Facilitators


2017 Facilitators

We’re pleased to announce the 2017 facilitators! These teachers will share their knowledge and skills in drumming, dancing, singing and wellness.

Dede Alderman

Dede Alder

Dede Alder began her music studies in the fifth grade, as a member of her school’s band. Her interest in percussion led her to study ethnic and hand drumming. During high school at TC Central, she started her own percussion business, “Rhythmic Adventures.” Dede received her Associate’s Degree in Music at Northwestern Michigan College and later studied African Drum and Dance with Titos Sompa and Cheikh Thiam. She studied world percussion through Layne Redmond, Judy Piazza, the North American Frame Drum Association, and in Ireland and Hawaii. She has studied classical percussion with David Warne (Sun Radius Music), John Alfieri (Interlochen), and Gwendolyn Burgett Thrasher (MSU). She attended Interlochen’s adult band camp in 2006 and 2007 and has performed at Interlochen’s Korson Auditorium on several other occations. Dede has just added Drumset to her list of musical itinerary with a new teal blue Tama GrandStar.

Dede has attended workshops on Health Rhythms Empowerment Drumming, Facilitators Playshop Skill Training, and Drum Circle Music. She has played with many bands of different genres and is an experienced studio musician. Children and adults alike are continually delighted and mesmerized by her teaching and performance possibilities. Dede also has been developing her dance skills over the past years and is a talented dance performer in the styles of bellydance, tribal bellydance, partner, modern, and improv.

Phyllis Bethel

Phyllis Bethel

Phyllis Bethel was born in Harlem, New York, and found her way into the world of music through drumming and percussion. After earning her BA from Wesleyan University, she went on to study with various noted African and Latin percussionists before settling at the world-renowned Harbor School of the Performing Arts in East Harlem, New York. During her tenure there, she studied at the National School of Modern Dance and Folklore in Havana. She performed with several Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, and African folkloric groups, including Women of the Calabash, Retumba Con Pie, Obini Aché, and Riské. She founded the internationally known women’s percussion and vocal ensemble ASÉ and has recorded with Paul Simon (producer) on Edie Brickell’s “Picture Perfect Morning.” She is versed in pop, rock, gospel, and percussive styles and finds that accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists is some of her most rewarding creative endeavors.

Phyllis is a certified music therapist and professional member of the American Music Therapy Association. In addition to being a music therapist, Phyllis is a percussionist, performer, composer, and teacher. She joined the Music Conservatory’s music therapy faculty in 2000.

Phyllis has been teaching music to children in the New York City public schools as a teaching artist with ArtsConnection since 1992 and was the 2005 recipient of the Janklow Award for excellence in teaching. Her career as a music therapist began when she started teaching neurologically impaired individuals to drum. In 1997 she received a Masters in Music Therapy from New York University. The current focus of Phyllis’ practice is music therapy in educational settings with both typical and special needs learners as well as group homes settings. “I believe that music and music-making should be accessible to any and everyone regardless of ability and background.”.

Borden

Barbara Borden

Drummer, performer, composer and teacher Barbara Borden is a veteran of the San Francisco and women’s music scene. Her story is told in words and music in the documentary film Keeper of the Beat: A Woman’s Journey Into the Heart of Drumming, which showcases the unfolding of her identity from little girl in love with drumming to first-class percussionist who travels the world using music to strengthen and enliven the heartbeat of humanity. She has performed She Dares to Drum, her solo autobiographical “percussion play” co-created and directed by Naomi Newman (co-founder, Traveling Jewish Theatre) for 10 years to enthusiastic audiences and critical acclaim.

Borden has drummed and recorded with a variety of musicians, including Rhiannon, Suru Eke, Jennifer Berezan, Arthur Hull, Linda Tillery, and Babatunde Olatunje among others, and thrives on collaborations with artists and healers in a variety of disciplines—dancers, writers, poets, improv artists, storytellers and actors. Borden enjoys teaching and mentoring, facilitating drum circles and councils, workshops/clinics, and retreats around the country and teaches private and group lessons in drumkit, West African djembe, and ceremonial drumming in Marin County, CA. She continues to be deeply moved by the positive and joyous response to drumming and music and its ability to bring people together to share greater understanding, joy, and compassion..

