Curriculum Vitae

Afia Walking Tree, M.Ed.


  • 30 years multi-instrument percussionist, griot, singer-songwriter composer-recording and performing artivist.
  • Author, ethnomusicologist, specializing in traditional African Diasporic, namely, West African, Afro-Cuban, Jamaican, contemporary drum arts
  • Freelance Transpersonal Coach, Adjunct Professor in “Embodied Drumming as Spiritual Practice,”  “Feminist and Ethnic Studies,” “Transformative Leadership” “Earth Based Spiritualities”
  • Extensive Directorial, Supervisory, and Board leadership in non profit emerging organizations, public action movements, universities
  • Exceptional interpersonal non-violent communication (NVC), Re-evaluative counseling, consensus leadership, reconciliation, motivational speaking, diplomacy, confidentiality
  • African and Earth Based Shamanic Practitioner; Queen of Ajuba Lineage; Permaculturist; Experienced Landscape and Design Gardener


Adjunct Instruction and Freelance Educational Consulting 

  • Special Education model curricula practice in New York City public schools
  • Distinctive Masters Thesis Portfolio “Multiple Intelligences of ‘At-Risk’ Adolescents”
  • “Black Feminism: A New Pedagogy” course, Vassar College, 40 students, mentored by bell hooks and Folami Harris
  • Created ground-breaking training process in early 1990’s that was part of a new wave of diversity processing frame-work called Transformative Leadership: Exploring Our Diversities  and Consensus Communication Practices, improving ethical communication and retention over 15 years in more than 100 agencies.

Percussion Studies and Performing Arts: Schools and Organizations

  • Developed dynamic percussion and performing arts curricula: “FunDRUMentals” “Drumming in the Wild” “Drum-Talk-Story, “Drum Our Souls Free” for all ages to re-entrain multiple intelligences, create holistic communities, explore transpersonal healing of learning embodied music, history, folklore, and culturally relevant stories.
  • Developed performing arts curricula for environmental science academies for  ‘Special Needs” adolescents with varying degrees of behavioral, emotional, physical functionality, leadership and life skills
  • Trainer/Facilitator and director of African drum, dance, and village cultural musical events/bands in the US, Canada, London, Poland, Jamaica, Guinea and Ghana
  • International touring solo, studio, ensemble, and contemporary musical band accompanist across 20 states in North America, and 10 countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia


Management, Supervision, and Program Coordination

  • Founder and Executive Director of Spirit Drumz, educational consulting music “start-up” with international recognition on Public Radio, TV, and internet (1994 to Present)
  • Founder, Leader Gardener, Executive Director, Trainer, Designer of Walking Tree Essentials Permaculture Garden & Care (2003 to Present)
  • Managed university multi-facility housing-residential department for over 540 on-campus students, prioritizing multi-cultural theme-housing, cultural competency that sustained retention over many years
  • Human Resource administrative management for Target Stores, Manpower Staffing, and Shutterfly Photos
  • Designed and implemented inclusive management infrastructure, policies, procedures, admissions applications, and new member orientation
  • Recruited, evaluated, and supervised diverse youth and adult teams for on-campus programs
  • Effectively marketed on-campus housing, performances and workshops
  • Founded and managed The Underground Drum Sanctuary School in Oakland, CA
  • Coordinated auditions, rehearsals, productions; managed stage logistics



  • Drum Masters Program for Women
  • Transformative Leadership: Exploring Our Diversities Training
  • Embodied Healing through African Diasporic Percussion and Movement
  • Ancient Women of Africa: Drumming us into Being
  • Indigenous Wisdom through Ancestral Stories, Music & Folklore
  • Rhythms of the Earth Permaculture Journeys & Courses

Ruby Bridges Middle School, Alameda, CA, (Drumming and Permaculture) Summer 2014 to Present

Oakland Public Conservatory of Music (Permaculture), Summer 2014

Edna Manley Performing Arts College, Jamaica, West Indies, Jamaica, Spring 2014

Sophia University, Spring 2005 to 2014

Holy Names University 2011 to 2014

California Institute of Integral Studies 2011 to 2015

New College, First Year Students Core Course, 2003 to 2005

USDA Food & Drug, Conference 2005

First Five Association of California, 2003

Making Waves Educational Program, 2003

UC Santa Cruz: Porter, Stevenson, Merrill, Oakes, College Eight, Cowell, 2000 to 2002

Evergreen College, Washington; March 2000

Youthbuild USA, Brownsville Chapter, New York; 1998

William James Association, Youth In Prison Program, CA 1997 to 2000


Drum-Talk-Story Multidisciplinary Instruction (Partial list)

