Chief Baba Neil Clarke

Artistic Discipline: Performing Arts
Category: Creative Equations Fund: Justice, Equity, & Sustainability
Grant Year: 2022
Location: Bedford-Stuyvesant

Chief Baba Neil Clarke is a highly respected, award winning and internationally noted, culturally grounded percussionist, bandleader, producer, scholar, spiritualist and educator. His involvement in African-centered percussive arts and his prolific professional music career span close to sixty years. Born, raised and trained in Brooklyn NY, he’s studied with percussive masters throughout the African diaspora and has enjoyed long term collaborations with many “A-list” culturally and politically rooted artists throughout his career. This instilled in Chief Clarke a desire for his music to have social and political impact as well as artistic merit. Rooted in traditional spiritual practices, as a creative artist his overarching work tends to be centered around exploring possibilities. He seeks to create opportunities for cultivating an understanding and appreciation of the African drum, on the merit of its own embedded musical instrument aesthetics. He approaches exploring varied applications, incorporations and inclusions in as many artistic and creative situations as possibly with a purposeful intention of dispelling unproductive biases and stereotypical misconceptions. Chief Clarke’s relationship with BAC goes back to his teenage years being encouraged in his artistry by founder Charlene Victor. He continues to enjoy this adventure of the creative communicative process in his artistic expression.

Photo by H. King