Meet Weedie Braimah

GRADE: 3-5, 6-8
SUBJECT: Music, Culture
GENRE: African Drumming
TOPIC: Musical Heritage
DISCIPLINE: Music General


In this lesson, students will learn about djembefola Weedie Braimah’s musical heritage and explore their own musical heritage. Students will use visual storytelling to explore and depict their personal musical heritage.



  • Recall facts about Weedie Braimah’s musical heritage.
  • Describe what a djembefola is and make connections to other trades that people dedicate their lives to.
  • Create a classroom musical heritage chart.
  • Design a personal visual storytelling of each student’s own musical heritage.



National Core Arts Standards

Visual Arts Anchor Standard 1 Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Visual Arts Anchor Standard 2 Organize and develop artistic ideas and work. 

Common Core State Standards

ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.



Teachers should review the sequence of lesson and lesson materials prior to teaching the lesson. Djembe Traditions and Djembe Techniques are optional lessons for building background knowledge.





  1. Ask students: Have you ever met a djembefola? What about a musician/historian/storyteller? Tell students they are going to meet a special person today. Play the video Meet Weedie Braimah. Have students listen for specific details about Mr. Braimah’s background. 


  1. Discuss that Mr. Braimah is a djembefola (one who has dedicated his life to the djembe) from a family of drummers. Tell students a trade is a skilled job that requires special training and study (examples: artist, electrician, hygienist, construction worker, etc.). 


  1. Break students into small groups and have them write the question, what are other trades people dedicate their lives to? Then have the groups create a list or drawings of different types of trades. 


  1. Play The Ships Come In, a lullaby by Weedie Braimah. Ask students to listen for the djembe, any other instruments. Have them think about what makes the song feel like a lullaby. After listening, discuss the song. Ask students: What instruments did you hear and what makes them think of a lullaby in the song?



  1. Write the words, “Musical Heritage” on the board. Ask students to define what they think musical heritage is. Gather responses from students and add them to the brainstorm.  


  1. Play the video, Weedie’s Musical Heritage, where they will learn about Mr. Braimah’s music lineage and the people who influenced him to carry on the tradition of becoming a djembefola. Discussion: What is heritage? (Heritage: features belonging to the culture of a particular society, such as traditions, languages, or buildings, that were created in the past and still have historical importance.) How did Mr. Braimah’s heritage shape him? How does heritage shape us? 


  1. As a class, create a definition of musical heritage based on the brainstorm and Mr. Braimah’s story. For example, “Musical heritage is the songs we learn from our families.”



  1. Tell students they are going to use visuals to tell a story, an art form called visual storytelling. They will create a personalized musical heritage story with visuals only. Drawings, magazine cutouts, photographs, fabrics, and other artifacts can be used to paste onto a blank poster, chart paper, or cardboard. Distribute supplies to students. Each student will title the poster, “[Name’s] Musical Heritage.” 


  1. Have students visually tell a story with elements of their musical heritage. Model for students how to brainstorm ideas then create a sketch. List a few questions on the board for students to consider. Where was the first music that you heard (church, home, something a grandmother used to hum, lullabies, party songs, cultural songs, or songs for special occasions)? What type of music did you hear growing up? Who in your family listens to or plays music? When do you hear music played? What instruments do friends and family play?



Cambridge University Press. (n.d.). Cambridge Business English Dictionary. Retrieved June 27, 2023, from



Used with permission. Portions of this work are based on the National Core Arts Standards Copyright © 2015 National Coalition for Core Arts Standards/All Rights Reserved – Rights Administered by SEADAE.

© Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.

Weedie Braimah, African Drumming Teaching Artist
Produced by Preservation Hall Foundation



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