Jean Brereton

Jean got her first drum in 1989. Living in rural Renfrew County, with no one to teach her how to play, Jean says: I felt I didn’t have much rhythm and was afraid of the drum. But I loved its sound and spirit, so I asked the drum to teach me. Jean has facilitated many recreational drum circles and workshops throughout the Upper Ottawa Valley and passionately believes that everyone has rhythm. She drums with children in area schools and camps as well as with seniors in long term care residences. Since 2005 she has been teaching courses on rhythm and drumming at Algonquin College in Pembroke, Ontario. Jean has drummed for “The Dances of Universal Peace” and with her community “Kirtan Group” (Sanskrit Chant) for many years..

B. Wahru Cleveland

B. “Wahru” Cleveland is considered an accomplished drummer on the Djembe, ashiko, bongos, congas, and dunun. She is the founder, director and leader of Sistah Ngoma, a professional multicultural women’s drum group, and the Columbus Community Drummers, a multicultural mixture of female and male drummers in Columbus, OH, and surrounding areas. She has presented many workshops and facilitated drum circles for the National Women’s Music FESTIVAL (NWMF) and other festivals for many years. Wahru started the National Women Music Festival Drum Chorus in 2003. She has performed with Ubaka Hill, Nurudafina Abena, Edwina Lee Tyler, Linda Thomas Jones, Balla Sy, and many others. She, with the assistance of Rani Quimba, continues to be the director of the National Women’s Music Festival Drum Chorus.

Susan Crowe

Susan Crowe, drummer, singer, ceremonialist, water pourer, pipe carrier, healer and intuitive, has been moved by spirit to take her gifts “to the people”. Twenty-three years of study with native elders from both North and South America have honed her natural talents.

Personal work and experience have sensitized her to the needs of other women. She now celebrates life by drumming and singing songs of spirit, love and compassion. Through these she honors the life of each woman she meets by celebrating their connection to the goddess within.

Janice Edgar

Janice’s healing journey on the ‘red road’ began in November 1996 at the Kumik, a traditional Anishnabe Lodge located at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s Head Office in Gatineau, following a mental breakthrough. She made her first Indigenous hand drum in 2007, at a workshop offered by Health Canada shortly after she began working as a Strategic Communications Officer with the federal department’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch and began learning the traditional songs and Teachings soon after. She has been a member of the Iskotew Lodge’s Peace Flame drum circle since August 2007.

She is committed to building bridges of understanding between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples and appreciates that as a Drum Carrier she has a unique opportunity to achieve this goal. She is grateful to all the Elders, mentors and teachers who have guided her on her healing journey and was honoured when Julie Vachon, the previous facilitator of the Indigenous Hand drumming workshop at the Ontario Womyn’s Drum Camp, asked if she would consider stepping in to the facilitation role this year when other commitments prevented Julie from participating.

Karen Egoff

Karen Egoff is an internationally respected Reiki Master, Teacher and Practitioner. In addition to the incredible Healing Energy she manifests through Reiki, she is also a very accomplished Cranial-Sacral Practitioner, a technique she incorporates into most of her Client’s Sessions, with Reiki.

In addition to Karen’s Energy Work, she has been Teaching and Practicing Yoga and Meditation for 25+ Years. She continues working with both of these modalities, including recently developing a Chakra Meditation Series covering the Seven Major Chakras.

Lori Fithian

Lori Fithian has been facilitating drum circles and leading workshops since 1998. She grew up in a musical family, starting out early banging on Tupperware as a toddler, tapping on 7-up bottles and an old set of bongos in family porch jams as a kid, playing the french horn in school – all before discovering the world of hand drumming and drum circling, around 1989.

A “folk” student of many different drum traditions: West African, Brazilian, Japanese, Cuban, Middle Eastern and more, she travels around Michigan with a van-load of all kinds of drums and percussion sharing her love for the universal groove that touches hearts and brings folks together in rhythm. She’ll try any musical instrument, and encourages others to get spontaneous, creative, silly and connected through music and all kinds of rhythmic expressions – drum, dance, voice, etc.

Jenn Foley

Jenn is crazy about the djembe! She believes that the djembe has an incredible power to heal, transform and energize, and she loves to share it with anyone who wants to learn. Jenn teaches kids and adults in all different settings – schools, camps, private classes, group classes, and even workshops in the workplace. She has taught private, semi-private and group lessons, as well as workshops at Deep River’s Art Camp and at schools in the Deep River area.

