The Journey: Senegal... A Meditation Album

I am excited to share with you my new meditation album, The Journey: Senegal!

After a year of creating, reimagining and meditation, I connect the past and future with sounds behind stories told by Griots of days old. The Journey: Senegal is how I imagine the shores of West Africa bridging through waves that ripple throughout the diaspora calling for grounding rest.

The composition combines a concert of singing bowls infused with soothing yet energetic kora, Indigenous (Wolof) voice and djembe is inspired by my experiences in Dakar, Senegal. This journey of sound invites you to set intentions, meditate, and recharge.

Featured in this passion project: Sona Sanko (vocals), Elhadji Sora (kora) and, Khadim Badji (djembe).

NOW AVAILABLE ON: Band Camp, Apple Music, Spotify

The Journey: Senegal | Press Release


Album release embraces a music movement designed to help listeners contemplate, reflect and heal

DETROIT, MI – Sankofa Mind + Body founder Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard has released the new album “The Journey:  Senegal,” a 9-song opus designed to help listeners achieve balance through sound-bathing and contemplation/meditation modalities painted atop soothing musical soundscapes.  A noted sound meditation practitioner, the genesis of the release began when Stevenson-Howard took his sound bathing meditation to the African country of Senegal.

“During the pandemic with things obviously shut down, I had to find a way to share my sound meditation,” he said.  “My Zoom sessions led to me making videos and sound recordings to share to a wider audience online.  (When the world opened back up) I was preparing for a trip to Senegal.  During this time, I contemplated making my sound meditation recordings better and got the idea of recording myself playing sound bowls in a recording studio.  When I got to Senegal, I heard an amazing musician and Kora player named El Hadji Sora who introduced me to a vocalist (Sona) and musician/percussionist Kadhim Bhadji.  After some inspiring conversations grounded in music and history, we began to strategically plan on recording songs, which set the tone for everything that flowed from that.”

After holding multiple recording sessions in both Dakar, Senegal and Detroit, the album took shape, employing innovative audio techniques that created a complete total sound immersion.

“I ended up working with a studio engineer (Steve Capp) who heard and felt my vision,” said Stevenson-Howard.  “When recording, he arranged the audio in a spatial audio (surround sound), 3D audio configuration, which meant that every instrument had a microphone, and the magic happened from there.”

The album is another addition to the growing meditation-centric music movement.  Noted rapper, producer and artist Andre 3000 (aka Andre Benjamin of OutKast) recently released a critically-acclaimed meditation album (New Blue Sun) that has garnered a global buzz and put a spotlight on the emergent meditation music genre.   Stevenson-Howard sees his masterwork as a bookend that fits nicely into the genre’s framework.


“As soon as I heard Andre 3000’s album, I couldn’t stop listening,” he said.  “As a sound meditation facilitator, I hear and feel the sound as I do it. But sometimes I need to hear it from other artists with similar sensibilities. So having Andre 3000 and artists like Jhene Aiko (who has recently been releasing meditation music) enter this realm is beautiful to me. It shows that in black spaces there are alternative ways to think, to create, to heal and feel safe doing that.  I think that it’s a beautiful bridge to walk across, and hopefully others will cross that bridge.  We are pied pipers of peace.  We’re leading you to peace by having you slow down, and to know that rest is resistance.  I feel that these messages, these songs allow us to think, to breathe, to reflect, to grow.”

Peace, growth, healing, intention, harnessing one’s thoughts, communal engagement, protection and uplift, mental health and clarity are some of the many themes that populate the nine-track music epoch.  The incorporation of worldly instrumentation (kora, djembe, sound bowls, gong, etc.), multiple languages, elemental flourishes that mimic internal bodily functions (heartbeat) and atmospheric cycles (oceanic movements), melodic poly-rhythms and elegant sound painting further accentuate the recording as a fully-immersive aural listening experience that settles the mind, a journey that Stevenson-Howard rolls out to listeners as a tool kit that facilitates wellness.

