Babatunde Olatunji, Chief Bey and Ishange Razak, the three men who established West African drumming in the United States, all passed on during 2004. Three Pillars of Life: Honoring the Elders Who Stood Before Us pays tribute to these holy men of rhythm with performances by Babafemi Akinlana and Taiwo Duval, who both played with the elders. Shane Benjamin, pastor of the Asbury Temple United Methodist Church in Durham, will tell the story of how West African drumming and dancing started in the U.S. Duke’s own Djembe and Afro-Cuban Ensemble director Bradley Simmons will pay reverent tribute with his seasoned hands, and in addition to performing alongside the guest artists, Duke students in the ensembles will be featured on their own as members of the new generation of drummers.

Friday, Nov. 19, 8 p.m. Baldwin Auditorium, Duke East Campus. Free.