Released on June 13, 2017

Produced by Mark Lomax, II
Recorded live at The Short North Stage
(Columbus, Ohio) March 22, 2017
Mastered by Storm 9000
March 26, 2017
Liner Notes and Cover Design by Mark Lomax, II
Photography Scott Woods & Mark Lomax, II
This performance was commissioned and underwritten by the Johnstone Fund for New Music

Mark plays RBH Drums exclusively.




Mark Lomax, II

Drummer and composer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II, teams up with an all-star cast of spoken word artists featuring Dionne Custer Edwards, Barbara Fant, Carnell Willoughby, and Scott Woods for an epic dialogue between the Drum and Nommo.

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The Project

In the African tradition, the drum has always had a voice central to the cultural expression of the people. The drum sang the praises of major and minor deities, of honored ancestors, and mighty warriors. It reminded its people where they came from, and illuminated the path forward. This great and powerful voice became even more powerful when combined with the power of the Nommo, the Voice. Though great effort was made to suppress it the Drums voice in the New World, it’s energy and rhythms was transformed into the Spirituals and the Blues, Ragtime, Jazz, R&B, and Hip-Hop. Langston Hughes, Sonia Sanchez, Haki Madhubuti, and Audre Lorde all channeled its voice in their poetry, but its essential message of balance, power, and unity has been lost. Having dedicated his life to studying the drums and its voice, Dr. Mark Lomax, II seeks to use poetry to help reconnect audiences to the oral tradition of the drum. Using rhythm and verse, Lomax, along with poets Scott Woods, Dionne Custer Edwards, Carnell Willoughby, and Barbara Fant, will craft a narrative that reminds us of the truth that we can always find hope in our collective humanity.

The Artists...

Dionne Custer Edwards : literary artist, performing artist, arts administrator, educator
Dionne Custer Edwards is a writer and arts educator working in education at The Wexner Center for the Arts. She created Pages, a writing-based program, where she curates a year of learning experiences in and around the arts. In conjunction with her work in the arts and education, in 2012, she presented in Indianapolis, a TEDx talk titled: Beautiful Distractions in 21st Century Learning, and recently spoke in New Orleans at the National Art Education Association on her research and work with the Pages program.

For several years, she was a contributing writer for Alive, has published single works of creative writing, essays, and articles, and most recently published an essay, translated in English and Turkish, Inside Outside: On Creative Practice and Arts Partnership in Sanat Dünyamiz (“Our Art World”). In 2015, Dionne was featured on The Ohio Channel’s 'Book Notes', a series featuring writers from Ohio. Her work appears on several music compilations, most recently 'The Tree of Life', a collaboration with renown jazz artist Pharez Whitted. In early 2016, she facilitated a 12-week writing residency, 'Write the Power', in conjunction with Maroon Arts Group, where she worked with seven other writers to pen an 80-page theater-inspired choreopoem. She was also recently a featured writer for Dare to Be Heard, an exhibition at The Columbus Cultural Arts Center, featuring women artist voices. www.lifeandwrite.com

Barbara Fant :  minister, poet, artist facilitator
Barbara Fant, originally from Youngstown, Ohio is a minister, poet, and artist facilitator. She received her bachelor of art degree in English Literature and Language Arts in 2010 and her Master of Theological Studies in 2012. She has been on three National Poetry slam teams from Columbus and has represented the city in four Individual National and World Poetry slam competitions. Her first poetry collection, Paint, Inside Out was released in April 2010 from Penmanship Books of New York City when she was awarded The Cora Craig Award for Young Women Authors. She is a former employee of the Huckleberry House and of Art for a Child’s Safe America, working in shelters, prisons, correctional juvenile facilities, and elementary schools teaching art as a form of healing. She is also a member of ArtFluential of REACH communications, Is Said and the Advance Party, and has also been a regular performer on the radio show Street Soldiers. Commissioned by The Columbus Foundation, her poem “Today, Beginning Again,” written for Columbus’s Bicentennial year can be found in Revealed: Columbus, The Story of Us. She works at The Columbus Foundation as the Nonprofit Outreach Administrator. Barbara considers poetry her ministry.

Carnell Willoughby
Carnell Bey Willoughby is a long time community artist.  He is a founding member of one of Columbus' first Hip-Hop groups S.P.I.R.I.T. (Soldiers Poised Infinitely Reinforced in Truth).  For over 20 years he has led community based writing workshops, hosted and performed at multiple events in the state from poetry nights to ComFest.  Most recently Carnell is part owner of Willowbeez SoulVeg, a vegetarian, health conscious pop-up and caterer with a community based mission.

Scott Woods
The author and editor of over nine volumes of poetry and prose (We Over Here Now, 50 Mistakes Poets Make, and Watering Hole: Juke Joint Poems most recently), Scott Woods has performed in a number of venues and with an assortment of accompaniments. His work has been used in creative writing and historical literature classes at numerous universities and high schools, has been featured multiple times on National Public Radio, as well as in print in Paste and Columbus Monthly. He was inducted into the Thomson-Gale Contemporary Black Biography encyclopedia in 2006.   He was the founder of the poetry performance group The Black Air Poets, and has published articles, reviews and other prose.  He was the coach and a member of Columbus's first-ever National Poetry Slam team in 2001. He spent six years as President of Poetry Slam Inc., which oversees the annual National Poetry Slam, the Individual World Poetry Slam and the Women of the World Poetry Slam. He MCs the highly lauded Writer's Block Poetry Night open mic series in Columbus, Ohio and writes a bi-monthly poetry column - "Poetry Is Doomed" - for GotPoetry.com. In April 2006 Scott made history by performing the first-ever 24-hour poetry feature, a feat he bested with six more annual 24-hour readings without repeating a single poem.