by James VanDenAkker


© Copyright 1980-1994 James VanDenAkker

© Copyright 1997 Luis M. Nunez


"My heritage is the heritage of all humanity.  The country of my ancestors is the planet Earth. I ain't no minority. I'm part of the human race."  -Jim

(My friend, James H. VanDenAkker, died on December 1995. I've been going through his computer disks printing out his transcriptions of various rhythms, his drum notes and what few details about his life I've been able to find. I don't want the material to be lost and want it to be some kind of web drumming memorial to him. -Luis)


Jim was born on 1/2/48. As a kid, he started becoming interested in the traditional drumming in New Orleans and began hanging out with the Indians when they would let him.


In 1965, he began to study traditional Haitian rhythms under Bohdi Sala.


In 1971-72, he went to Cuba and studied under Senor Bozas, working in his comparsa company. Mr. Danny Acosta played lead at the time while Jim played second.


In 1978, he opened Cambridge Custom Percussion (The Conga Shop) in Cambridge, Mass. While in Cambridge, he lectured and advised Harvard's Leslie College graduate program.


Jim in front of the Conga Shop, Cambridge, MA,

with some of his drums. (1988 or 89)


During his years in Cambridge, he organized many long term drum and dance circles. After 1990, one of the circles was formalized as The Earth Drum Council.


He had to close the Conga Shop due to a fire in 1990. At that time, he was diagnosed with the kidney cancer that killed him.



Jim's Notes: A Course in Drumming