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


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


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 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.
Ghanian performer

Odai Nmai


Odai Nmai comes from the vibrant musical township of Nungua on Accra’s outskirts.
A wonderful vocalist, Odai is a naturally gifted all round musician who is equally adept on flute as he is on a range of hand and stick percussion. To watch Odai perform is to watch pure joy and positive energy in flow. His teaching style reflects his generous nature and always has its roots embedded in his Ghanaian cultural background.
professional development online

Brianna Slattery


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.
Online Community Classes. Online Djembe lessons for Beginner and Intermediate students.

Michael Naudé


Born in Zimbabwe, Mike began his musical life with the rhythms of Southern Africa, practicing a variety of musical disciplines since 1998.
In 2015 his passion drifted westward to discover the djembe, and intensified when he moved to Melbourne and continued his learning under Simon Fraser and Bassidi Koné. He regularly performs with fiery ensemble Dunu Teké and spends his practice time developing his understanding of West African rhythm. He believes that music is inside each of us - it's just a matter of learning how to speak its language.

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


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


Laura has been studying percussion for over 15 years and is a highly sought after musician that frequently plays gigs in Melbourne and tours nationally with various bands. Laura 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 in West Africa, igniting an interest to study different cultures music.
Laura teaches percussion in schools across Victoria and has been drawn to teaching music therapy classes. She teaches community drumming classes, African Drumming’s Teacher Training courses and has been a frequent guest teacher at African Drumming’s drum retreats. Laura enjoys creating a fun learning environment in her classes whilst keeping to and respecting the traditional rhythms of West Africa and the origins of the music.


Julius Bright Sackey


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


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


Originally from Guinea, Mohamed’s beautiful nature, infectious smile and skill as a performer has led him to become a favourite among young children and students. He is a wonderful drummer and kora player and can be found performing all over Melbourne.
Capoeira teacher

Bruno De Moura Floriano


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

Valanga Khoza


Valanga Khoza is a consummate storyteller and musician, shaping tales of his life into captivating presentations.

Valanga was born in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. He grew up in a traditional setting surrounded by lively singing, drumming and dancing. The Limpopo area is rich in traditional healers, orators and storytellers, highly respected throughout Africa. These were his neighbours. Their nightly ceremonies carried songs and rhythms passed down through thousands of years. Valanga carries these influences through his songs and storytelling.

He is also influenced by his travels throughout the world which were driven by his struggle against racism and his fight for freedom of the black people in South Africa.

Jessica May


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.

Djulz Chambers


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!

K. Nortey


Kofi Nortey is a Melbourne based performing artist and musician. With a career in the performing arts that spans over 30 years, K. Nortey 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, K.Nortey 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.

Emmanuel Aryeetey


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


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.

Bassidi Koné


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.



Abli is Wala’s Master drummer, percussionist, and drum maker 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. Abli is also an incredible drum maker who can bring any kind of drum back to life. He also runs our drum making workshops

Immanuel Dreessens-Owusu


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.”

David Hickey


Dave has been studying and performing West African percussion for the past 12 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 Bassidi Kone. 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.