Kelly Takunda Orphan loves to sing, drum and dance! As a vocalist, percussionist, songwriter and dancer, Kelly has both taught and performed music around the world. She was raised in a family of mixed-heritage musicians in the Bay Area, sang in her church choir, studied piano, voice and percussion and toured with Babatunde Olatunji before moving to Africa and discovering her deep-rooted passion for music and dance in Zimbabwe. Kelly took a year-long course in Ethnomusicology at the University of Zimbabwe in 1994.
Kelly also holds a BA from San Jose State University in Creative Arts with an emphasis on world music and also has a minor in music. She completed the Orff Schulwerk certification program in 2001 at Mills College in Oakland, CA. She has taught music to children and adults for over 20 years, and has taught at various organizations such as NCAOSA (Northern California American Orff Schulwerk), Oakland Youth Chorus, Go Girls!, Born To Drum and more.
Since 1995, Kelly has worked as a music specialist in Richmond, San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland public and private schools. In 1997, Kelly began to build a music program at Park Day School where she is currently teaches music to K-5 students, directs two choirs and leads a percussion ensemble. For the past decade, Kelly has been leading her own 10-peice world music ensemble, The KTO Project and she performs in various Bay Area music and dance groups. She is currently in collaboration with Evie Ladin and her project, Motor, which is a unique all female ensemble of artists who sing, play body music and dance.