With her smooth rhythms and powerful vocals she has also backed the likes of reggae/soul artist, Mishka, whose recent album, Above the Bones, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae charts and has opened for Burning Spear and Clinton Ferron.
The youngest of five children Marilyn grew up in rural Tennessee raised by her single mom who provided everything by the sweat of her own brow. Always the dutiful child she learned early in life that by working hard one can do anything they put their mind to.
By the time Marilyn reached college she had no interest left in the indoctrination of education. During the last semester she completed, Marilyn took several dance classes, one of which was a west African dance class. That class blew her away with the live drumming, and it really awakened something deep inside her . That class changed her life so much that she left school, bought a drum (djembe) and hitchhiked to California in December of 1994 at the age of 21.
In January of '95, she met Abdoualye Diakite, a true Bambara master drummer from Tambacounda, Senegal, Africa. Upon meeting him Marilyn began the journey of the drum and never looked back. Her life became consumed with dance and drum (djembe and dundun) classes, rehearsals and performances seven days of the week for more than six straight years. During this time she made two sojourns of four months to west Africa, traveling, performing and studying drumming, dance and culture. Marilyn's drum master brought her to Africa to show the people that women can drum. In her travels she was hailed a great drummer and dancer by these African peoples, and she even performed with two African ballets while there.
After that she continued studying and went on to do more teaching and performing of west African drums and dance throughout California, the western US and BC. Marilyn has also successfully founded, directed and choreographed numerous west African drum and dance ensembles, including the Afreaks, Nyokabok, and Wara Foli among others, performing widely in California, the western US and BC. At the present she resides in Nelson, BC and is creating dance choreography to accompany Soundserious music with her troupe, Afro Stylie Percussive Dance Experience, a female ensemble of dancing drummers.
"I've been in love with the art of dance since childhood. I've dabbled in many dance forms in addition to west African like Congolese, Hip Hop, Flamenco, Ballet, Tap, Belly, Modern, et al ~I love Krump!~ and, in my heart, the only thing that compares to dancing is drumming," Marilyn says. "It's dancing that has brought me to drumming. Rhythm IS life." Keep your ears peeled, you'll be hearing alot more of this beauty.
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Drum Dungeon Bio - MARILYN M. HATFIELD
Marilyn M. Hatfield (born February 16, 1973), is an American singer and drummer of dynamic proportions. She offers an authentic, polyrhythmic style built through 15 years of traditional tribal drumming and dance study, and she plays a drum kit like no other. In addition to the toms, floor tom, kick, cow bell, spd-s sampling pad, hats and cymbals, her kit incorporates three west African dunduns (cylindrical double headed cow skinned drums) and two bugarabu, (similar to a djembe in shape but also with cow skin). She uses a Gibraltar double kick pedal though not in the way you might expect. Due to the arrangement of the kit, the kick actually sits behind her, and she plays the left pedal which moves both beaters in unison, giving her kick an added punch. Her rhythms have a serious drive with an almost techno edge although she plays only live beats, no loops, with smatterings of digital sound samples, and her voice is powerful and rich. The fact that she sings while she plays gives her drumming a very melodic feel, and her ability to connect with the audience makes her a stellar performer that blows people's minds every time. More than a singing drummer, Marilyn is also a songwriter, guitarist, dance teacher and choreographer.
Besides studying, performing and teaching tribal rhythms, since 2005, she has drawn on the inspiration and the technique she has acquired studying the traditional and is now, along with her husband, Troy Falck, creating the utterly unconventional as lead vocalist, drummer and dancer of the trio Soundserious, a captivatingly original Psychedelic/Funk/ Rock/ Percussion experience of pure delight.
In the five years since the groups inception, they have released three underground recordings and are at present putting the finishing touches on their debut studio release. Guitar virtuoso, Daryl Thompson, perhaps best known for recording and touring with Peter Tosh, Sly and Robbie and Isaac Hayes among others, is mixing and laying some guitar tracks on the record. "It reminds me of where I come from," says Thompson of Marilyn's tasty vocal stylings. "We're gonna take the world by storm with this record."