Extra Ancestral

Kahlil Cummings


A native of Los Angeles, Kahlil Cummings is an acclaimed drummer, performer, composer, and educator. Kahlil was recognized as a child prodigy very early on and since childhood he has played with numerous reputable groups including Ballet Folclórico Do Brasil, Sona Sané, Abalayé, Mila Samba School, Inu Olorun, Debbie Allen Dance Company, Les Amazones, and Viver Brasil. Kahlil honed his musical talents with noted teachers including Mestre Amen Santo, Jose Ricardo Sousa, Kobla Ladzekpo, Esteban “Cha Cha” Bacallao, and Sandy Perez. His studies in Guinea, Brazil and Cuba have helped to widely broaden his knowledge and musical strength. However, he is most profoundly influenced by West African master drummer Mamady Keita, with whom he has studied since the age of 13. Kahlil helped start the group Balandugu Kan, which was sanctioned by Keita as representing “the voice of Balandugu”--- the village where Keita was born. His compositions can be heard on his debut album Iniké Baba, recorded  live in Guinea, West Africa.

Kahlil was the musical director for opening numbers for both the NAACP Image Awards and the Choreographers Awards in 2004. Since then, he has performed with several renowned artists such as Janelle Monae (American Idol), Shakira (music video “Waka Waka), and Gwen Stefani. He recently recorded percussion for Aloe Blacc’s song titled “Let the Games Begin,” which was featured in the movie “Race.” In addition, Kahlil performed with Pharrell Williams and Kendrick Lamar in the 2015 and 2016 Grammy Awards, respectively. His prolific abilities have even taken him as far as Japan, where he produced and recorded music for Takarazuka, an elite Japanese  theater ensemble, and for Pomba, a well-known fitness company.

Kahlil founded Extra Ancestral in 2017 as an ensemble aiming to educate audiences through fusions of hypnotic Afrobeat, Reggae, Jazz, Afro-Latin, and traditional rhythms of the African Diaspora, narrated by powerful ancestral dancing. Kahlil also plays and tours with international recording artist Rocky Dawuni, and can be heard on the albums “Branches of the Same Tree,” which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album of the Year in 2016 and Beats of Zion 2019. Kahlil also performs and recorded on the latest album of Jazz icon Kamasi Washington “Heaven and Earth” 2018. Kahlil is an endorsed artist of Latin Percussion (LP) and Istanbul Cymbals.

Alberto López

Co-Musical Director/Arranger/Musician

Alberto López received his first music lessons as a child in a neighborhood music school in Medellín, Colombia. Upon his family's move to the United States, he furthered his studies in piano and percussion at the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA and The Juilliard School in New York City, respectively. In addition, Alberto studied counterpoint, harmony and orchestral conducting privately under the great Jacques-Louis Monod. While in New York, he came under the tutelage of Afro-Cuban drumming master and legend Felipe García Villamil, with whom he learned not only the drumming and music, but also the religious and ceremonial aspects of various Afro-Cuban cultural and spiritual traditions. Furthermore, he has traveled to Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Cuba to develop his knowledge of Afro-American music and  culture.

Residing in Los Angeles since 1999, Mr. López has performed, recorded, composed and/or produced music with artists such as Quetzal, Jungle Fire, Mstislav Rostropovich, Rubén Blades, Celia Cruz, Lee Ritenour, Stanley Clarke, LCD Soundsystem, The Brand New Heavies, The Dalai Lama, Aloe Blacc, Natalia Lafourcade, Juanes and Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, among many others. He was part of the Oscar-nominated soundtrack for the 20th Century FOX animated film "Rio" and in 2013 received a Grammy Award (Best Latin Rock, Urban or  Alternative Album) for his work on the "Imaginaries" album by Quetzal, released on the Smithsonian Folkways label.

In November 2004, Alberto founded Belú Music, a music production house and independent label, with the aim of developing and sharing the musical vision of artists around the world. His releases and productions have generated praise from some of the most prominent world music radio stations, including KCRW and KPFK (Los Angeles), BBC (UK), KEXP (Seattle) and WGBH (Boston). Additionally, Alberto is a co-founder and partner of Artivist Entertainment, an independent entertainment company founded in conjunction with Aloe Blacc, Maya Jupiter, Quetzal Flores and Veronica Gonzalez dedicated to representing artists whose art and music  inspire positive social change.

Mr. López has also been an active educator, teaching privately as well as giving lectures and workshops in schools and universities, including UCLA, Loyola University, SDSU, Occidental College, LAMA, Plaza de la Raza and community centers throughout California, Arizona and Oregon. In 2010, he released "Afro-Colombian Rhythms Method, Vol. 1" with Colombian master percussionist and gaitero Eduardo Martínez (Totó La Momposina, Petrona Martínez). Currently, after traveling with Mr. Martínez to the region, Alberto is working on a second volume dedicated to the music of Afro descendants of the Magdalena River in Colombia and is finishing the production in conjunction with Scott Wardinsky of an instructional DVD/CD set of Afro-Cuban rhythms featuring Cuban masters Ramón "Sandy" Pérez and Lázaro Galarraga. Mr. López also  worked as an instructor at the Dubspot online and Los Angeles campuses.

Alberto López plays and endorses LP percussion instruments and Innovative Percussion drum sticks and mallets.

Rachel Hernandez

Co-Artistic Director/Dancer/Choreographer

Rachel began her professional studies in Salvador, Bahia. She has had the privilege to study with landmark masters such as: Mestre King, Jose Santos, Rosangela Silvestre, Vera Passos, Nildinha Fonseca, Matias Santiago, as well as at the Escola de Dança, Balé Folclórico da Bahia, and UFBA. She is skilled in Afro-Brazilian dance, Modern and Ballet. Rachel danced with mestre Kings Grupo Genisis, Balá da Mata, Fusion Dance Company, Ballet Santa Barbara, Marina Magalhes, and in the legendary production Saurê. She works for the Children’s Creative project and LA's BEST Program introducing Afro-Brazilian dance to scores of elementary school children. elementary school children. She has choreographed for Ballet Santa Barbara, Viver Brasil and ballet folclorico do Brasil, Amalkoba nationally as well Capoeira Batuque Japao in Japan internationally. She has developed her signature Afro-Brazilian dance classes and Extra Ancestral Workshops being taught throughout LA County. She currently choreographs the dance component of Extra Ancestral and plays percussion with Bloco Obini.