Just a few members of our nation-wide team! From West African to home-grown talent, our experienced percussionists all have extensive facilitation and performance experience.

Simon Fraser

Director

Simon has been drumming his heart out all his life. Starting with plastic drum-kits and pots n pans as a kid and then graduating to a drum kit, he’s played many styles of music and found his passion in West African rhythms. Annual trips to West Africa since the mid 1990’s have seen him collaborate with some of the regions’ great percussionists. Simon returns to the region every year in search of new music, running a Tour to Africa. His love and knowledge of rhythm translates to his teaching where he focuses on tapping into your creativity, dexterity, honoring tradition and having fun.

Boubacar Gaye

Teacher

Bouba first laid his hands on a drum in Senegal at the budding age of 14. Inspired by the musical mentors around him he became a member of the infamous Mama Afrika. Under the guidance of ballet professor Joseph-Raphael Bouschanzl, Bouba’s skills and passion grew quickly and soon he was also a member of the renowned Foret Sacre Ballet. In 1997 Bouba ventured to Europe and then onto Japan where he established himself as a leading African percussionists. With an energy and peace of mind that resonates from deep within – Bouba speaks a thousand words with his drum.

Shabba

Teacher

Shabba is a professional dancer from Ghana, whose styles include Traditional, Contemporary, Comedy, Acrobatics, RnB and Hip Hop. He is a member of both Asanti Dance Theatre (VIC) and African Footprints (Ghana) and has performed and facilitated workshops in African dance throughout Europe. Now based in Melbourne, Shabba brings a character and energy to his teaching that is infectious to his audience. He specialises in school and community workshops and has gained an excellent reputation working with children.
kofi

Kofi Kunkpe

Teacher

Kofi Kunkpe is an Ewe master drummer from the Volta Region of Ghana. He is passionate about traditional culture and helping to improve the lives of the people of Ghana. After early studies in Nigeria he travelled throughout Ghana and Burkina Faso, promoting, performing and teaching Ghana’s traditional dance and drumming forms. Since then, Kofi has performed and taught with many local and international companies in America, Africa & Australia. His teaching extends to working with disadvantaged children and he regularly teaches drumming, dance and flute in local schools in the Cape Coast region. He is now based in the Yarra Valley in Warburton.

Brianna Slattery

Teacher

After 10 years of playing the piano, Brianna bought her first djembe at the age of 18 – and promptly fell in love with African drumming! This sparked an interest in all things percussive, which in turn led her to participate in African drumming, Brazilian percussion and body percussion workshops; become a facilitator of a drumming intervention/wellbeing program; and complete the L1, L2, & L3 facilitator training with African Drumming. As a primary school teacher, Brianna has been teaching drumming to school students for the past seven years. She is passionate about the use of the drum as a teaching tool, and is currently completing a Masters thesis on drumming and student engagement. Brianna believes that being a member of a drumming community has far reaching-benefits, including: enhancing musicality, building relationships, boosting confidence and improving general well being.

David Hickey

Teacher

Dave has been studying and performing west African percussion for the past 6 years.

After discovering a drum circle in St.kilda on his first week in Australia, he was drawn to the sound of the Djembe and the obsession began!

Dave studied with traditional masters in Ghana in 2010 and continued his apprenticeship in Australia under the guidance of Simon Fraser, Mady Keita, Boubacar Gaye and Jeremy Prentice. Dave performs regularly in Oz and Ireland incorporating his love of African beats into myriad genres of music. He always brings his Irish charm, warmth and a sense of humor to his classes whilst still respecting the traditions and history of its origins.

Appiah Annan

Dance Teacher

Appiah Annan, is a rare talent originating from Ghana, West Africa. His diverse practice spans many forms of dance including traditional African, contemporary, freestyle, hip hop and acrobatics, along with his impressive skills as a master drummer using both stick and hand drums. Appiah maintains a strong connection to community and devotes a lot of his time to working within a range of sectors including performing and operating workshops for youth, the elderly and disadvantaged. Having studied Community Cultural Development at the Victorian College of the Arts, he aims to use the arts to encourage respect, togetherness and understanding among all members of our diverse society. Join Appiah's BoomSa class here

Gabriel Otu

Teacher

Residing in Brisbane since 2008, Gabriel Otu has been performing traditional Ghanaian and West African drum and dance since the age of 15.
A dynamic master dance and drum performer , he presents a powerful & traditional West African music, dance, storytelling & cultural package.

