About Us
Three percussionests of different ethnic origins meet.
From left to right, Jose Garcia, Fred Leavitt, Rahasaan Benjamen, Jerry Grant, Michael Hampton

The Primal Connection concept originated in 1990 when five percussionists of different ethnic origins met by chance on the Chicago lake front and discovered they could make a new form of music by combining their respective drumming traditions. This new music crossed ethnic and age boundaries to engender a spirit of brotherhood in audiences as diverse as the group itself. In 1993 the ensemble grew to seven members, was awarded top honors in the Hispanic Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame Star Search competition, appeared in Channel 11’s Wild Chicago show and was performing live on Northwestern and University of Chicago radio stations. .

In 1994 Peoples Housing asked the group to bring together children from the diverse Rogers Park community in Chicago to develop a performing ensemble. The success and satisfaction of that experience led the organization into the educational field.

In 1995 – 1996 the Primal Connection, in conjunction with the Chicago Algebra Project, developed and implemented a yearlong curriculum teaching algebra concept to fifth-graders. Since then, the group has developed and implemented programs that teach English, geography, history, math and teamwork for young people.

1997-8 The Ensemble produced Out of Our Hands a ground breaking CD with an educational liner that focused on the cultural aspects of rhythm. The group performed at and produced many events for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and in 1999 organized Chicago's largest drum circle for the Field Museum of Chicago, with 10,400 people in attendance. In 2000 the Primal Connection was giving performances and Team Building Workshops for Blue Cross/Blue Shield and flown to California to perform for and give work shops to British Airway executives. The company also hired the Ensemble to give a series of concerts to the Felicia Elementary School in Escondo/Carlsbad California, a minority under served community

.In 2001 The Primal Connection moved its headquarters to Sebring Florida. The organization added new programs that incorporate findings in recent medical research studies that have established the health benefits of hand drumming. programs have been added for youth-at-risk, Alzheimer's, bereavement and addictions.


For recent history see 'Press' and 'Primal Beat'

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Primal Connection founders