bios

 
Heidi

Heidi Wilson
(Alto Saxophone, Marimbas, Vocals): Born into a musical family, Heidi studied violin and oboe as a child, and switched to the saxophone at age 18, discovering her true voice. She was a founding member of Eneke-the-Bird, a creative performing duo and arts organization that thrived in Tucson, Az. for seventeen years. She has contributed her saxophone expressions on many recordings including the genres of Blues, Brazilian, Jazz, and Hip Hop. Besides Baba Marimba, she is a performing member of the Temenos Quartet (Jazz/Folk/Indie), and records and performs with Witch Hazel, a Hip Hop artist. She continues to grow as a musician, including explorations in LoFi/Hip Hop music and more… She has been with Baba Marimba since it’s inception in 2010. She loves the collaborative energy of the group. Everyone contributes to the creative process, which lends to a very diverse and varied sound experience. Everyone is a leader in Baba Marimba!

Heidi is also a craniosacral practitioner and instructor, a tai chi teacher, a mother and grandmother.

 
Mike Ankomeus

Mike Ankomeus
(Trumpet, Flute, Marimbas, Dij, Melodica, Percussion, Conch Shells, and Vocals) learned to play trumpet form his father, Denny Ankomeus, who toured with big bands in the golden age of swing. He holds a BA degree in instrumental music from ASU and an MA in education from NAU. He is an experienced musician and educator dedicated to public service and community development.

Mike has a passion for music and dance collaboration. His personal interests include exploring ancient harmonic tonalities and trance music. He is a strong advocate of community gardening. Mike currently also plays with Santa Pachita, a regionally-touring Tucson-based band advocating for human rights. He is currently employed at Kalimba Magic, making exotic kalimbas and sending them around the world.

 
Mark Holdaway

Mark Holdaway
(guitar, kalimbas, marimba) is a master kalimba player and talented multi-instrumentalist. In 2005 he retired from radio astronomy and founded Kalimba Magic, which imports high quality kalimbas and sells them along with kalimba instructional materials: Mark has written or co-written 20 kalimba books (each different type of kalimba needs its own book, and some kalimbas have as many as six books for them) and over 20 kalimba instructional downloads. The Kalimba Magic website has become the premier web destination for kalimba information, and the KalimbaMagic YouTube channel just passed 2 million views.

Mark performs many types of music on the kalimba: in addition to traditional African Shona music, he also plays western folk music, modern popular African music, western classical music, pop and rock, and his favorite, Christmas carols! Mark also performs on guitar, mandolin and mandola, recorder, and bass. Mark has performed at the Tucson Folk Festival every year since 1997, at dozens of retirement communities and elder care facilities, preschools, in the Pima library system, at Tohono Chul park, at the Tucson Zoo, the University of Arizona, the Tucson peace Fair, and at numerous other venues around Tucson.

"One of the things I love about Baba Marimba is that I get to relive my first musical coming of age experience. I was playing trombone in school, and my two best friends played trumpet and saxophone, and I learned to improvise with those cats - we all three learned together. Now I experience the same thrill of discovery every time I play with Mike and Heidi."

 
Andrea Eckardt

Andrea Eckardt
(Violin, Viola, Guitar, Charango, Harp, Vocals), a dual German American national, was born in NYC into a musical family. Her mother taught her to sing melodies and harmonies to traditional eastern European songs, and her father taught her to play South American folk music. She is a taleneted multiinstrumentalist and singer, and her aim is to facilitate personal and global healing through her beautiful music.

 
Robert "Swami" Peizer

Robert "Swami" Peizer
(percussion, baritone and alto marimbas, kalimba): I loved and played music since childhood, but it began taking over a huge part of my life in 1990, when I was serendipitously introduced to African drumming by my Middle Eastern drum teacher, Mary Ellen Donald. Living in the Bay Area, I was incredibly fortunate to have drum teachers and dance instructors from the national ballets of Guinea, the Congo and Trinidad. For 20 years, these teachers (Mamady Keita, Famadou Konate, Mabiba Baegne, Malonga Casquelord, Ferdinand Batantu, Massengo, Hugh Humphries and Wilfred Mark) gave me both close friendship and an intimate access to their music and culture that is unique and precious. I love adding their rhythms and instruments to world beat, jazz, hip-hop, folk and whatever music is in the moment.

 
Martin Tiernan

 Martin Tiernan
(Drum kit) was born in Brooklyn, New York and began studying drums and percussion at the age of 16. After playing for one year, Martin auditioned for his high school's Jazz Orchestra and got his first "gig." He held this position through his last 2 years of high school, continuing to learn Big Band Jazz and the Jazz Classics. At the same time, he was studying the great drummers of Progressive Rock and Fusion Jazz: Bill Bruford, Neil Peart, Phil Collins, Peter Erskine, Steve Gadd and others. He worked to incorporate aspects of their playing into his own and gradually gained the skills needed to join a real, gigging band. He worked with numerous Rock and Fusion bands in NYC until moving to Tucson in 1998. For personal reasons, Martin took a 10 year hiatus from music, and in 2009, returned to performing live again. He has since worked with local Tucson groups Legendz, Mighty Joe Young, Rockers Uptown, Neon Prophet, Beyond Words, K-Bass and others.

 
T. Greg Squires

Joe Townend
(Bass, Vocals) was raised in Denville, New Jersey, a lovely small town near the railway station that his father used to catch a commuter train to New York City to work.

While in college at the University of Scranton he learned to play upright and electric bass and joined his first band, The Druids, who recorded a few singles for Columbia Records. Joe continued playing bass while a student at Michigan State and then in San Francisco with a band called Nazgul.

In Los Angeles he recorded an album with super guitarist John Ussery which was released on Mercury Records. He also did a lot of club and concert dates all over California and Nevada. In Minneapolis he was one of the founders of the performance group Meeting Rivers which combined music, dance and spoken word in shows that had a spiritual journey theme.

Joe began studying West African Percussion in Tucson in 2005 with Martin Klabunde. He was a founding member of drumming group Planet Djembe which performed from 2010-2015. He was musical director of K-Bass (Bassirima Soro’s) band Farafina Musiki from 2012-2013. He played with The Key Ingredients of African Soul in 2013 as a bass player and continued with them for four and a half years. He also has a drum and dance group called Drum Joy which started in 2017 and continues to the present.

He joined Baba Marimba in late 2017 and continues with them today. He has written several new songs for the band, sings, and acts as a musical director.

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