  • Meadows-Livingstone School, San Francisco, CA, 2014 to Present
  • Acta-Non Verba Urban Youth Farm, 2015 – Present
  • Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, 2009 – Present
  • West African Drum and Dance Course, Rhythmix 2010
  • Children’s Learning Center, School for Children Special Needs 2010, 2011
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe School, 2010, 2011
  • St. Anthony-Immaculate Conception School, 2010
  • American High School, 2009
  • Los Cerros Middle School, 2007, 2008, 2009
  • Maxwell Park Elementary School, 2002
  • San Lorenzo Valley High School, Ben Lomond, 1999; 2002
  • Seneca Center for Special Education, 2002
  • Family Arts Culture Education Spirituality (F.A.C.E.S.) 2001 – 02
  • Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (5 schools), 2001
  • Amesti Elementary School, Watsonville; 1998 to 2001


FunDRUMentals and Drum Our Souls Free Intensives (Partial list)

  • Women Drummers International, Born to Drum Camp, 2007 to Present
  • Ontario Women’s Drum Camp, 2005 to Present
  • Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, 2014 to Present
  • Hope House for Women Recovering Institutionalized Imprisonment, 2011
  • California Alliance of Women, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014
  • Center for the Divine Feminine,  Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, 2008
  • Women Drummers International, Born to Drum Camp, 2007 to Present
  • Ontario Women’s Drum Camp, 2005 to Present
  • NIA Gathering, California; 1997 to 2008; 2013 (Honored for Leadership in Lineage of Women Drummers)
  • Vassar College, Liberty Partnerships Program Summer Academy, 1999; 2013
  • Liquid Fire, San Francisco, California, 2002 to 2006
  • ULOAH Sistahfest, Malibu, California, 1999 to 2004



  • Impact HUB Oakland, Break the Silence Opening, 2016
  • California Institute for Integral Studies, Guest Lecturer: The Healing Ecstasy of Sound, Spring of 2003 – Present
  • Santa Rosa Junior College, Guest Lecturer for World Humanities: Arts, Spring 2006, Spring 2010 to Present
  • Turn on the Lights Benefit for Ghana Girls, Together We Can Presentation, January 2010, February 2011
  • AAPCHO, Asian Pacific Health Organization, Gender Dynamics, 2003
  • Oakes College, Activism, and Community Responsibility, 2003
  • UCSC MLK Convocation I am Alive, (Opened for Alice Walker), 2002
  • Santa Rosa Junior College Graduation, Tools for Achieving our Dreams, 2002
  • Black Sistahs United Intimate Sisterhood Gathering, Building Community, 2000
  • Asian and Pacific Islander Student Alliance High Motivational Conference; 1998 and 1999
  • Bank Street College of Education, Multiple Intelligences of Adolescents at Risk for School Failure, 1994



  • Bioneers Conference, Marin CA 2010 to Present
  • Pathways to Resilience Graduation, 2014, 2015
  • Regenerative Design Institute, Permaculture Community Drumming as Medicine, 2013 – 2015
  • Green Valley Village Intentional Community (GGVIC) Performance-Workshops, 2012 – Present
  • THE OFF CENTER, La Piñata 2012 Performance, August 2012
  • Women’s Herbal Symposium, Laytonville, CA 2010
  • Human Rights Watch, & Community Partners, 2009
  • Gay Games VII Chicago: Soldier’s Field and Wrigley Field, 2006
  • Praises for the World Concert, produced by Jennifer Berezan, 2003 to 2006
  • Z. Budapest & the Goddess 3000 Festival, 2003, 2004
  • San Francisco War Memorial, Opened for Percussion de Guinea, 2003
  • La Familia de la Casa, San Francisco, CA 2003
  • Astrea Women’s Foundation, Oakland, California; February 2002
  • California Commission of Addiction, Monterey, California, 2002
  • UC Santa Cruz, Convocation, Santa Cruz, California, January 2002
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights, 2001, 2002
  • National Lesbian and Gay Leadership Forum Conference, 2001
  • Women of Color Resource Center, Berkeley, California; August 2001