The first time she went to the Ontario Womyn’s Drum Camp she experienced the full energy that the djembe could give, and the sounds it could have when using West African technique…and she’s been hooked ever since. She bought a drum after her first day at camp, and even traveled to Guinea that winter to study at the source! Jenn loves to drum more and more every day, and jovially describes her relationship with the djembe as a “sickness”. That said, she is in no rush to cure her djembe fever!

Paula Gray

Paula Gray is an artist currently living in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Through Life Experience and a disquieting need to make sense of herself and others, Paula has stepped into a variety of roles including that of occasional country recluse. Over time, she has developed specific tools to help her make sense of the world including drumming, dancing, yoga, writing and art.

It was through her training as a Life Cycle Celebrant that she first became aware of the tangible effects of rituals and ceremonies as a means of focusing the intentions of deeply held beliefs. Through her work as a celebrant Paula has assisted in passages both happy and sad. She currently works with couples to create meaningful wedding ceremonies as well as with others coping with emotions surrounding death and grieving.

Suzanne Grigg

Being a high school Physical Education teacher in North Vancouver was a dream job, leading groups of teens up mountainsides to camp, swim and canoe, organizing week-long skiing adventures and running classes through local canyon trails. Designing the Dance Curriculum, which was adopted by the local and then provincial school board was another definite highlight in her teaching career.

Life brought Suzanne back to 5 acres of paradise in Southern Ontario, founding her business on site ‘FITNESS AND HEALING…as you like it’. She offers personal training, yoga and healing work and brings in interesting presenters on a variety of wellness and drumming related topics.

Suzanne began her journey in the healing arts in 1975, practicing meditation and drumming. This opened the door to energy and healing work, with Reiki and Reiki Drum Healing making for a beautiful connection with previous drumming experience.

The most recent project has just reached completion with the building of a beautiful Labyrinth, with a fire pit to it’s South, making it a wonderful place to hold drum circles and also the Peace Trail. For details of these projects, view www.fitnessandhealingstudio.com.

Caroll Halford

Caroll Halford CLMC, Crone, grandmother, mother, sacred circle dance facilitator and Lebed Method of Movement & Healing. Weaver of dance & ritual to help build and strengthen community, celebrate birth, death & all the many milestones in between. Caroll has facilitated SCD at Drum Camp, Dance Camp, Red Tent, many different spiritual gatherings and facilitates a weekly dance group in London. Dance has been her teacher and continues to provide her with gifts beyond measure.

The dances she will bring will add a richness to the everyday whether alone or in group gatherings. We will dance for community, for joy, for healing and for finding the quiet space in the center of our being as we honour the sacred both in ourselves and in each other.

Sheila Horrell

Sheila has been drumming for the last 30 years, ever since being introduced to the primal magic of the drum by master percussionist Ubaka Hill.

After studying percussion with various drummers here and internationally, she has been facilitating workshops and drum circles for many groups in Southwestern Ontario, including schools, universities, camps, nursing homes, conferences and agencies.

In addition to facilitating drumming, Sheila is also a member of percussion groups in London, including “The London Groove Collective”, and sings and plays with WomenSpiritSong choir and Joyful Noise choir. Sheila is a proud volunteer at My Sister’s Place, the Grand Theatre, the Women’s Circle at Brescia, and Heart-Links, a small London NGO which walks in solidarity with a community of women and children in the desert regions of Northern Peru.

Elizabeth Johnston

Elizabeth facilitates creative transformation through private coaching and a variety of seminars in writing, bodhran, and creativity and well-being. She helps people find their voices and tell their story so they can be who they were meant to be.

Elizabeth is a bodhran teacher, a certified autobiography instructor, and a professor. She also has a podcast, “Own Your Creativity,” where she interviews people from all walks of life about their relationship with creativity.

It was while watching an Irish film in 2002 that Elizabeth was introduced to the bodhran, then learned from a master bodhran maker and teacher. Since then, Elizabeth has played in local seisiúns, taught group and private lessons, played with a Celtic band in the Annual Montreal Irish Parades, and organized the first-ever Seisiúns Festival in Montreal.

