"I booked a beginners workshop with Marie feeling a bit anxious and/or weird. What was I doing joining an African drumming group?I went to the class, it was full of apprehensive but friendly faces all feeling the same. Marie is a fantastic tutor. Patient - very patient! Enthusiastic, funny and so passionate about the stories and special rhythms that have been passed down through generations in West Africa"
"Roll on 4 years - I now feel I belong to a 'tribe'. They are all wonderfully crazy, friendly, funny and supportive individuals who come together as one to drum. Drumming has made me laugh, swear and cry with both happiness and sadness. My tribe has celebrated with me through the happy times and also been there for me through my darkest hours. We have drummed things in and things out. Drumming has brought me joy, solace and friendship from day one of that weird but wonderful workshop!"
"I only joined this drum group recently but I am hooked! The drumming is immersive and addictive and is a fantastic way to completely detach from what is going on in the world and learn a new skill in a very friendly and fun environment. Marie is a very knowledgeable and passionate about traditional West African drumming but makes the classes easy to follow, full of laughter and camaraderie with the participants all enjoying learning together. Highly recommended!"
"I have been drumming with Marie for about 3 years. The positive impact on my mental well-being is enormous; I've found that periods of depression and anxiety have been radically improved by drumming. Being amongst other people and experiencing the beautiful rhythms that are created is so beneficial for mind, body and soul. Marie creates a safe environment for everyone making learning fun. I love the fact she teaches us the background of the rhythms, respectful of the origins of the music. Drumming has very quickly become the highlight of my week and I have made some beautiful, like minded friends."
"I wasn't even sure what African drumming was, or that I was going to be playing something called a djembe, let alone how to spell it! But within 5 minutes of attending the Kukua group I was hooked.
I'm not sure if it's Marie's wacky banter or the fact that if you can tap your foot to music you have the necessary rhythm skills to join in with a drumming piece or that they are a lovely group of people, but two or three years later I am still going. Give it a go. See if you can achieve a 'slap flam' - You'll enjoy it!"
"I started drumming with Marie back in January of 2013 at a time when I was recovering from a traumatic event in my life. I was welcomed into the class and have never looked back. Marie fosters a wonderful inclusive and friendly atmosphere where everyone can take joy from their drumming journey without fear of prejudice or judgement. Over the years I have taken great pleasure in seeing new members join and recognising the same joy that was ignited in me all those years ago. Drumming is a joy in both terms of the musicality but also the fullness it has brought to my social life"
"Thank you Marie, you really started something!"
"I started attending the Wednesday drumming class about 5 years ago, I had drummed before but had never been taught correctly. Marie has from the start, encouraged me to learn African patterns I had not thought possible. My confidence with my drum has improved immensely and although I may make mistakes mid pattern Marie is always on hand to help me correct myself. Her teaching is fundamental to positive learning and she is patent, calm and always willing to stop and go at an individual's pace.
Her positive outlook in classes and her humour makes them well worth attending!"
"I first encountered the energy of djembe at a festival and was compelled to give it a go"
"Luckily, I found Marie's class and after a beginners session I joined Kukua. I can't express how much drumming has come to mean to me. Every aspect has enhanced my life, from the connection to the other members of the group to the physical, mental and spiritual benefits, I know now that setting off on my drumming path was absolutely the right thing for me""Marie's classes are a joy, totally inclusive and always loads of fun. I can't recommend Marie as a teacher highly enough. She has the patience of a saint and her delight when someone suddenly 'gets it' is beautiful and infectious".
"I literally can't imagine my life without drumming!"
"I started drumming with Marie as an absolute beginner in November 2013 and instantly became addicted. Her knowledge, enthusiasm and student-friendly inclusive approach quickly ensured that I was beginning a lifelong journey. Now, many years later, I've performed at festivals, village fayres and local community centres with our wonderful Kukua drumming group. Drumming has become a central feature of my life, not least because of the firm friendships formed and the fun involved. And ALL because of Marie and her wonderful "born on a Wednesday" group: KUKUA"
"A work colleague used to show me photos of the local drumming group that she attended and also a belly dance buddy kept mentioning the same group with great enthusiasm. Both assured me that I would LOVE it. You know how it is...you keep intending to go along, but don't get round to it?
Well eventually, one of the ladies told me that there was a 10 week beginner's course due to start. I managed to swap my work shifts so that I could attend. I loved it so much! After the 10 weeks, we then joined the main Wednesday group, Kukua, and I was hooked! 8 and a half years later, I now drum usually 4 times a week ( sometimes more) and that's all down to Marie and that 10 week beginner's course, showing what fun drumming is, how many fabulous friends you can meet, how buzzing you feel after the class, facilitating workshops with other teachers and performing. It's great when you can invite your friends and family to come and watch!
I would say that if the idea appeals to you at all, then go with your gut feeling and sign up! Marie is very welcoming and super patient with newbies. I guarantee that you will come away smiling! Just take the leap and go for it!"
"Marie runs fabulous, inclusive and uplifting workshops! She makes you feel so welcome and comfortable, while sharing her real passion for djembe drumming. Spending time drumming with Marie is time very well spent; you come away a bit lighter and more relaxed than when you went in! Highly recommended"
Sally Bull (2022)
"After years of heartache and stress following my wife, Wendy's traumatic brain injury, I eventually knew that I needed to start looking after myself. Wendy's support worker, Jill had been with the Kukua family for a few years and brought the introduction to djembe class to our attention. I am far from being a spiritual man, but felt immediately lifted by Marie and all the newbies. At the half way tea break, strangers were chatting amongst themselves as if they had know each other for years. The whole vibe was magical. Wendy and myself have been Wednesday regulars ever since and will be playing a small part with an upcoming gig at Tatton Park. What's really great, is the fact that drummers of lower abilities are never under any pressure to think they may be slowing the more accomplished performers down. We love it!"
Gary and Wendy Snelson-Brown (2022)
"I have been going to Marie’s new beginner’s class now for 3 weeks and it is great fun, creative and uplifting. Marie’s style is very warm, passionate but relaxed and she intuitively knows how to pace her teaching. Initially she teaches how to sit with the drum comfortably and how and where to place your hands, knowing that this will come with practice. She teaches of the way in which the drum is made and how the African drum-makers respect the tree it was made from and the animal from which the skin came from and how this imbues the drum with a spiritual significance and reverence which adds to the drumming experience. She allows everyone their little piece of glory during the opening drumming session but with no pressure at all. This class is a fantastic stress-buster and just damn right enjoyable. There will be opportunities for the drummers with commitment to play in her band Kukua, which is an aspiration that I have".
Susan Green (2017)
"What a fantastic experience to be able to take part in such a special African drum playing class. Marie is wonderful, funny and above all very patient! I'm so looking forward to the next class xx "
Susan Sills (2022)