Who are Melbourne Djembe?

Run by Simon Lewis and Mitzi McRae, Melbourne Djembe is a creative company specialising in West African drumming and dance. We provide instruments, tuition, performances and corporate drumming experiences.

A full range of Djembes, Dunduns and other West African instruments are available ready to go or custom made.  We re-skin all types of drums, repair instruments and provide expert advice on all matters of instrument care. Check out our shop to buy online or call Simon Lewis 0425 753 553 and arrange a time to come and see our home-based warehouse.

Simon Lewis

Director, Percussionist and drum maker

Simon is highly regarded as a teacher of world percussion. He has lived and studied traditional djembe, dundun, balafon and kora in Guinea West Africa with Master drummers Lamine Soumah, Aliou Sylla and the world famous Les Percussions De Guinea. He is well known for his insightful and innovative teaching style which is both fun and challenging. With a background in orchestral and jazz, his versatility and broad knowledge of music gives  students a unique entry into the world of African drumming. Simon is a passionate and dedicated artist who is committed to sharing the joy and positivity of drumming.

Simon has worked in china, Japan, Europe and has performed at Womadelaide, Woodford and many other major festivals around Australia. Founder and leader of The World Rhythm Ensemble and Zazu, Simon is currently performing with many of Melbourne’s most dynamic percussion based ensembles including Wassawumba, The Funky Monkeys Circus band, The Marabou Project and Ausecuma Beats.

Mitzi McRae

Director, Dance Instructor

Mitzi has studied West African dance for over 20 years and has travelled to Africa (Ghana, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Senegal, Gambia and Mali) and to the US to further her knowledge by learning from the masters. She is a natural teacher and over the 10 years of teaching African dance she has developed a unique style which provides a relaxed and open environment which is cherished by her students. She has been employed to teach dundun dance in China on several occasions – presenting her choreographies at Qingdao Festival and the Shanghai instrument expo.

Mitzi has been hailed as one of Australia’s best non-African female dancers and captures the energy, vitality, joy and strength of the African dance style. Many of her students have been attending classes for as long as she has been teaching!


‘I love being in a class where people are so caught up in the dance that they don’t realise they’re grinning.’

‘Since doing the dance classes, I feel much more comfortable with my body. I don’t think twice about wearing bathers or tight fitting clothes anymore’

‘..the steps are a sheer joy and Mitzi’s class always gives me a great experience of flow and spring which re-energises me for the rest of the week’

Nii Kpakpo Addo


Nii Kpakpo Addo is a well-known Ghanaian master dancer, drummer and choreographer. He is a multi-instrumentalist with over 24 years’ experience in performance and has toured in Sweden, Israel, the USA and many African countries. Fred has worked with dance companies such as Nokoba Dance Company, Kusun Ensemble and the Anunyam Traditional Music and Dance Troupe, and he recently hosted a peace festival in Nungua, Ghana, called Womba Africa. Fred is passionate about promoting peace and unity through tradition.

African drummer smiling, playing djembe

Ousmane Sonko


Ousmane comes from a mandinko family of musicians from Senegal. He is a drummer, singer, guitarist and composer. He has been playing all west African drums since his youth.

Emmanuel Aryeetey


Emmanuel was born in Accra, Ghana and is of the Ga ethnic group. From a young age, he was drawn to percussion and played with friends on Milo tins and boxes. Emmanuel’s talent was spotted by a local who took him to Team Afrique – a local drum & dance ensemble – where had the opportunity to study traditional rhythms from Asanti, Ewe and Ga regions. From the age of 19 Emmanuel performed for weddings, funerals, parties, political events and festivals in Ghana.

In 2015 Emmanuel arrived in Australia and he is now a sought after musician. He currently plays with Asanti Dance Theatre, One Spirit Africa, Jali Bouba, Melbourne Djembe and Sun of Africa Drum & Dance Ensemble.

Kwame Tosuma


Having performed throughout Ghana, Mali, Benin and South Africa and now living in Australia, Kwame is emerging as one of Australia’s most talented in the traditional and afro-contemporary dance forms. Like many of Ghana’s top dancers, Kwame began practising his art on the street. Finding a passion for dance he was picked up and rigorously trained by the renowned Joe Mensah, and later joined the Namo Ale Cultural Troupe, where he learned the intricacies of traditional Ghanaian dance.

Nick Adam, drummer, smiling for the camera

Nick Adams

Dundun drummer

With a love for music that started with playing drum kit in Blues and Rock music, Nick started hitting the tubs at age 12 and hasn’t stopped yet. Nick has studied music in Darwin, Lismore and Melbs. He has been performing and teaching a wide range of music styles on drum kit and percussion all over Australia for 20 years. Nick regularly plays dunduns for dance classes and in the performance group Wassawumba.

Adeniyi Ekine

Event management & presenter

Adeniyi Ekine (Nigeria) is a multi-skilled media consultant who has a background in film making, TV/radio presenting and MC. He is a human rights activist and works tirelessly to create community and promote peace.
He has worked in the entertainment industry all over the world, including West Africa, Singapore, Dubai, Korea, Taiwan and Egypt.

Adeniyi has a charismatic personality and excellent communication skills. He works with Melbourne Djembe to organise, promote and MC drum and dance events.