Audience comments

"The group has an energy all of of its own. They put their all into the music and it is impossible not to feel it resonating through your being.
From Prana performance

The Players

Players all now living in Auckland are from Auckland, Coromandel, Northland, U.K, Montreal and South Africa.
We are:
Fraser Bruce
Hello, I am from a Dunedin musical family, learnt piano, guitar, accordion, cornet in the school brass band and sang a bit. About 1967 our family band appeared on TV's Studio One's "New Faces" which was a quite a surprise, but which pushed us up and out there a bit. I soon came to realise the importance and value music making and playing, which has since inspired me to bring this into others lives. I branched into African styled drumming in 1990 and performed in the first Auckland's drum band called Arakidan after workshops with Sam Manzanza. I then formed the band Sowelu street drummers and dancers in 1991 where we for years played all over the place, festivals, parties, and plenty on the streets. I also began making drums as there just weren't many available and as people wanted to learn. By 2000 the importance of community music making was very apparent, so with a little funding, set up the Rhythm Centre in 2001 which has gone on to create and house our Mhara Marimba instruments as made and taught by our teacher Russell Matthews in Nelson. It also hosts African drum and rhythm classes, and currently is the dojo for Tamashi the . Japanese Taiko drummers 2006 I travelled to Zimbabwe to visit the cultural home of the marimba and mbira, for a bit of study and to bring back some instruments to play. Mainly since the early 90's I've taken instruments into schools, community groups, corporate events, even weddings etc etc where I help create an all-welcome all-come village music atmosphere where everyone joins in to make amazing improvisational music on the spot. Improvisational Music A later development being The Melt, which invites musicans and dancers together in an improvisational interactive relationship
Tony Matthews
Music in family. Mother a piano teacher, Father cellist, Brother marimba. Sang in choirs at high school but never played an instrument seriously until marimbas at age of 60. Played for 4 years since.
Janet Thomas
Fiona Gardiner
I come from a background of classical musical training, mainly keyboard, in which I have teaching and performance diplomas. The transition to playing non-written rhythms has been exciting and challenging
Leonie Clapham
I am an accomplished flute player and singer. I have been playing marimba for 3 years and totally love the happy vibe, beautiful spirit and magic that happens when we play together.
Ruth Nahi
I come from a family of horn players but my musical experience began 20 years ago while living in Munich, Germany. I studied and played Brazilian music - Samba with Munchener Ruhestorung. On my return home, I was invited to study and play music from Ghana so I joined and trained with the Gahu Drum and Dance Society for 6 years. Over the years I have trained under different african master drummers from Ghana and Guinea training mainly in stick drums during which time I was also invited to perform with them. Hand drummimg, playing congos and Djembe became an added interest where I played for different contemporary bands including Mahia Blackmore and Head Office, Rhythm Mamas, Billy T.K. senior and Powerhouse and Caliente but to name afew. At present I play marimba and hand drums for MHARA MARIMBA.

Max Maxwell Through singing in and directing the Heaven Bent Gospel Choir I developed a love of Gospel and African music. The exciting polyrhythmic nature of the marimba music still excites me after 4 years of being with this group. My other main musical passions are in leading community group singing and ukulele playing. I  founded the SingForJoy community choir (SingForJoy) in 2009 and lead ukulele workshops in Auckland and around NZ (ukulele groups).

Brodie Andrews
Passionate about ad-lib jamming. Enjoy making music on found objects. Love Afrcian poly-rhythms and vocalising.
Yolanda van den Bemd
As the newest member, I have been in the band since the end of 2009. I play a bit of guitar, have sung in Heaven Bent Gospel Choir and done drumming classes. I love all types of music and am a bit of a WOMAD regular.
Chris Mullins