Ryan Reardon- electric bass, vocals

Ryan fell in love with music at an early age, absorbing and collecting everything he could get his hands on.  First it was 80s rock, then hip hop, then 70s funk, then 90s alternative rock bands, on to Jaco, Miles’ electric bands, and eventually West African music.

But, it wasn’t until his studies at Fredonia State University and Ithaca College that Ryan really dove into studying West African music. In 2004, he was sponsored by Ithaca College to travel to Ghana to study with Bernard Woma, a master on djembe as well as the gyil, an African xylophone similar to the balafon.

After the Ghana trip, Ryan moved to Asheville, NC, and quickly formed the afrobeat ensemble Afromotive, who released one album in entitled Scare Tactics (Harmonized Records, 2007) which is still available on iTunes. Songs from that record were also featured on the compilation albums Rough Guide to Afrobeat Revolutionand Contemporary Afrobeat, released in Europe on CD and vinyl on Tramp Records. From 2005-2010, Afromotive toured throughout the U.S., playing festivals such as Bonnaroo, Forecastle Festival, Joshua Tree Music Festival, Bear Creek Music Festival, prestigious venues such as Tipitina’s, The Orange Peel, Cervante’s, 18th Street Lounge in DC, among others. A guest appearance by Erykah Badu in Knoxville, as well as a sit in by Jeff Coffin, put the band on the map as the Southeast’s biggest name in afrobeat. Afromotive also shared the stage with acts such as Rebirth Brass Band, Grupo Fantasma, Ghostland Observatory, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, and many more.

As Afromotive started taking time off, Ryan traveled to Mali and then to Ivory Coast with current Zansa frontman Adama Dembele to study at what is know as the House of Djembe, i.e. Adama’s home in Abobo, outside the city of Abidjan. Here, Adama and Ryan hashed out ideas for what is now Zansa. Ryan co-produced, along with Matt Williams, and co-mixed the debut record Djansa, which will be released on September 10, 2013, online and at select record stores.
Ryan plays electric bass with the Asheville-based Vertigo Jazz Project, who won best editing at Music Video Asheville 2013 for their video Dot Dash, written by Reardon.

He is also sits in with Zansa traditional side project Mande Foly, led by Dembele and Arouna Diarra, from Burkina Faso, on kamele ngoni and balafon.

Over the course of his professional music career Ryan has shared the live stage with Erykah Badu, Jeff Coffin, Roy “Futureman” Wooten, Kofi Burbridge, Ike Stubblefield, Jeff Sipe, Yonrico Scott, Count M’Butu, and Grant Green, Jr., to name a few.

Ryan is a teacher and assistant director at Asheville Music School, is available for bass, cello, violin, and viola lessons. Email