His Kinder and School workshops foster acceptance & learning within a fun and inclusive environment.

Gabriel has performed numerous venues across Oz, including The Woodford Folk Festival, The Roma Street Multi Cultural Festival, The African Day Festival & Dream World.

Laura Kirkwood

Teacher

Laura has been studying percussion for over 12 years, touring and recording with various bands ranging from jazz to ska. Following the beat of her own drum, she attended African Drumming’s 2013 tour to West Africa, studying with Master drummers in Ghana and Burkina Faso. She became fascinated in how music is central to the flow of life, igniting an interest to study different cultures music. After completing African Drumming’s Teacher Training Course, Laura had the opportunity to teach workshops across Australia, and began teaching her own music therapy classes in Brisbane. Having studied Latin music at the University of Florida, she has since been accepted into postgraduate studies in ethnomusicology at the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in 2017. Laura believes that music can transcend language barriers and is sometimes a language of its own.
sackey

Julius Bright Sackey

Teacher

Born and raised in Cape Coast, Ghana, Sackey started dancing at a very young age with “Work Dancers” where he specialised in hip hop and free style dance. After two years he joined a traditional African group and found his way to “Agoro Theatre Company” before co-founding “Asanti Dance Theatre” where he is the assistant artistic director. Sackey has travelled to the UK with several Ghanaian dance theatres, performing and teaching traditional and contemporary dance. Now based in Melbourne, he continues to amaze audiences with his expressive and fluid style.

Daniela Schillaci

Teacher

Daniela has held a passion for West African music and culture since 2008. Earning the nickname Dun Dun Dan, she has trained intensively on duns with Simon Fraser, Boubacar Gaye, Simon Lewis and drum-kit player Samantha Arthur.
In Dec 2013 Daniela joined Simon Fraser’s Rhythm Power drum and study intensive to Ghana and Burkina Faso where she trained under Griots Sekou Coulibaly and Adama Koueta. Daniela continues to travel to Burkina Faso where she has since started her “Griot Vision” project, schooling children from the Coulibaly and Koueta families. She continues to immerse herself in the West African culture and music with dance, dun, balafon and percussion training. Daniela is always excited to share all that she has learned!

Mohamed Camara

Teacher

Mohamed Camara has been performing and teaching traditional Guinean percussion for over a decade. Former djembe soloist for internationally-renowned Guinean ensembles Ballet Destin, Ballet Bolonta and Les Sorciers de Guinée, Mohamed has studied and performed with master drummers Aliou Sylla, Fadouba Oularé, and Miriam Makeba’s percussionist Papa Kouyaté.
Capoeira teacher

Bruno De Moura Floriano

Teacher

Bruno “Ginga” De Moura Floriano is is our resident drum maker by day and Treinel of Capoeira by night!

After surviving the sternest of 2 year apprenticeships with the Grand Master of drum makers Mady Keita, Bruno has flourished into an accomplished craftsman in his own right. A highly organized dude, he is patient and sensitive to the nuances of drum making. Ginga has been producing drums full time for 6 years now, predominantly crafting djembes and duns but also working with Persian, American Indian, South American and East African drums.

His journey in Capoeira Angola began in 1990, training with Mestre Celso da Rainha in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After years of study and practice, Ginga graduated as a Teacher of Capoeira and in 2007 he received the title of Treinel from Mestre Mano

Bruno is always in store so drop in and say hello, he is happy to share his skills and knowledge. You’re also welcome to book him for a drum making workshop

Djulz Chambers

Teacher

Djulz began studying and performing West African percussion in Melbourne several years ago. She has travelled West Africa extensively, studying with master drummers and musicians in Mali, Ghana and Burkina Faso. Based in Melbourne, Djulz continues to study and perform with some of Melbourne’s most renown artists in the field including Mady Keita, Bouba Gaye, Sayon Souare and Simon Fraser. Her great love of the djembe and of African culture exudes an infectious energy and creates a fun learning environment in her classes.In Dec 2013 Daniela joined Simon Fraser’s Rhythm Power drum and study intensive to Ghana and Burkina Faso where she trained under Griots Sekou Coulibaly and Adama Koueta. Daniela continues to travel to Burkina Faso where she has since started her “Griot Vision” project, schooling children from the Coulibaly and Koueta families. She continues to immerse herself in the West African culture and music with dance, dun, balafon and percussion training. Daniela is always excited to share all that she has learned!