“I don’t call myself a healer or anything of that nature,” he said.  “I am a facilitator who comes equipped with tools to help listeners/practitioners expand their minds and open their hearts to heal.  This is a 9-piece (9-song) tool kit that shares musical parables and tools for soothing, energy and change.  It’s a journey that guides listeners to self-awareness, self-love, and trust in themselves to manifest what they need (in life).  It’s a whole vibe that soothes and nurtures, much like a gentle lullaby.”

The release of “The Journey: Senegal” represents a full-circle moment for Stevenson-Howard as he has been steadily expanding his scope since undertaking sound meditation.  A noted photographer and visual artist, he gained notoriety for his “The Couch Beautiful: An Exploration of Beautiful Black Women,” a curated photographic gallery of women musicians, artists and community activists.  His sound meditation and yoga sessions have taken him around the world and empowered him to share relaxing musically contemplative sound techniques that bring stress and anxiety reduction to numerous practitioners as well as various corporate groups.  His extensive travels around the world, most notably to the African continent has helped him cultivate a reputation as a top-tier global excursionist and cultural ambassador.

Due to the meditative nature of the album, it won’t receive the traditional treatment of concert performances as a means of promotion.  Rather, Stevenson-Howard’s sound meditation sessions will be tantamount to concert performance vignettes while filling a vital communal need.

“I travel a lot,” he said. “I’m always on an airplane, or train and bus. My own sound recordings helped me to journal and helped me to plan and forecast. I hope that it will be an access point to awakenings that need to occur to enable others to live an abundant life.  With all the social, economic and political unrest in the world, this movement is so needed. We need that reassuring hug from the Motherland.  This is my hug to those people. Africa does love you. Africa has always loved you. Africa is love.”

Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard is a Detroit, Michigan-based sound meditation facilitator who has practiced various forms of meditation and yoga. Upon being introduced to sound vibration as a vehicle for balance and wellness, he has remained committed to sharing the practice as a community service to assist people in implementing sound centered tools to foster relaxation of the mind and body.  In addition to Stevenson-Howard’s passion for sound meditation, he is an avid world traveler and global excursionist and an award-winning visual artist and graphic designer who has been telling stories through photography for many years and whose work has been seen in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and various other national media.

Sankofa Mind + Body was launched in 2019 as a Detroit-based sound meditation and yoga-centric organization that promotes creating blissful sonic menageries that are the catalyst for wellness and self-healing.

NOW AVAILABLE ON: Band Camp, Apple Music, Spotify


Get Into the Music | Album Liner Notes


01 – Ancestor Awakening
02 – Toria
03 – Bambara

04 – Astral
05 – Intentions
06 – From Within

07 – Peace onto You
08 – Expansions
09 – Griot Call

Channeling the resplendent beauty of Senegal through the healing journey of artist Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard

“I have discovered in life that there are ways of getting almost anywhere you want to go if you really want to go.” – Langston Hughes

Breathing without anxiety or stress is a revolutionary act, especially for a black man.   And for visual artist Tafari K. Stevenson-Howard, the act of breathing and of simply just BEING has been a lifelong journey –  a clarion call to forge a path of self-realization that has taken him from corporate worker bee, to sound meditation practitioner and culminating in the release of an album that not only adds recording artist to his moniker, but also directly speaks to an ever-growing movement in black culture – the embrace of self-care. 

Awakenings have been a consistent theme for Stevenson-Howard. While working in corporate America in the early 2000s, he got into photography and graphic design, an artform and discipline that tapped into his natural skillsets and abilities.   Before long he was a “go-to” photographer for noted fashion shows (New York Fashion Week), concerts and music showcases, magazine and national newspaper editorial shoots (New York Times, LA Times, etc.).  

He would go on to curate the acclaimed “The Couch Beautiful: An Exploration of Beautiful Black Women” series, a photographic exhibit and gallery spotlighting renowned black women musicians, artists, and community activists. After suffering from mental exhaustion in his corporate job, Stevenson-Howard needed healing and would have an awakening while being introduced to the world of sound healing by indigenous practitioners while traveling in Bahia, Brazil.  

