Main content

River City Drumbeat

RIVER CITY DRUMBEAT chronicles generations of African American mentors in Louisville, Kentucky’s West End neighborhood and their work to empower children and teens through creative expression. For three decades, Edward “Nardie” White has been teaching ancestral Pan-African culture and drumming traditions in the River City Drum Corps in order to instill a foundation of purposeful resilience within his neighborhood youth. Against the backdrop of the American South, Mr. White’s drumline and its multi-generational network of support has been a lifeline for many young African Americans. Now in his sixties, he must step down to allow the drum corps to evolve with a new generation. In his final year as director he trains his successor Albert Shumake, a young artist whose troubled life was transformed by the drumline and Mr. White’s mentorship when he was a teen. During this transitional year, Mr. White and Albert reflect on the tragedies and triumphs in their lives and the legacy of the drum corps. Featuring powerful drumline performances and the stories of its parents, youth and mentors, RIVER CITY DRUMBEAT is a testament to the lasting impact of art, love and community.