New Website coming soon!

Hi All

I have not been adding content to this website for several years but using Facebook and email and whatsapp to stay in contact with students and people wishing to book me for workshops.

I am building a new website which should be online soon.

I will transfer the pictures and articles I shared on here with the new site.



New Free Short African Drumming Course in Sunderland

Hi All

I will be running a 3 week Introduction to West African Drumming course in Sunderland in November and December.

The dates are 30 November, 7 and 14 December

The venue is

The Bunker CIC
29 Stockton Rd
Tel: 0191 5671777
Sessions will run 6-8pm. Please arrive a little earlier if possible to help with set up. I will bring all the drums and associated kit.
We will be playing bass drums – known collectively as dunun – which are played with sticks and accompanied with a bell pattern as well as the more widely known djembe (played with the hands).
We will learn 1-2 traditional rhythm pieces which will enable everyone to get involved and play and provide a challenge for players of all levels from complete beginner to professional percussionist.
Sessions are run through WEA (Workers Education Association) and these 3 session are FREE!!!

News – April 2016

Hi All

Firstly Drummed Up returns to a new venue.

North Wing, Uptin House, Stepney Road

Newcastle Upon Tyne NE2 1TZ

Thursday nights 7-9pm

Start date is 14th April

We have some gigs lined up over the next few months so we will be focusing on existing material but I may also bring in one new rhythm piece.

Beginners welcome and also any musicians wanting to extend their experience. Bass players and kit drummers especially welcome!



Harambee Pasadia festival, run by Hannabiell and Yilis returns to Barnard Castle

It boasts a great line up and tickets are cheap for a lot of music and workshops.

There will also be a workshop by the wonderful Guinean Master Iya Sako as well as a performance by Hannabiell and Midnight Blue (with me!)


After returning from the wonderful HansCamp in Suffolk with the amazing Hans Sutton we are proud to announce the first HansCamp North – to be held in Barnard Castle on weekend of 7,8,9th October 2016.

The event is residential and catered and runs from Friday evening to Sunday evening.

More details to follow but keep the dates free!



January -March 2016

Hi All

This post outlines the teaching sessions and plans I have for this term.

Firstly, my longest standing group Drummed Up will not be running this term. The main reason for this is that we were told a couple of days before Christmas that we had to leave our venue. We understood that there was a discussion about this but were a bit shocked and also disappointed to receive the news.

This did not leave much time to find a new venue – particularly in view of my trip to Bangladesh (see separate post).

When there is limited time I find it hard to get enough response back to ideas and plans that I post – people are busy and have other priorities – and so rather than take a risk in committing to a new, and more expensive venue I took the decision to take a break with this group for a term.

My ideal situation, which I hope to implement after Easter, is to reinvigorate Drummed Up by running a weekend workshop specifically on our performance set and hopefully attracting new members. We would then have weekly rehearsal sessions where we can practice the material with a view to performing at events in the Summer.

Meanwhile, my drumming class continues at Byker, Newcastle.

The new term starts Monday 1st February 6.45-9.30pm at Byker Community Centre, Headlam St, NE6 2DX. 8 weeks course £55 or free if on means tested benefits.

This group is now in its third year and has a very committed and enthusiastic core. New players are welcome to attend and we will likely have some Drummed Up students along too.

In light of this, I will be working with new material, recently taught by Hans Sutton at his workshop that I organised in Newcastle.

The rhythms originate from Mali and the feel is different to my much-loved Malinke Guinean material.

We will look at arrangements for Soboninkun and Sheko. We might also look at an arrangement of Sunun taught by Seckou Keita at the Generations Event in May 2015.

There are many similarities between Guinean and Malian styles but subtle differences too.

As always, the beauty of the material is that there are accessible parts and challenging parts for players of all levels.

I am keen for some more experienced players to have a go at the calls and leading the breaks for rhythms too.

Hope to see you along on 1st or 8th February to sign up for the course!


Hans Sutton workshop in Newcastle 28-29th November

Im really excited to tell you that Hans Sutton is coming to teach in Newcastle for the first time!