He would master the practice of sound bowl meditation, which involved the use of vibrational tools as a vehicle for well-being and balance and become an in-demand practitioner sharing his applied techniques with numerous clientele and corporate groups. 


The pandemic would force the world indoors, prompting Stevenson-Howard to look for new ways to share his sound meditation techniques through a series of Zoom hosting sessions, which led him to making video and sound recordings to share with a wider audience.  He would begin to travel to the continent of Africa frequently during this time, with each visit becoming more connected to the Motherland.  Stevenson-Howard traveled to Senegal for the first time in September, 2022 and this trip would move him to become enraptured by the peaceful country, enthralled by its music, beauty, storytelling, and hospitality. Inspired by its fantastic beaches, extraordinary tropical forests, magnificent Sahara Desert and rich history, he would meet a collective of artists and community of collaborators who jumped at the idea of collaborating with him on his sound bowl recordings.  

After some strategic planning and execution, collaborative recordings would take place in Senegal and Detroit and employ top-tier Senegalese musical artisans such as Kora player El Hadji Sora, Djembe player Khadim Badji and vocalist Sona Sanko. From those sessions would come the 9-song album “The Journey:  Senegal.”  


“The Journey: Senegal” is the full manifestation of Stevenson-Howard’s musical healing journey, the album meditations collectively chart a path of self-realization, the titles serving effectively as chapter headings to a story of how this sound meditation practitioner evolved into a music and healing visionary, becoming a beacon of enlightenment for others.  

The album opens with “Ancestor Awakening,” [track 1], a warm inspirational call to rest.  It’s an opening salvo that sets the tone for the entire album and is an affirmation to calm one’s spirit and soul through the warm, nurturing spirit of the African diaspora.  It is essentially a nurturing hug from Africa, much like a mother’s nurturing hug of her young.  “Toria” [track 2] is a dedication to Stevenson-Howard’s late, longtime friend Toria Martin who succumbed to cancer.  He received word of her passing while he was in Senegal, on Goree Island at the House of Slaves.  The song functions as a celebration of her life, light, and elevated humanity throughout her ordeal.  

The third song “Bambara” [track 3] is a powerful awakening tool in Stevenson-Howard’s sound meditation tool kit that affirms peaceful living with knowledge and being there for your literal and figurative brothers and sisters.  The song leads with gentle organic drums that symbolize the opening of the heart and suggests that one must look to the past to chart their present and future.  The drums function as a soothsayer, mimicking the sounds and rhythm of a heartbeat equipping the listener to embrace the drums as a tool of energy, change and resistance.  

“Astral” [track 4] takes inspirational cues from Pharoah Sander’s “Astral Traveling” and is an afro futurist’s meditation centered on manifestation through the transportation through time and space. Heavy on gong and heavy on sound bowls, the meditation suggests that to create happy spaces for oneself, you must get out of your body in order to forge deeper into your mind to go to places that are safe.  If there are no safe spaces for black bodies on the earthly plane, happy memories and good times may exist elsewhere where time and space are malleable.  There are hints of astral traveling and body projection as the track takes the listener to spaces that range from the cosmic to the deeply internal.  

“Intentions” [track 5] is an empowerment tome set inside a reflective space that is centered on creating and maintaining mindfulness and intentionality.  It is a power to be harnessed with the overarching message that before manifestation, there is intention.  The sound bowls in this track take on a penetrating aural hue, piercing all the way to the marrow.  It’s a whirling cacophony of sound, a space where goals, dreams, and passions are interpolated around a manifestation mindset.  What do you want? How do you acquire those wants?  What is blocking their acquisition? This is a song of formulation, purposeful action, and strategic intent.  It empowers listeners to state / claim / reclaim achievable goals and desires by realizing that intent is a frequency to be tapped into.  

