Sheree Seretse, Director of the Shumba Youth Marimba Ensemble
Shumba is incredibly lucky to have the great fortune of studying under marimba master Sheree Seretse. Sheree pursued her interest in African music and culture at the University of Washington in 1970 where she studied with Mr. Dumisani Maraire, an instructor and recording artist from Zimbabwe. Ms. Seretse began performing with Mr. Maraire in 1971 and began teaching with him two years later. In 1973, Sheree co-founded the Gwinyai Dance Ensemble with Ms. Lora Chiorah-Dye.
In 1975, Ms. Seretse and Ms. Chiorah-Dye began teaching African games, songs, dances, stories, drumming and culture in Seattle-area public schools. Sheree's experience ranges from teaching classes for K12 and special populations to instructing teachers for college credit.
In 1978, Sheree was hired by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation to work at the Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center teaching classes in marimba, drums, mbira, dance and African games; to develop an African-American History Month, an African Arts Celebration, and workshops and seminars on various aspects of African culture; and to network with other similarly-minded organizations. Ms. Seretse is currently teaching after-school, weekend, and evening classes at Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center in Seattle's Central area to adults and children 3 days per week.
Since 1983, Sheree has been instrumental in developing and augmenting several African drum and dance ensembles in the Northwest. Her marimba class developed into a professional performing group called the Langston Hughes Marimba Ensemble. Renamed the Sukutai Marimba Ensemble, it continues to perform nationwide. Sheree left Sukutai in 1985 but gave them many of her arrangements, adaptations and compositions, which are still being performed.
Sheree decided to expand her horizons by incorporating musical styles from all over Africa and founded the Anzanga Marimba & Dance Ensemble in 1986 and founded Shumba Youth Marimba Ensemble in 2003. She has continued to broaden her musical and cultural experience by visiting Africa in 1980, 1988, 1993, and 2006.
Sheree loves African music and hopes to share the joy she finds in it with the world. She has now produced three recordings, and is currently working towards travelling around the globe with both of her ensembles.