Awarded the honour of 2020 Cultural Ambassador for the city of Nelson, Marilyn Hatfield is a multidisciplinary performing artist, musician, percussionist, vocalist, dancer, drum and dance instructor, choreographer and event presenter.
Marilyn has been the drummer, lead vocalist and percussionist for psychedelic rock powerhouse, Soundserious, since the group’s inception in 2006.
Since 1994, she has dedicated herself to studying, performing and teaching west African drumming and dance arts in a way that honours traditional teachings. With a passion to share the magic and joy of rhythm and dance with all, she has been guiding people of all ages in the US and Canada to step into their rhythmic power since 1999. In 2012, Marilyn opened her own dance and drumming school, Marilyn’s House of Rhythm and Dance, in Nelson, BC, and offers individual and group classes in dundun, djembe, traditional west African dance, global dance fusion and her original dance fusion, RhythmDance.
Marilyn is the founder, director, choreographer and principal dancer of RhythmDance Drum Orchestra, a dynamic collective of drumming dancers that weaves ancient sounds with modern movements. Additionally, she currently serves as director and co-band leader of the Moving Mosaic Samba Band, Nelson’s community samba band.
Since 2018, Marilyn has spearheaded, organized and facilitated a music and art festival in the Slocan Valley called Summer Breeze Music and Art Party. This is a free community event linking diverse visual and performing artists with the public for the purpose of engaging the public with arts and culture in the community.
Named to DumAsylum’s top 100 Female Drummers of All time in 2009, Marilyn has served as artistic director, choreographer, lead dancer and lead female drummer of several drum and dance ensembles, including: RhythmDance Drum Orchestra (Nelson, BC); Afro Stylie Percussive Dance Experience (Winlaw), the Afreaks (Nelson, BC), YOMA's (Nelson, BC); Nyokabok (Santa Cruz, CA), and Wara Foli (Nevada City, CA) among others.
Her ensembles have perfomed widely in California, the western US, AB and BC at festivals like: Whole Earth Festival (Davis, CA); Sierra Nevada World Music Festival (CALIF); War Child (Nelson, BC); Canmore Children's Festival (Canmore, AB); Market Fest (Nelson, BC); Star Belly Jam (Crawford Bay, BC; )Shambhala Music Festival (Salmo, BC); and Kelowna Life and Arts Festival among many more.
As well, she has performed (drums and vocals) live on radio stations: KVMR FM (Nevada City, CA ) Radio Tamba (Tambacounda, Senega, west Africa) and CJLY (Nelson, BC).
It was 1994 when Marilyn first picked up the sticks after taking a west African dance course in college, and her life changed for the better. That course, with its live drumming and traditional tribal dance, inspired her to buy a djembe and hitchhike to California to immerse herself in west African music and dance. Ever since, she has lived her life by the drum. Marilyn now offers an authentic, polyrhythmic style built through years of traditional tribal drumming and dance study and innovative experimentation. She plays a drum kit like no other. Her rhythmic style is smooth with a serious drive, and her vocal style is soulful and rich. That she sings while she drums gives Marilyn's playing a very melodic feel, and her ability to connect with the audience makes her an engaging performer.
Marilyn's experience lends a potent, earthy feel to Soundserious music.