Many of you will know Hans or have heard of his skill as a teacher. Highly experienced and an excellent communicator he brings a wealth of knowlege of Malian rhythms in particular but also of many rhythms from across West Africa.

From my own experience learning with Hans he provides enjoyable and challenging material to players of all levels

Please help us make this a memorable weekend by coming along and spreading the word to your drumming friends.

We will be learning rhythms for dunun (dununba, sangban ken keni) and djembe. Realistically, this is not a workshop for complete beginners but drummers wishing to improve their skills and understanding will really benefit from attending.

We will be learning dunun and djembe on both days. Hans is very skilled at helping people improve their technique from the basics upwards and is full of useful tips and exercises to help players progress.

We won’t run short of material!

Drums and equipment
We have a decent collection of duns but please bring your own and stands,sticks, bells and beaters if you have them. If you need to borrow a djembe please let me know in advance so I can bring enough. We will double up on bass drums if necessary but it would be useful to know who is bringing bass drums and who might need to borrow one.

For previous workshops I have cooked a meal for a small fee on one or both days. I was thinking of an African vegetable stew with peanut sauce, rice and peas and maybe a cake. If you are interested please let me know and I will know if its viable or not.
You are welcome to bring your own food. I will confirm whether we have access to the kitchen on Monday.

1 day £30 or £25 concession for low income
2 days £55 or £50 concession
Food £5 per person per meal

Saturday 11am -5pm with a lunch break and tea break(s).
Sunday 10.30-4.30pm with a lunch break and tea breaks(s).

We will provide tea and coffee, juice and biscuits.

The Venue
Cowgate Centre, Houghton Avenue, Cowgate, Newcastle, NE5 3HY

The centre is close to the A1, A696 and is just off West Road about 10 minutes drive from Newcastle City Centre. There is a large car park too and the building is very accessible.

Newcastle is 2h 20 mins drive from Edinburgh
1h 15 from Carlisle
2 hours from Leeds
and has good rail links too.

If you need to stay and are travelling from afar please get in touch and we will see what we can do. There are also cheap rooms at Premier Inns and Holiday Inns nearby.

If any local drummers are happy to put up visiting drummers please make a comment on this page.

Booking for the workshop:

email and I will send you a booking form.

Deadline for bookings is 15th November. Place is not confirmed until money is received. Places are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment.

Thanks and see you there.

Mid term review

Im half way through my courses for the WEA. If you are interested in attending any session please get in touch via my email

Monday 7-9 Byker Community Centre

Wednesday 7.30-9.30 Waddington St URC Hall, Durham City **** NOTE THAT WE STARTED THIS COURSE ON 14TH OCTOBER SO WE HAVE 5 MORE SESSIONS. Drop in welcome.

Thursday 6.30-8.30 plus extra time till 9.30 at Broadacre House, Newcastle City Centre

Friday 1-3 Multipurpose Centre Crowther Industrial Estate, Washington

My monthly workshops at Boosbeck Community Centre near Saltburn on Teeside are growing in popularity with people regularly travelling from Ripon in Yorkshire and the last workshop on 17th October we welcomed 2 people from Beverley near Hull!

The next one is Saturday 14th November 2-8pm. Cost is £25 or £20 concession for low income and optional home cooked food for an additional £5 (main course and a cake).

On Sunday 15th November I plan to host a workshop for the highly regarded teacher Hans Sutton who will visit the North East for the first time to teach. The venue is not confirmed yet but watch this space. Cost will be £30 or £25 concession and promises to be a brilliant and inspiring day. Hans has a huge knowledge of rhythms especially from Mali and is a very clear and patient teacher who works well with players of all levels.

My Washington class is a new one for the WEA and the people who attend have various special needs. After 4 sessions together they are now really listening to each other as they play and are having a lot of fun drumming together. Its a great atmosphere too.

For a long time I have noticed the connection between drumming and well-being – both in myself and in my students many of whom are also friends.

Drumming is great way to tackle social isolation without having to engage in conversation, it cultivates listening skills and team working, it builds self confidence as well as developing musical skills and coordination – plus its lots of fun too.

