Tonya Lyles–Based in Austin Texas, Tonya “Onye” Lyles has founded SistaDrums to rejuvenate, invigorate, and uplift a community through teaching the art of hand-drumming and movement linked to traditional world rhythms.
Tonya’s drum path began at four years old. Her first drum was a tambourine played in a gospel choir where she sang and performed weekly. In 1994, her path converged with the West African djembe drum in Las Cruces, NM. Her drumming style has been greatly influenced by her teachers, Babatunje Olatundje Alseny Sylla, Karuna Warren, Edwina Tyler, Mohamed Camara, M’bembe Bangora, Ibrahim Diakate, Mouminatou Camara, Abdoulye Diakate, and Moussa Taore.
Tonya plays the djembe, djundjun, balaphon, shakaree, shakara, congas, bangos, cajon, Mrimba, talking drum, and dumbek. She has been playing and performing traditional rhythms on djembe since 1994 and currently teaches in Austin, Texas. Her performance experiences range from solo artist to member of a sixteen piece West African drum and dance ensemble. Drum on Sistas Drum!