by driving through Turkey (buy a lot of rugs and museum catalogs but no drums!); bus our way through Syria, listening to great music on the bus radio and getting spritzed with orange blossom spray; drive through Cyprus (where I drink too much of Aphrodite’s lovely red wine and fall into the ocean in my down parka) and end up in Greece searching out images of the ancient frame drummers.  I eat moussaka and John goes to MacDonalds!  We were just about ready to be back in the US after a month of hard travel on the trail of the ancient frame drummers. 

Dick Marcus and Rick Drum from Remo, Inc. come to a presentation of mine and then convince Remo to create a line of Signature Series of drums for me.

Gerry James asks me to do an instructional video which was first released as Ritual Drumming.  Later when Warner Brothers licensed it, it was renamed A Sense of Time.  Women With Drums and Ritual = Scary :D!    Here’s a section on the ancient frame drummers.  And also a segment of instruction. 

1995 Nana Vasconcelas brings me to Salvador, Brazil, a huge turning point for me, to perform as a solist in the Percpan Festival.  I go on after Milton Nascimento sings my favorite song of his, The Call.  It takes every bit of hutzpah I have ever pretended to have!

1995 - 2004: Meet Tommy Be, who becomes my collaborator, partner and best ever buddy for nine years, record Trance Union, Chanting the Chakras, Chakra Breathing Meditation, Invoking The Muse, Heart Chakra and Tommy records Vibratribe, a fabulous album. This is an incredibly fertile period for us creating music, making videos and creating teaching structures. We move to rural Florida and city boy Tommy sticks it out for 5 years before he heads back up north and I start to travel to Brazil and the Mediterranean world as much as possible.

In 2001, meet my chi kung master, Wei Lun Huang, a very powerful teacher and begin to study his Golden Lotus Incense Qi Gong.

In 2004 write Chakra Meditation Book for Sounds True, synthesizing the years of research I’ve done into the chakra system.

Martha Wilson History of Performance Art

Layne’s Back!

Layne’s Back!

Layne’s Back!

Students from Candeal

Master Huang

Tommy Be

Swami Bua