Heidi Wilson

Sax, 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 for 17 years. She has contributed her saxophone expressions on many recordings including the genres of Blues, Brazilian, Jazz, and Hip Hop. Besides Baba Marimba, she was 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 its inception in 2010, and loves the collaborative energy of the group. Everyone contributes to the creative process, which lends to a very diverse and varied sound experience.

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

Mike Ankomeus

Trumpet, Flutes, Conch shells, Didgeridoo, Marimbas, Melodica, Vocals & Percussion

Mike learned to play trumpet from his father, Denny Ankomeus, who toured with big bands in the Golden Age of swing. He holds a BA degree in instrumental music from Arizona State University and an MA in education from Northern Arizona University. He has a passion for music and dance collaboration, and he loves exploring ancient harmonic tonalities and trance music.

Mike also plays with Santa Pachita, a regionally-touring band advocating for human rights. He is a highly experienced musician and educator dedicated to public service and community development. 

Mark Holdaway

Guitar, Kalimba, Karimba, Mbira, Marimbas & Vocals

Mark is a master kalimba player and 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: He has written or co-written 20 kalimba books and over 20 kalimba instructional downloads. The Kalimba Magic website has become the premier source for kalimba information, and the Kalimba Magic YouTube channel has passed 2 million views. 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 mandolin and mandola, recorder, and bass.

Joe Townend

Bass & Vocals

Joe was raised in Denville, NJ, a lovely small town near the railway station where 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, which 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 LA he recorded an album with super guitarist John Ussery that was released on Mercury Records, and did club and concert gigs all over California and Nevada.


In Minneapolis he was a founder of the performance group Meeting Rivers, which combined music, dance and spoken word in shows with a spiritual journey theme. 

Joe was musical director and bassist for Bassirima Soro’s (K-Bass’) band Farafina Musiki from 2012-2013, and played bass with The Key Ingredients of African Soul (KIAS) from 2013 to mid-2017.

He began studying West African percussion in Tucson in 2005 with Martin Klabunde, one of the few Professional Djembe Instructors certified by Mamady Keita. Joe was a founding member of drumming group Planet Djembe, which performed from 2010-2015. 

He joined Baba Marimba in late 2017 and continues with them today. He has written and arranged many new songs for the band.

Andrea Eckhardt

Electric Viola, Marimbas, Percussion & Vocals

Andrea is a dual German-American national, born in New York City to 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 highly skilled multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, and her desire is to facilitate personal and global healing through her beautiful music.

Martin Tiernan

Drums & Percussion

Martin 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 styles into his own and gradually gained the skills needed to join a professional band. He worked with numerous Rock and Fusion bands in NYC until moving to Tucson in 1998.

After a 10 year hiatus, Martin returned to performing live again in 2009.

He has since worked with local Tucson groups Legendz, Mighty Joe Young, Rockers Uptown, Neon Prophet, Beyond Words, K-Bass (Bassirima Soro) and joined Baba Marimba in 2018.

Robert "Swami" Peizer

djembe, congas, doumbec, marimbas, multi-ethnic hand percussion, vocals

Swami” (a stage name given to him by the well-known kinetic sculptor Mat Bevel) loved playing the piano since childhood, but stopped for many years until music began taking over his life in 1990, when he was introduced to African drumming during a collaborative workshop with his Middle Eastern drum teacher, Mary Ellen Donaldwho studied with Hamza El-Din.

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, he was incredibly fortunate to have access to drum teachers and dance instructors from the national ballets of Guinea, the Congo, Brazil and Trinidad.


For 20 years, teachers like Mamady Keita, Karumba Diakete, Mabiba Baegne, Fred Simpson, Malonga Casquelord, Ferdinand Batantu, Samba Ngo, Massengo, Hugh Humphries and Wilfred Mark gave him both close friendship and an intimate access to their music and culture that was unique and precious.

He also played with many jazz musicians and groups, playing percussion with the Jersey Foreman Express all over the Bay Area for 10 years, and did workshops and performed with Eddie Gale, a former trumpeter with Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor.

Integrating world music rhythms and instrumentation with jazz, R&B, funk, reggae and original compositions is Swami’s passion.