Based in Devon, Shumba Arts is a collaboration between experienced workshop facilitators Allan Kerr, Denise Rowe and Bella Lilley.
Allan has lived, studied and travelled extensively in The Gambia,
Senegal, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau as well as gaining a 1st
honours degree in Ethnomusicology from the School of Oriental and
African studies, University of London. After learning drum kit as a
child, he became interested in group drumming and has experience in
many styles and traditions including West African Djembe, Talking
drum, Afro-Cuban and Samba percussion. His latest interest is in the
Shona Mbira music of Zimbabwe.
Allan is passionate about creating a hands-on musical experience for people of all ages and backgrounds. Using traditional and contemporary rhythms, Allan utilises body percussion, vocals and story telling to bring out the music that is in everyone. He has been teaching and facilitating workshops for over 15 years with Drum Taka Boom and also performs with a range of bands including Ombiviolum and Dakar Audio Club. A sensitive and laid back teacher and performer, Allan will bring the magic of rhythm and music into your day.
Denise Rowe is a movement artist, choreographer, dancer, musician and creative producer who draws primarily from Pan-African dance
forms and non- stylised/environmental movement. She is passionate
about the essential role of music and dance in our wellbeing as human
Denise is associate lecturer at The University of Plymouth and
teaches regularly at Falmouth University and The Mhararano Mbira
Academy. She has over twelve years experience of leading dance and
movement workshops in schools, colleges, universities, dance
companies and community settings around the world. Denise runs an
extensive programme of workshops, classes and retreats including her annual Foot to Earth Dance Camp and the Earth Dances workshop programme.
Denise has trained in African dance in the UK, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Zimbabwe and with the Baka hunter gatherers in the Cameroonian rainforest. In 2006 Denise completed contemporary dance training. She is a student of Aikido and Shiatsu and has completed Helen Poynor’s Walk of Life movement training in non-stylized and environmental movement
Director of Tolo Ko Tolo Dance Company, Denise Rowe also performs with Spirit Talk Mbira, The Ombiviolum Orkestra and works as a solo artist on various cross-genre collaborative projects integrating dance, music, performance art, digital media, visual art, poetry and installation.
Denise has recently been awarded a Trailblazers Champions fellowship by the Association of Dance of the African Diaspora in London in recognition of her contribution to the field of Dance of the African Diaspora.
Bella has been singing and drumming for nearly as long as she can
remember. Her passions are the songs and rhythms of West Africa and
Zimbabwe. She has a 1st honours degree in Ethnomusicology from
SOAS, has trained in The Gambia and Zimbabwe and can be heard
performing with Ombiviolum and Chartwell Dutiro.
Mother of two young girls and founder of Singing Sistas, world music
singing groups for mothers of pre-school children, Bella is passionate
about exposing children to high quality, multi-cultural musical
experiences. A sensitive and enthusiastic teacher, she has a wonderful
repertoire of songs from around the world, which she loves to share
with students of all ages.