Drum Beats, Heart Beats

Non-Fiction - Memoir
474 Pages
Reviewed on 09/07/2020
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Author Biography

Creator of a popular workout based on African dance (Aerobics with Soul®), Maria Nhambu has made sharing her love of Africa and its culture and rhythms the focus of her life. Her memoir series, Dancing Soul Trilogy, begins with her childhood in a German orphanage for mixed race children in Tanzania, East Africa, and continues with her arrival in in the United States, her adjustment to a new culture, the creation of family she longed for, and dramatic discoveries about her past.
Born in Tanzania, East Africa, she was raised by German missionary nuns at an orphanage for mixed race children. Throughout the hardship and mixed blessings of her childhood, Nhambu (as she is called) sustained her spirit through dance and kept alive her dream of further education. She was able to fulfill that dream in the United States where she attended college, became a teacher and eventually married and raised two children.
Her passion for African dance, art and culture inspired her to create and teach the African dance workout Aerobics With Soul® and fuels her work as an unofficial cultural ambassador. In that role she gives African dance presentations and speaks about Africa nationally and internationally.
Currently Maria Nhambu lives in Delray Beach, Florida, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Contact her for book presentations and speaking through her website. www.MariaNhambu.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Drum Beats, Heart Beats is a work of non-fiction that is written in a memoir style by author Maria Nhambu. This work completes a memoir trilogy chronicling the journey of culture, empowerment, and identity of the author: the Dancing Soul Trilogy. After the harrowing experiences in a biracial orphanage in Africa’s Child and the promise of a fulfilling new life in America's Daughter, we come to a moment where the author wishes to connect both her past and present on a journey of self-discovery to Tanzania. What results is an emotive and thought-provoking account of how we form our identity, and how our place of birth and early experiences may shape us far more than we first think.

Author Maria Nhambu recounts an emotive and passionate tale of desiring to know more about her roots, heritage, and family in this highly compelling and atmospheric memoir. The author is extremely open with her audience, and the prose invites us to explore the various dichotomies of identity within the writer as a result of the experiences which life has shaped. Though there are struggles and harrowing and emotive moments, overall this is a story of triumph and empowerment, and a search for balance and understanding within oneself. Nhambu writes with eloquence on the biracial experience across different countries and changing times, and the narrative is sure to bring nostalgia, comfort, and education depending on the different reading ages that come to it. Overall, I would highly recommend Drum Beats, Heart Beats as an uplifting and fascinating memoir for one and all.