Many people achieve far more than they could believe was possible in a single session and if they drum regularly the results just build and build.

Recently I have run drumming workshops for a group of 34 CEO’s as well as members of the Royal College of Nursing Northern Region who said “Thanks for … a fantastic morning the team thoroughly enjoyed it”

Anyone who is interested in drumming as a tool for team-building, an energiser or ice-breaker, as part of cultural diversity programmes or away days please do get in touch. I normally work with one or sometimes two assistants and together we offer a really exciting and memorable experience!

Thanks for reading.



Hi All

We have decided to start a West African Drumming class in Durham city on Wednesday evenings through WEA.

Start Date: 14th October

Duration: 8 sessions of 2.5 hours 7-9.30pm

Cost will be £65 or FREE if you are receipt of means tested benefits (Please message me to see if you qualify for fee exemption).

Venue: Waddington Street URC Hall, Durham DH1 4BG

It will be a course aimed at beginners who want to learn traditional drumming on djembes and bass drums and will potentially lead to some performances at local events. There will be more challenging material for experienced players too.

Please can you help to promote this course?

If you or anyone you know is interested please get in touch. My email is

Update August 2015

Hi All

Im preparing for the upcoming Autumn term teaching courses for WEA including a new one for adults with special needs at Washington. See “Drumming Course Information” on the main page.

In short

Monday – Byker Community Centre 7-9pm

Thursday – Drummed Up 6.30-9.30pm

Friday – Washington Multipurpose Centre 1-3pm

Sunday – Waddington Street URC Hall Durham 2-5pm

Boosbeck days are also listed – the next one is 19th September.

I have just returned from African Drum Village in Scotland at the excellent Belmont Centre near Meigle

Highly recommended for players of all levels and tickets for next year are now available.

My monthly day class at Boosbeck on Teeside had their debut performances this Summer and very well received. Dates and details on the main menu page.

I intend to organise a workshop with the excellent Hans Sutton this Autumn – possibly November. Hans is a hugely experienced percussionist and teacher with a broad knowledge of rhythms especially from Mali. Details to follow here and on my facebook group.

Hannabiell  and Midnight Blue are playing at Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival on Friday 21st August

and Lindisfarne Festival 4th-6th September

Hope to see you at a class, workshop or gig sometime this Autumn!

Happy Drumming!

Dates for January WEA Courses

Hi All

Already we are coming to the end of the Autumn term of drumming courses in Newcastle and Durham.

The dates for next term are Byker Community Centre, Headlam St. Byker, Newcastle NE6 2DX 12 January to 30 March (11 weeks) Mondays 7-9pm £53

Drummed Up, Broadacre House, Market St (East), Newcastle NE1 6HQ 15 January to 2 April (11 weeks) Thursdays 6.30-8.30pm £53

Durham Drumming Waddington St URC Church Hall, DH1 4BG 18 January to 15 February (5 weeks) Sundays 2-5pm £42 Note that the Durham class is now for 3 hours and is only 5 weeks. This is to encourage players from my other groups to attend and is a shorter commitment of weekend time.

Boosbeck workshops – Boosbeck Community Centre, TS12 3AL – On Teeside between Guisborough, Saltburn and Marske. Monthly day workshops will continue in 2015,

17th January,

14th February,

14th March.

Reminder that the last one of 2014 is SUNDAY 14th December 2-8pm, £25/20 plus food available (£4)

Drummed Up News

Hi All,

Many of you will have found yourself here by clicking on a link on the Drummed Up webpage – designed and maintained by Liz Pearce, one of our members.

Our next gig is at the Live Theatre on Newcastle’s Quayside on 29th November as part of a showcase event. Details are here

Drummed Up have been performing regionally since 2002 and are still welcoming new members (7 this term) as well as retturning drummers and experienced players.

Full details of our next drumming course beginning in January will be posted on the drummed up website and on facebook “mark’s drumming classes”.

Hope to see you at our gig or at one of our drumming sessions!