By Alex Ashe



Promising Greensboro percussionist Scott Johnson possesses plenty of experience for a 21-year-old. An aspiring ethnomusicologist, Johnson began playing drums in a rock band while in middle school, but now enjoys music from a multitude of cultures. Last year, Johnson joined the Brand New Life, a local eight piece Afrobeat/free jazz band featuring some of his friends who he’s played with since high school. Johnson spent two years in Boston, studying at the Berklee College of Music. “I was eager to learn about music from all over the world,” Johnson said.

He returned with an understanding of elements Afro-Cuban music, specifically congas, which he now plays in the Brand New Life. Johnson also plays drums in Mamadou’s Fantastic Band. The group’s leader, renowned Senegalese tama player Mamadou M’bengue, taught him how to play different drum patterns, as well as the tama, a West African talking drum. The Brand New Life will release an EP later this year and are playing the Blind Tiger with Rebirth Brass Band on March 9. For more information, please visit