'Djembe!' Beats A Path To Chicago

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- It's called “Djembe!,” and it's named after the percussion instrument with origins in West Africa.

"The word ‘djembe’ comes from the Malinke tribe, where the drum comes from. The literal translation means, ‘Everyone gather together,’” said Doug Manuel, who became fascinated with the instrument while traveling.

"The drum awakened something inside of me to the point where I just wanted to share what I felt with as many people as possible once I got back from West Africa."

After introducing it to the corporate world, he brought the language, the culture and the music to the stage.

"I grew up on the South Side. I've always been a singer. I grew up with Gospel, soul music, Marvin Gaye, Whitney Houston," she said.

“Djembe!” is making its American debut in Chicago.

"Where else but Chicago? Chicago is the place in the United States for innovative theater. There was no where else to go," Manuel said, laughing. "The interesting thing about the ‘Djembe!’ is, it’s about collaboration, about listening to each other and connecting with others.”

The show is at the Apollo Theater until June 9.