Research and Education

“Makandal is a book!” —Master Drummer Frisner Augustin

Since the beginning of its life in New York City, Makandal has served schools, museums, and libraries in and out of the city with workshops, lecture-demonstrations, classes, residencies, and research consultancies. We incorporated in 1984 on the basis of our educational mission and saw even our theatrical performances as learning experiences for our audience. We have run our own educational programs with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Borough President of Brooklyn, Meet the Composer, and the Puffin Foundation.  Educational programs and services have included:

  • School assembly performances, lecture-demonstrations, residencies, and professional development for, among others, the New York City Public Schools, the education programs of City Lore and the Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Carnegie Hall Global Encounters program.
  • Our own Tanbou weekly drum workshops. The first workshop ran from 1983 through 2018 at Hunter College CUNY as part of the Music Deparment’s ethnomusicology program. We are now looking for support to revive the workshop at Brooklyn College CUNY. Instruction highlights playing in ensemble, aural memory, hand and stick technique, and cultural context. We provide students with opportunities to try out their skills in live performance.
  • Research consultancies and related services in Haitian studies, such as conference, symposium, and colloquium organization; event planning and documentation; website consulting; grant-writing assistance; research and reviews; and writing, proofreading, and editing.
  • Archiving and documentation. Makandal has laid the foundation for the Frisner Augustin Memorial Archive and continues to build it. The company hopes to expand the archive to include other performing artists of Haiti and its diaspora, with a special focus on drummers.

Video: Makandal’s Haitian Drum Workshop in Brecher Hall at Hunter College CUNY, circa 2009. Recorded and edited by Jeremy Robins of Ibis Productions.

Featured photo: Makandal’s first drumming workshop at Hunter College CUNY, November 18, 1983. Photo by Chantal Regnault

3 Responses to Research and Education

  1. Aurora Marin says:

    Hello. I was wondering if drumming classes are still being offered? We would like to learn Haitian rhythms, and we have our own congas. We live in CT, but we will travel to NY if Morgan Zwerlein is still offering the classes. Thank you.


    • makandal1758 says:

      Hi Aurora! We’ve had some big changes in the organization since our artistic director passed away. We’re shifting to research and archival projects, for the most part. But you may contact Morgan directly at He’s also on Facebook if that’s your preference. I’d rather not do phone numbers online, but you may write me at for his phone number. Hope that helps!


      • Aurora Marin says:

        Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I’ve already texted Morgan at the phone number Michael Markus, director of Wula drums, gave me. I will email Morgan right now. Hopefully, he will be available to come teach the classes at Wula in September. Thank you again for your response and for sharing Morgan’s email. Aurora


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