Babatunde Lea

Babatunde Lea

Babatunde Lea playing African Drums

What do you do at Walker West?

I teach drum set and hand percussion.


Drum set, congas, Afro-brazilian instruments and djembe

What style(s) of music do you teach/play?

Music from the African diaspora and jazz


Englewood, New Jersey

What are some performance/professional highlights?

I’ve played with Pharoah Sanders, McCoy Tyner, Stan Getz, Leon Thomas, Oscar Brown, Jr, and Azar Lawrence to name a few.

What was your first gig?

My first paid gig was back in 1964 in a recording studio in Englewood accompanying a singing group from Florida.

Favorite Walker West memory/experience?

Teaching at Barack & Michelle Obama Elementary for Walker|West.

Musical influences?

Babatunde Olatunji, Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza, John Coltrane, Canonball Adderly and Nancy Wilson

Favorite album?

There’s so many but I’ll pick Love Supreme by John Coltrane.

Why is music education so important?

Because it has been scientifically proven that music helps students to excel academically.  Also, I know from experience that music heals. It heals me and the listener.

Advice to young musicians?

To have fun and study hard.