  • BayAreaRising VDay Ending Violence Against Women Performance, 2012 to Present
  • San Francisco Gay Pride, 2004, ’07, ’12, ’13
  • Art in Nature Festival, Oakland, CA 2011
  • San Francisco World Percussion Arts Festival, 2010
  • Tamra Engle, Cougar Rock Performances, 2009, 2010
  • British Columbia Teaching and Performance Tour, Fall 2007, Fall 2008
  • Amazones Women Master Drummers Troupe of Guinea, 2007 to 2008
  • Pele Juju World Beat Rock Band, Fall 2006
  • Skin on Skin Drum ‘n Dance Troupe, 1997 to Present
  • Electric Angels Harp Band, Spring 2004
  • Michigan Women’s Music Festival, Summer 2003, 2004, 2005
  • Purple Moon Dance Project, 1996 – 2000



  • African Women and The Drum, Holy Names Unversity, 2013
  • Skin Songs: Women on the Drum, Dance Brigade, Dance Mission Theater, 2008
  • Brown Gals Rising, featuring Actors Lisa Arindell Anderson, Nicole Parker, Elise Neal
  • Manhattan Class Company, Fifth Annual Class 1-Acts
  • Santa Cruz Dance Gallery, Bank Street College of Education, Vassar College, New York Division of Youth, Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, Audre Lorde Women’s Poetry Center.



  • Created Piñata Dance Collective Video, 2014
  • Piñata 2013 Soundtrack and Assistant Director for Liz Boubion
  • Piñata Dance Collective – Natural Disasters and Catastrophes with Dancer, Choreographer Liz Boubion, 2011 to Present
  • Drumming Destiny: to be published in 2015
  • Grace and Fierceness:  A Documentary on the life of Afia Walking Tree by Zemaya Martinez, June 2011
  • Spirit Drumz Enews:  Online Drumming News on The Medicine of the Drum, 2008 to Present
  • Soul Affirmationz, recorded 2000; re-mastered 2003, 2010, 2011 (over 3000 copies sold)
  • I Am The Drum Journal of Daily Affirmationz, 2005, 2008, 2010
  • Life in Afraka Documentary Film, October 2005
  • Into the Rhythm by Debbie Nargi and Friends, 2004
  • Sum Of Us Quartet CD, California, April 2003
  • Gather The Women Theme Song with Electric Angel Band, Feb 2003
  • Transformative Leadership Training Resource Guide, 2003
  • How Drumz Came from Africa Children’s Book (English & Spanish), 2001
  • Liberty Partnerships Program, documentary for Summer Academy, 1999
  • Santa Rosa Public Access TV, Performance, California; August 1998
  • Spirit Drumz: Affirming Community Spirit through Percussion & Ritual, 1998
  • In Da House: Multicultural Theme Housing Oakes College, documentary, 1995
  • Souls A’ Gathered CD by Ase Drumming Circle, New York; 1994



  • Numerous Interviews for several books and videos
  • KPFA 2013, ’14, ’15, ’16
  • Juicy Radio, Santa Fe, 2015
  • Oakland Tribune, Bay Area Friendly Landscaping Featured Walking Tree Essentials, March 2014
  • Oakland Museum Photo Exhibit: Artists of the Bay Area by Lonny Shavelson, 2008
  • KPFA 94.1FM, Elemental Roots Show, Berkeley, 1998, 2008; 2014
  • NPR National Broadcast by Lonny Shavelson The Underground Drum Sanctuary and Harriet Tubman, 2004
  • Bay Area Business Women’s News, East Bay Lesbians March to the Beat of Their Own Drums, July 2004
  • Desert Sun Newspaper, Give Peace a Chance, October 2003
  • Bay Area Business Women’s News The Underground Drum Sanctuary in East Oakland, Spring 2003
  • Oakland Tribune Walking Tree of Spirit Drumz leads Sistahs Steppin/ March with Drums, Sept 2002
  • Bay Area Business Women’s News, Community Activists Respond to 911, September 2001
  • KZSC 88.1FM, Ladies of Jazz Program, Soul Affirmationz CD Release, April 1999
  • Village Heartbeat Magazine, Spiritual Leader and Drummer; December 1998
  • UC Santa Cruz, Independent Project: Local Santa Cruz Artist Lives; October 1998
  • Women’s Voices Newspaper, Walking Tree: Walking Her Joy, September 1998




  • Bank Street College of Education, Masters in Education, May 1994, Special Education & Adolescent Development
  • Vassar College, Bachelor of Arts, May 1990, Psychology, Africana & Women’s Studies
  • LaGuardia Community College, 1986 to 1987 Dean’s List, Accounting and Liberal Arts
  • Holy Childhood High School, 1978 – 1985, Jamaica, West Indies 


Contractual Engagements (Self-employed, Independent Artivist)

December to January 2017 – Lead 2 women’s drumming retreats in Jamaica, WI

January 2016 Led 20-woman drum, healing culture retreat to Jamaica, West Indies

2014 – Present Instructor, Ruby Bridges Elementary School – Garden & Nutrition Club & Drumming