Elisha MacMillan

Elisha MacMillan has worked with over 2000 women in the past 8 years using the sacred art of dance for empowerment, healing and manifestation. A business & life coach, sociologist, healer, intuitive, leader, international retreat facilitator, and lover of life & beauty, Elisha believes in the power of dance to manifest, heal, form community, and (re)connect us with our inner JOY!

She draws heavily from her experiences of living in Guinea, Mali and Ethiopia, while studying dance. Elisha has toured starring in Award-winning performances nationally & internationally during her career in African dance, and grew up studying classical dance forms.

In her business Manifest Dance (manifestdance.com), Elisha helps women tap into their fierce courage and wild pleasure, so they can manifest the life of their dreams. She teaches the art of unlocking sensuality, accessing embodied wisdom, and tapping into the flow of Woman-Power, using movement and dance.

Mahasti

Kathleen began dancing at age 4, with the usual ballet and tap and continued through college. After a break to have children, 13 years ago Kathleen attended a beginner’s belly dance class and fell in love with it. She decided to start formal training, and sought out classes and instructors that taught the classic Egyptian, as well as folkloric style. From there, Kathleen discovered American Tribal Style (ATS) and studied Carolena Nereccio of Fat Chance Belly Dance. Kathleen keeps current with both tribal and cabaret styles of belly dance through studying with master instructors such as Ranya Renee, Morocco, Dahlena, Elena Lentini, The Indigo, Zafira Dance Company and Ultra Gypsy as often as possible, and also conducts research of the history of Middle Eastern dance, music, and culture.

Kathleen first began performing with Folkloric Dance Studio. With two other womyn from that studio she formed Hip Chik Raks, a cabaret and ATS dance troupe. Today, Kathleen studies and performs with Kadri of Sol Vibes in Buffalo, New York. She is also one half of the belly dance duet Khyf.

Kathleen performs and studies all styles of belly dance from Classical Egyptian to World Fusion Tribal. She also enjoys performing and has a deep passion for African drumming and dance, Studying with masters like Ubaka Hill, Queen and Afia Walking Tree has done everything to enhance her appreciation of all dance and music.

Barb Pitcher

Barb Pitcher’s background as a percussionist extends more than 40 years and had studied with Master drummers Layne Redmond, Glen Velez, Arthur Hull, Ubaka Hill and many others. Barb shares her enthusiasm with all those who comes to circles and classes she facilitates. Her passion for creating community, teamwork, and fostering common unity through rhythm is to allow everyone, regardless of ability, to experience the powerful, diverse rhythmic culture created when we drum together.

This ancient instrument was used in life’s rites and rituals by our ancestral Mothers. The tambourine combines the ancient instruments of sistrum and frame drum. The metal sounds of the jingles have been used in many cultures for the purification and energy raining. The four basic strokes played on this drum are related to the elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth and connect with the energy chakras centers in the body.

Queen

Queen is a visionary and holds sacred ancestral traditions while channeling Nu and tangible ways to apply these birth rites to our daily lives. She is creatress of ancestor’s daughters and ongoing young women’s rite of passage community empowerment movement, since 1999, located in Long Beach, California. This community movement encourages awareness of our oneness with all that is, self-empowerment and an inner knowing that we are infinite possibilities.

Queen teaches Nu Traditional Afrikan Dance Movement. She is visionary to a combination of ancient ancestral movements and modern concepts that fill each movement with intentions of physical, emotional balance and well being whereby self-empowerment via self expression unfolds harmony and the desired state of being.

Caru Thompson

Caru Thompson, Shekere Master, teaches and instructs Shekere/Bell/Performance workshops in Ontario, Quebec, the USA, and abroad (including England, Trinidad, and Barbados). She is a member of ASE (Ah-Shay) and Women Of The Calabash, and performs solo and with other internationally known musicians/entertainers. Recording credits include ASE, Ubaka Hill, and Motown artists. Film credits include academy award winning Black Is…Black Ain’t, Marlon Riggs, Prod/Dir., A Litany For Survival: The Life & Work of Audre Lorde.

A percussionist with a versatile ear, Caru has co-composed for Liturgical Dance at the NY Theological Seminary and established and directed a folkoric performance group of Senior Women (The Shekerettes).

