Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm
Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, was conceived in Alna, Maine, in 1989, in the context of a drum class under the tutelage of John McDowell, who offered the wise guidance that if you want to improve as a musician, "play out", i.e.., start performing. Their first official gig was on the Winter Solstice 1989, which is the holiday of the Goddess Inanna, whose myth recounts her descent and reemergence from the underworld. Some versions of the myth describe her being called back to the upper world through the sound of the drum. Some versions of the myth also say she was responsible for bringing the drum to her people.
Together for 30 years, the band has recorded six full-length albums; been invited to schools to teach drumming and culture to youth; and performed extensively.
Through their own teaching, the members of Inanna seek not only to provide musical education, but also to cultivate vibrant community. The band takes its name from the ancient Sumerian goddess Inanna, who was worshiped more than 4,000 years ago when it is believed that the drummers were predominantly women.
Members have traveled throughout the world to study with master drummers. Their teachers include Famoudou Konaté, Yaya Diallo, Layne Redmond, Glen Velez, and Babatunde Olatunji. Through their own teaching, the members of Inanna seek not only to provide musical education, but also to cultivate vibrant community. The band takes its name from the ancient Sumerian goddess Inanna, who was worshiped more than 4,000 years ago when it is believed that the drummers were predominantly women.
Inanna's repertoire includes a variety of drums: West African dununs (bass drums), djembes, congas, kpanlogo, sabar, surdo, doumbek, frame drums: tar, bodhran, tambourine, riq, kanjira, and melodic percussion such as the balafon, kalimba, and hammered dulcimer. Rhythmic texture is enhanced with bells, shakers, cymbals, tibetan bowls, chimes, claves and wood blocks. Their vocals are distinctive in that Inanna utilizes Western harmonies, and their melodies also include the violin and ukelele.
Annegret Baier, a german native with a degree from the University of Music in Stuttgart has been studying the drum rhythms of the Malinke people in Guinea, West Africa for over 20 years and lives with her family in Portland, Maine where she teaches drum classes, offers artist in residency programs and performs with several bands.
Tori Morrill has BA in Social Anthropology, and has been studying world music for over 25 years. Tori loves sharing the healing power of music through drumming, voice and movement. She holds workshops and is currently working on organizing retreats where people come together to experience the positive physical and mental health benefits of participatory rhythm-based activities.
Shirsten Lundblad has a Masters in Divinity degree from Harvard, and makes her living as a massage therapist, yoga teacher, and musician. She and Tori together teach ongoing frame drumming classes, including Layne Redmond's six month intensive studies program . In her travels, as well as in her drum circles with people living with Alzheimers/dementia, she bears witness to the universal language of rhythm. She has a particular interest in sound healing, both in the context of individual therapy as well as in community. Shirsten is a facilitator with Satyana Gender Reconciliation International, an organization whose purpose is to transform the roots of gender injustice and disharmony.