Who We Are
Founding Director and Lead Musician - Seneke Sillah
Seneke is Mbilla Arts' lead musician and was a founding director of the company. Seneke was born in The Gambia in West Africa and from an early age demonstrated a talent for playing mbalax, the traditional music of the Wolof people of The Gambia and Senegal, which is played on sabar drums. In his teens he began playing sabar at social occasions and religious ceremonies with various cultural troupes. Later, he was mentored in the art of playing djembe by master drummers including the late Thomas Camara from Guinea. In his early 20’s I joined groups providing entertainment in the Gambian tourist industry. After moving to the UK in 2004, he began teaching and performing in London. In 2006 he was a co-founder of Mbilla Arts CIC and is the company’s lead musician.
He has over 15 years’ experience leading African drumming workshops and performing in corporate, education and community settings in the UK. Watch Seneke performing here at WOMAD 2022 with Jali Bakary Konteh & Minyanta Band.
Director - Chantelle Michaux
Chantelle is an experienced and energetic community arts educator with a passion for dance and music which she has studied in London, West Africa and Australia. She uses these music and dance influences in school and community settings to devise projects to support people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities to learn about West African culture and improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Chantelle was General Manager of Badejo Arts - an Arts Council England NPO which established itself at the cutting edge of contemporary African dance, blending traditional Nigerian dance with British contemporary dance. She is an experienced arts project manager and fundraiser. She is Director of Mbilla Arts CIC which she established in 2006 with Gambian musician Seneke Sillah. Chantelle also volunteers as a Community Health Champion for Leyton Orient Trust.
Director - Selina Jeremiah
Selina is a director of Mbilla Arts and has over 20 years' experience working as a drama educator, youth arts leader and mentor in East London. She has worked with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities and is an inspiration to all who have the opportunity to work with her. She is currently running drama and youth programmes at CCA Camden and The Mill Walthamstow and also delivers PSHE and one-to-one mentoring at Waltham Forest College.
You can watch Selina talking about her training with Half Moon Young People's Theatre here and the skills it has equipped her with for her education work.
Admin & Marketing Assistant - Kumbeh Sillah
Kumbeh has been a part-time Admin & Marketing Assistant for Mbilla Arts for the last 2 years which she fits around her A'level studies in English, Politics & Psychology. Kumbeh has been performing commercial street dance and African dance since the age of 6 with groups such as Soul2Dance, Leaders Community, LAE Tottenham Dance Society and Mbilla Arts. Recent performances include Boroughs United 2022 at Hackney Empire and The BLK Experience Part II at Bernie Grant Arts Centre. Kumbeh holds level 1 and 2 dance leadership qualifications and has an enhanced DBS check.