Najite Agindotan, King of the African Drums

He was the Chief Priest, Fela Anikulapo Kuti's boy, back in the day, when Afro Beat, coined by Kuti, was the bomb at Baba's African Shrine where all kinds of rituals took place to reinvent a culture that was disappearing within its landscape. He speaks well of Baba who inspired him in what he now does very well, playing the adudu, African drums and percussions.

But Najite, as he is called by his admirers all around Greater Los Angeles, did take his hand-drumming craft to another level; initiating the Drum Church Circle to the City of Angels, inspiring others to follow, and the rest is now history.

On a normal Sunday afternoon, Najite pops up and walks around the village to survey which way the familiar rumble of his drum circle should spill in the park with a cast of vendors and tourists who'd shown up to make brisk business and stomp to the vibes as his entourage strikes rhythms together. Dressed in all white African outfits, his beads jingling around his neck and wrist band well-fit for the occasion, Najite peppers the Leimert Park Drum Church Circle beats with songs and yelps, echoeing as in African masquerade dance.

Master of his art, Najite, in 2000, was awarded the Congressional Award for Excellence by Representative Diane Watson. He has also received grants from the California Arts Council, the National Endownment for the Arts, and in filmmaker Ben Caldwell's own words, promoting and "incubating" the cultural arts in a multicultural Greater Los Angeles.

Also, Najite has been recognized by the University of California; Los Angeles, San Diego, Irvine, and Riverside campuses for his thoroughness and persistence in the arts.

Now that Leimert Park Art Walk is born, expect more with the best yet to come!