A classically trained musician and a percussion alumni of Los Angeles Music Academy, Kelvin began his study with the late Mamady Keïta in 2006 and have since committed his entire musical career around the djembe.
After achieving his Certified Teacher status in 2008 and Senior Certified Teacher status in 2011, Kelvin curated and oversaw the implementation of world’s first ever assessment level system for traditional djembe and dunun playing base on TTMDA curriculum as taught by Mamady.
Upon his appointment as Vice President of TTMDA by Mamady in 2013, Kelvin initiated TTMDA Partner programs to elevate the awareness and learning of traditional djembe playing worldwide. To date, Kelvin has provided training in Asia, Central America & Europe and in the course of it transformed aspiring djembe students to the current new generation of TTMDA Certified Teachers.
During his year as VP of TTM International, Kelvin coordinated the publications of TTMDA Curriculum for Traditional Djembe & Dunun, TTMDA Solo Appraisement Book and most notably the realisation of Djembeföla iOS app by Tom Taylor.
Recognising the constant evolvement of technologies and societies, in 2020 Kelvin created the ‘MK Method” – the categorisation of Mamady’s legacies into 5 main subjects (Rhythm Logic, Traditional Rhythms, Solo Technique, Dununba Rhythms & MK Creations) learned in the form of module structure presented through online learning and assignment submission, as a definitive way to preserve Mamady’s teachings in the ever changing era of 21st century.
Kelvin assumed the leading role at TTMDA in late 2021, as attested by Mamady before he passed on, with the primary mission to teach and advocate the 157 rhythms created by Mamady in his lifetime. Today, Kelvin continues to mentor aspiring djembe players and oversee TTMDA programs worldwide.
The album ‘JUMP’, released in 2010, showcased Kelvin’s composition with his group Fanka Fellas, with whom he has also been creating djembe videos with since 2011, so much so that YouTube endorsed the Kelvin Kew & Fanka Fellas channel in the YouTube Partner Program for the amount of subscribers and watched hours they have garnered.
Kelvin also created the AAA (Asia All-star for Africa) project that brings together outstanding djembe drummers and dancers to tour Asia, performing in a chosen Asia country ever year with the aim of advocating traditional djembe playing in the bigger Asia region.
Based in Singapore, Kelvin runs Djembe Singapore Club which he founded in 2004 and is now a leading company in providing djembe classes and workshops in the region of South East Asia. Kelvin is also a leading drum facilitator for corporate seminars and is constantly requested by MNCs and government organisations for his vibrant energy and effective insights in his facilitation.
In 2023 Kelvin launched Djembe Flow, a djembe learning & practice app that allows him to teach his style of solo improvisation in a mental sate of flow, as well as to better connect with his students worldwide from this studio in Singapore.
I am very blessed to be doing what I do. Music has always been my life and more importantly, playing djembe has further taught me what it means to love and serve the people around us.
It is an honor to be studying with Mamady, a privilege to serve my fellow TTMDA teammates and a greater purpose to help bring the values of djembe to every part of the world.
Our purpose in life is really to love, through the djembe we learn how to do that.
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