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Sonja D Branch, D MA

Sonja D Branch

Adjunct Faculty

Department: Performing Arts

Contact Information

Campus: Main
Office Number: MU2-154
Email: sonja.branch@gccaz.edu
Phone number: (480) 235-9842

Office Hours

Wednesdays evenings by appointment

Bio

Biography

Dr. Sonja D. Branch, D.Mus.A., holds degrees in music performance from Ithaca College and Arizona State University. She directs West African percussion ensembles at Glendale and Scottsdale Community Colleges, and accompanies dance classes at Arizona State University. Dr. Branch has a special fondness for Senegalese sabar drumming, to which she was introduced in 1998 on a two-week excursion to Senegal organized by the late ASU professor, percussionist and ethnomusicologist, Dr. Mark E. Sunkett. That single trip led to many years of study and collaboration with Dr. Sunkett, as well as several more adventures in Senegal and The Gambia as his research assistant.

In 2014, after serving for more than a dozen years as Associate Director of the ASU African Drum Ensemble, Dr. Branch established Ensemble Ndeye Soxna (ENdS), an independent performance group dedicated to keeping Senegalese sabar drumming alive in Phoenix. An active freelance musician, Dr. Branch appears regularly with several ensembles, including the MusicaNova Orchestra, Kawambe Omowale African Drum & Dance Theater, Crossing 32nd St. Contemporary Music Ensemble, the Sonoran Marimba Band, and the funk band, Dr. Delicious. Building and repairing drums in her home shop is another long-time pursuit. One of her latest commissions, a set of Rainbow Tube Toms, is on display in the Experience Gallery at Phoenix's Musical Instrument Museum. Along with her percussion activities, Dr. Branch plays guitarrón with Mariachi Luz del Sur, and the all-female Mariachi Rubor.