“From Within” [track 6] is a full aural display of Senegal spoken in the Wolof language, the meditation is a reflection of the profound faith of the Senegalese people and is an incantation for universal peace.  

“Peace Onto You” [track 7] is a call to go back to the basics of loving your neighbor, protecting your community, preserving and empowering children.  This is a meditational torch song that evokes images of beautiful Kora playing around an open fire and is grounded in the communal peace and prosperity of the family unit.  A peace that can only be attained through a change of environment preceded by a change in mindset.  The peaceful mindset is articulated by the Wolof lyrical refrain of “peace is what we wish, and peace should be wished.”

“Expansions” [track 8] is wholly inspired by a deep house track by electronic artist Scott Grooves featuring jazz and R & B icon Roy Ayers, which was a reimagining of the classic Lonnie Liston Smith tune.  It is a jazz/house reference and a metaphor to expand your mind and heart while trusting yourself to maintain your path to wellness, abundance, and self-awareness.  The heart, third eye and crown chakra meditation makes copious use of elemental ambient tools and features Stevenson-Howard’s voice ruminating on getting in touch with our inner-divinity so as to embrace a rested future, a black future.  

“A Griot’s Call” [track 9], is an awakening to hear the call of the past.  The instrumentation featured on the meditation transports listeners through the last 200-300 years of Senegalese history as the listener is invited to be transfixed by the journey.  


At its core, ‘The Journey: Senegal” enjoys an intriguing duality – it gives aural snapshots of Senegal while also serving as a pathway to empower listeners through meditational methodologies.  It stands at the far end of the continuum of “no songs, just vibes.”  But is it a meditation album?  Is it an Afrofuturist work?  Is it spiritual or New Age?  And the answer is yes – it is all that and MORE!

It’s a subtle yet daring masterwork approach grounded in Senegalese musical traditions and is a very digestible album with instruments that sound gorgeous, intentional, and simultaneous on purpose and by accident, all while accompanying inner journeys.  With flickering Kora sounds, majestic sweeps of chimes, and sublime crescendos, it evokes a feeling of reflective awe while functioning as part of a practice that enhances mental health, stability, and centeredness.  

This is a departure album in every sense of the word and is part of an emerging music and meditation movement fostered by artists who have recently released similar works such as Andre 3000 (New Blue Sun), or Jhene Aiko (Chilombo).  

As the world opens back up (post-Covid global pandemic), there has been a re-emergence of cultural awareness and uprising as people embrace themes of empowerment with a view to expressing the full range of black power and pride – pride in looking black, sounding black and feeling black.  

These sensibilities have manifested themselves in Stevenson-Howard’s aesthetic as his practice has taken him around the world as an avid global traveler, an award-winning visual artist and most recently in his crowning as a Hausa tribal chief in Nima-Accra, Ghana.  

“The Journey:  Senegal” is very much a product of Stevenson-Howard’s life work as it is an audio postcard from Senegal that draws from overlapping modalities that explore the intersection of the journey to the inner “you,” while healing the mind, body and spirit, one soul at a time.  

If breathing without anxiety or stress in black bodies is a revolutionary act, then Stevenson-Howard is a revolutionary warrior of the highest order and this album is where the revolution begins, when you press play.   

– Chris Campbell, 2023


Before leaving Dakar, Senegal in March of this year, my friends, Sona, Elhadji, & Khadim gave me a big hug by way of song with this version of Miniyamba. The experience working with them all during the creation of my meditation album has been such a smooth, beautiful and enriching learning experience.

I am so thankful for them & their work to make this vision come to life.


Steve Capp

Elhadji Sora

54 Sound Studio

Kai Alce

Maurice “Pirahnahead” Herd

Nonzwakazi Hill

Stella Stevenson

Sona Sanko

Kevicha Echols PhD.


Chris Campbell

Olivia Stevenson-Howard

Amelia Stevenson-Howard

Dahia Shabaka

Khadim Badji

Essie Stevenson

Robert Howard

Lauren Hood

Nana Amoako

N’namdi Gallery Detroit