Jessica May

Teacher

Whether Jess is playing the djembe, duns, shaker or bell, she feels happiness inside that is indescribable. Having started with drum kit lessons as a teenager, she discovered the djembe years later and was quickly hooked – starting a new chapter in her life.
Her positive and supportive attitude is one of her many qualities as a teacher with both children and adults.
kosta drum teacher

Kosta Michalopoulos

Teacher

Kosta started his drumming journey in 2005 and ever since West African music and culture has become part of his life. He was an invaluable member of performance groups such as Purpledog Rhythms, Jakmani, and Wassawumba. He has studied under some of the best teachers in Melbourne such as Mady Keita, Boubacar Gaye, Sayon Souare, Simon Fraser and Simon Lewis. Kosta is a very dedicated and patient teacher with a renowned love for the ancient traditions of the djembe.

Emmanuel Aryeetey

Teacher

Emmanuel is a drummer and dancer from Ghana. He has performed with many ensembles of various styles: brass bands, traditional west African drums and more. Since moving to Australia, Emmanuel especially enjoyed performing with African groups and teaching children at juvenile justice centres. Emmanuel’s style of teaching is calm and quiet, taking his time to ensure each student has an understanding of what they are doing before moving forward. He believes that music, drumming and dancing are medicine, and his passion is evident in his performances and workshops.

Nil Bortey

Teacher

Born and raised in Nungua in greater Accra, Ghana, Nii Bortey is a talented and charismatic percussionist. Like many African performance artists, Nii grew up surrounded by music, and has been drumming ever since he could hold a stick! A popular member of the electric and experienced African Drumming team, Nii has a passion for sharing the culture, music, song and dance of West African culture. He regularly runs African Drumming school sessions and programmes, drumming parties and uplifting workshops.

Kofi Nortey

Teacher

Kofi Nortey is a Melbourne based performing artist and musician. With a career in the performing arts that spans over 30 years, Kofi has been formally trained in contemporary dance and a wide range of traditional African dance styles. His choreography and musical arrangements focus on the melding of old and new which gives his work a unique and dynamic edge. Well known throughout West Africa, Kofi is also a skilled singer, drummer, songwriter and dramatist who has made a valuable contribution to the Arts in his homeland, Ghana. He continues to build a name for himself on the Australian performing arts scene.

Henry Nii Otu Laryea

Teacher


Henry is Wala’s Master drummer and percussionist from Ghana. Henry descends from a talented family of drummers, dancers and musicians and became an apprentice to his Master drummer at the age of 11. He keeps alive the traditional West African rhythms and adds rich vocal harmonies to performances. During his career, his ensembles toured across West Africa, France, and Italy, where they featured at festivals in Catania and Canicatti.

Immanuel Dreessens-Owusu

Teacher

Immy is a multi-instrumentalist music maker who comes from a great line of professional performers and teachers. At the age of 3 he directed his first African Drumming workshop at the Warrnambool Fun 4 Kids Festival.
As an adolescent he spent a great deal of time in his father’s homeland Ghana learning traditional and contemporary drum and dance.
After spending his teenage years playing in rock bands and eager to reconnect with his African roots, he travelled back to Ghana in 2016 to study music with his grandfather Koo Nimo, a well renowned Afro-folk musician.
He is best known for his work drumming with indigenous artist Yirrmal and performing with his own solo band under the name “Immy Owusu.”

Bassidi

Teacher

Bassidi is of Bwa ethnicity from the Segou region in Mali. Born into a Griot family, Bassidi grew up beside his father’s bala (the balafon, a traditional wooden xylophone), instilling in him, his forefather’s traditional village rhythms and songs. From a young age, Bassidi carried on his family’s musical heritage, showing promising skill in both the bala and djembe. After moving to Bamako at thirteen, Bassidi met Koninba Bagayogo, a meeting that profoundly influenced his musical career as a percussionist. Playing alongside this master djembe player, the young Bassidi extended his knowledge and skill, distinguishing himself through his innovating solo lead playing and technical virtuosity. Driven to defend his rich Bwa ethnicity, Bassidi formed his multi-instrumental percussion and dance troupe, Bwazan (‘Bwa children’) in 2005; a family group of brothers, sisters and cousins from the same line of Griots. Today, Bwazan are ambassadors of their musical heritage, promoting a message of peace, freedom, humility and solidarity.