2015 – Present  Instructor, Meadows Livingstone School fr African American children – Drumming, SF, CA

2012 – 2015 Non-Voting Resident (’12-’13) & Community Member Green Valley Eco-Village Rhythms Arts Sanctuary, Sebastopol, CA

2006, 2008 Lead Two Drum, Dance, Culture Pilgrimages to Guinea and Ghana, West Africa

2007 – Present Founding Lead Design Gardener, Walking Tree Essentials Permaculture, Bay Area, CA

1996 – Present Founder, Executive Director, Spirit Drumz, Bay Area, CA

2001 – 2006 Founder, Dean, Lead Instructor, The Underground Drum Sanctuary School, Oakland, CA

2007 – Present Instructor, Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, Oakland, CA

2001 – 2011 Orchestra Director, Sistahs Steppin’ In Pride, Oakland, CA

1995 – 1998 Residential Life-Student Affairs Manager, University of Cali at Santa Cruz

1990 – 1999 Program Coordinator, Instructor, Advocate, Bank Street College of Education, NY NY

1987 – 1990 Assistant to Dean of Students, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, NY



  • Women Drummers International, Board Member, 2008 to Present
  • Care Strategies, 2015 to Present
  • Oakland Impact HUB, 2014 to present
  • One Billion Rising, Bay Area Rising, 2012 – Present
  • Pathways to Resistance, 2014, 2015
  • Million Women Drummers Gathering, 2010 to Present
  • Vassar College Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association, 1990 to Present
  • Sistahs Steppin’ in Pride, Core Committee Activist, 2002 – Present
  • Health Adventures Education Network, Board Vice President, 1998 – 2007
  • Mother River Spirit, Excelling in Diversity, 1995 to 1999
  • Women of Color Research Cluster, UC, Santa Cruz, 1995 to 1998
  • Student Retention Steering Committee, UC, Santa Cruz, 1995
  • Bank Street College, Liberty Partnerships Program, 1991 to 1999
  • Black Women’s Caucus, Founder, Vassar College, 1989



  • Raised $40,000 to purchase Drum Mobile for our organization Spirit Drumz, 2015
  • Nia Gathering, Honored for Leadership in Creating a Legacy of Women Drummers in California and Beyond, 2013
  • San Francisco Vanguard Foundation, Sabbatical Grant, $14,500, 2005 – 2006
  • Fundraised $20,000 for intensive study as Cultural Ambassador in Guinea & Ghana, January to April, 2005
  • Indigenous Initiation as Queen of Ajuba Lineage, December 19, 2004
  • Oakland Cultural Funding $9,000 2002-2003
  • Serpent Source Foundation Grantee, 1998
  • Cultural Council, Santa Cruz, SPECTRA PLUS Artist-in-Residence, 1998 to 2000
  • Shirley Butler Oaks Scholar, Vassar College, 1987 to 1990


Partial List of Teachers, Coaches, and Mentors 

Abdulai Diakete

Babatunde Olatunji

Chief Nana Brakatu Brempong III

Debbie McGee

Edwina Tyler

Fred Simpson

Jules Stept

Lamine Bangoura

Lamine Dibo Camara

Lea Arellano

Mabiba Baegne

Mamady Keita

Master Alex Feng (Tai Chi)

Master Bingkun Hu (Chi Gong)

Phyllis Bethel

Yamoussa Soumah



Afro-Brazilian (Surdo, Repinique, Agogo, Ganza)

Afro-Caribbean (Nyabingi, Steel Pan, Calypso)

Afro-Cuban (Congas, Shekeres, Bells, Bongos)

Afro-Haitian (Manman, Segon, Boula)

Nature-based instrumentation

Voice and Body Percussion

West African (Djembe, Dununs, Krin, Gongoma, Kpanlogo, Ngoma, Dance, Song, Storytelling)

Indonesian Gamelan

Japanese Taiko

Middle Eastern, (Dumbek, Riqq, Bodran)


Permaculture, Landscaping & Building Teachers

Karlene Thomas, Mommy

Elsada Nee Bair Thomas, Grandmama (1919 – 2014)

Virginia Reynolds, Redwood Valley Homestead Farming

Penny Livingston and James Stark,

Ingrid Martin,

Salvador Beccerra, Builder, Landscape Contractor, Gardener

Edwin Rodriguez, ER Home Improvements


PERSONAL REFERENCES & PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES: Available Upon Request and on Testimonials