Known as Shekere Queen of the Top Hand, Caru writes and performs poetry and storytelling and is the Keeper of Traditions through the Word. Caru sees Music as the universal language and uses it as a healing and empowerment tool. She facilitates workshops for Pre-school through Senior adults. Caru is writing “The Gourd Stories”.

As a social worker, her clients are people in Harlem, New York with HIV and AIDS, who have been chronically homeless.

Catherine Veilleux

Catherine teaches the art of djembe, its tradition and culture. Teacher and artist, her djembe workshops are both authentic and challenging, bringing the fun and the passion up!

Catherine holds a university degree in education and was a teacher for twelve years. She learned West-African percussion and dance from different master drummers in Canada, the United-States and Guinea West-Africa and she has taught West-African percussion since 2005.

From 2002 to 2009, Catherine was a founder, artistic director and artist for Yayé. She is also a co-founder and djembe soloist for Cobra du Mandingue, a professionnal drum and dance company since 2009. She produces and plays as a soloist at the Djembe d’or concert which brings together Cobra du Mandingue and master drummers and dancers. She is the only woman soloist among the masters.

Catherine works with several local and international musicians and contributes to the development of the African dance and drum community in the Ottawa area through her teaching, performances and activities organized during the year but her real strength lies in the workshops she teaches as she combines her teaching experience to her passionate artistic side to offer a unique experience of the Guinean percussion world!

Afia Walking Tree

DRUM is EARTH medicine, and one of our greatest allies in these times of great upheaval and renewal. Using the drum as a vehicle, we invite earth vibrations into our body temples. The DRUM serves as transformational guide, companion, and activator. Ancient Afrakan cultures were/are grounded in these prime principles and gave enslaved Afrakans wings through much grief, violence and oppression. We NEED these drums again in our midst and women are finding our voices through these ancient rhythms and expressions that are transforming our communication of an empowered voice, we MUST share it with our African brothers and sisters so the gift comes full circle.

Afia Walking Tree, M.Ed. Jamaican-born and raised, internationally acclaimed percussionist and visionary facilitator. Afia blends her love for both earth and drum into sustainable life-art practices. Her work is dedicated to authentic edutainment performances, lectures, coaching, and permaculture garden and landscape designs. Afia is an adjunct professor at Holy Names University, California Institute for Integral Studies, and Sophia University.

I am grateful to be joined by Larissa Montfort and Mar Stevens (http://www.sistahsofthedrums.org), who have been sharing the MA Ajuba Nana Buruku Drum Legacy with me for many years in California, first as students, drum activists, apprentices, and now sharing the medicine in communities of their own, spreading this joyous medicine.

JOIN OUR DRUM MOBILE CAMPAIGN to bring Sustainable Transformations though Drumming & Permaculture to low income families!

Join me online at www.afiawalkingtree.com, www.facebook.com/afiawalkingtree and www.youtube.com/afiawalkingtree.

Pele Yemaya

Pele Yemaya was formally trained in piano at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago Illinois from age 6-16. Beethoven soon became Boogie. In 1990, the tragic loss of her sister first made her give up on music. However, time passed and she was quietly led to the path of the drum. Unknowingly she let go of her thinking of never playing another note again, and learned to say “never say never”. Pele found herself intrigued with the rhythms of Ubaka Hill at Michfest in 1993, and this began her path with the drum with the 1st Drumsong Orchestra.

Over the last 21 years, Pele has studied with Ubaka Hill, Linda Thomas Jones, Edwinda Lee Tyler, Fatu , Deb Mc Gee (Ase’), Paloma (Repercussions), and Afia Walking Tree. She has had the pleasure of being a part of The Drumsong Orchestra on Ubaka Hill’s CDs Dance the Spiral Dance and ShapeShifters.

In 2008, she traveled to Roume, Guinea (Africa) to study drum and dance with Afia Walking Tree and M. Lamine ‘Dibo’ Camara, principle soloist for Les Ballets d’Afrique Noire de Mansour Gueye. During that time, she fell in love with drumming for traditional African dance, and has since become Queen’s lead drummer for Nu Traditional African Dance.

Over the past 21 years, Pele has not only studied djembe but has also learned rhythm with Dundun, Samban and Kenkeni drums and enjoys hosting local drum circles for the empowerment of womyn.

Let it be said……

Everyone walks with the rhythm of life…..everyone is a drummer. If you have a heartbeat then you are a drummer.

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