Who We Are - Management Team
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, an African perfoming arts organisation, and is now the company’s lead musician.
He has 14 years’ experience as a sessional artist leading African drumming workshops and performing in corporate, education and community settings. Recent performances include Wem Town Hall in February 2018 supporting Moussa Dembele (http://www.wemtownhall.co.uk/shropshire-music-trust-moussa-dembele/), entertaining delegates at Olympia London’s African Healthcare Week Conference and performing with his new band Kan Beng. He performed with Mandinka fusion band Bafula during a live simulcast on 6 Music & BBC Radio 3 on the Charlie Gillet Stage at WOMAD in 2016 and has performed at the Barbican Walthamstow Garden Party, the Southbank Centre Africa Utopia Festival, Tropical Pressure Festival in the UK and at festivals in Germany, Poland, Switzerland and Spain.
Director and dance educator - Chantelle Michaux
Chantelle is an experienced and energetic dance educator with a passion for traditional West African dance and music which she has studied in Mali, Gambia, Senegal, Guinea and Ivory Coast. She uses these music and dance influences in school and community settings to support people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities to increase fitness, build confidence and learn about West African culture. She teaches weekly classes in schools across East London as well as a drumming and movement club for adults with learning disabilities.
In the late 1990's Chantelle was General Manager of Badejo Arts - an Arts Council England funded company which quickly 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
Director, young people's mentor and drama tutor - Selina Jeremiah
Selina is a director of Mbilla Arts and has 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 programmes with Ladders Young Performers & Writers Club, Forest Pathways College, Waltham Forest Arts in Education Network and Henry Maynard Primary School. She also delivers PSHE and one-to-one mentoring on a part-time basis for Waltham Forest College in Walthamstow.
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.