Richard Byrd – Bloomfield, NJ


Richard Byrd, native of New Jersey, has traveled around the world perfecting his craft as a Drummer and Akponni .  He has been playing Drums since grade school and seriously studying after being accepted in the Drum and Bugle Corps while in high school.   Richard has had the distinction of performing  consistently with Babatunde Olatunji, Ladji Camara, Chuck Davis, Charles Moore Dance Co. and Chief Bey.  He was also the founder and director of Dundu Dole, a West African Dance troupe.

His constant study has afforded him the distinction of being one of the better Djembe Drummers and all around Percussionist.   His wide range of talents allows him to be proficient on many types of drums, including the Bata, Congas, Sangba,  Djundjun, Sabar, Ashiko,  as well as a wide variety of percussion instruments, such as Shekere, and Agogo bells Richard’s dedication has led him to become one of the leading Akponni’s in the Yoruba tradition, where not only is the Drum used to call God, the Voice is used as well.  Richard has brought his compassion for the Drum to the community via many venues.

Faculty Adjunct Professor at Jersey City State College
Recreation Dept. for City of Orange
Universal Language of NJ for Festival of Music of
Arts Horizons
Hospital Audiences
Young Audiences

Richard has also worked with Jimmy McGriff, Sun Ra Arkestra, Cecil McBee, and Charles Earland.


  • Bata
  • Djembe
  • Djun Djun
  • Sangba
  • Shekere