Interview with David Pleasant (2005)

In this interview, conducted by Tavia Nyong'o at the Hemispheric Institute's 5th Encuentro titled Performing "Heritage": Contemporary Indigenous and Community-Based Practices in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 2005), David talks about how he began playing percussion, demonstrates the rhythms he uses in his work, and how these shape daily Gullah life. These African-American beats include polyrhythm, call & response, pitched hand claps, syncopation, improvisation, concurrent percussion, and others that exist in much of American popular music. He also discusses Language of the Soul, the show he had performed at the Encuentro a few days before the interview.


David Pleasant is a musical stylist who was raised in the Gullah/Geechee culture of Georgia (Sapelo Island, Darien/McIntosh County and Savannah). His work is driven by the wealth of African retention in Gullah culture, particularly juba, hand jive, pattin', rhappin' and shout, which have played a major role in the development of David's RiddimAthon!®, a performance and teaching method developed from a synthesis of African, Caribbean and African American musical traditions. As a Fulbright Senior Specialist, he presents international programs and lectures on the subject. His work has been featured in theater, dance and television, and he was featured in the award winning musical Crowns by Regina Taylor.


Background Information
  • TItle: Interview with David Pleasant
  • Alternate Title: David Pleasant
  • Date: Mar. 14, 2005
  • Location: Interviewed on Mar. 14, 2005, as part of the Hemispheric Institute's 5th Encuentro in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
  • Interviewee: David Pleasant
  • Interviewer: Tavia Nyong'o
  • Duration: 00:18:00
  • Language: Spanish