May 17, 2013


Almost three decades ago an animated group of music lovers and adventurers met on a campsite outside of Bristol to celebrate their love of drumming and culture. Their aim was to acknowledge the drum at the heart of music, recognising the importance of the artists as carriers of cultural authenticity, bringing a little slice of West African goodness to the merry fields of England. Over the years lots of loving has nurtured this tiny seed that has grown into a thriving community. The drum was our inspiration and our focus quickly grew to include all aspects of music, dance and song from across the world. Tribe of Doris is not only an organisation but a collective of people who are passionate about engaging with each other and the world around us. Through community events, festivals, a Summer School and gatherings we continue to spread our love of diversity and culture. We are a Bristol based organisation with an international reach, so if you want to get involved click here

The 2018 Summer School runs between 8th - 12th August 2018

Mission Statement

"Creating opportunities for cultural understanding and a sense of belonging through music, dance, song and ceremony from around the globe"


"A world sharing and celebrating culture through the joy of the arts"

What are we doing to realise our vision?

As well as our highly respected Summer School which started in 1991, we have hosted drum camps, city events and workshops in the South West and beyond. We also regularly contribute to major festivals such as Shambala and Sunrise. One thing that underpins all of our work is a passion to make our gatherings accessible to all members of the community. This includes working closely with community groups and refugees, helping them secure funding or in some cases subsidising their tickets. We also encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to explore our events together and have a strong commitment to youth engagement. Our gatherings make the most of England's natural beauty as we serenade the stars and gather around the campfire. Together we learn, teach, participate and enjoy, immersing ourselves in a unique community experience.

 Why are we called Tribe of Doris?

'Names appear from the ether and are given to us from the spirits. We grow into them as people and as organisations.'  Deasy Bamford, co-founder.

Tribe of Doris was born on the wave of djembe drumming and dance that came to UK in the late 80’s. The name was thought up as a one off name for a group of drummers. It was a humorous nod to the rise of identification with various goddesses and Doris seemed to be more down to earth and representative of real people. The tribe element recognises that we all want to belong to something and that we often lack accessible village wisdom and opportunities to engage in the diverse cultures that are to be found both in the UK and beyond.

Past, Present & Future

We recently embarked on a major development review, funded by Arts Council England. As part of this we are currently dreaming and preparing our five year plan to expand our reach, deepen our community base and explore ideas around cultural identity, creativity and education.

Over the years, Doris has worked with renowned teachers from North, South, East and West Africa including Seckou Keita and other members of his talented family including Surahata Susso, and Mamadou and Binta Cissokho. Other African highlights have included mbira maestro Chartwell Dutiro, Sabar whiz Moudou Diouf, Amazing dancer Amel Tafsout, Hassan Erraji from Morocco and Moroccan trance musicians Jil Gnawa. South America and the Caribbean have brought us Jean Abreu, Laercio dos Anjos Borges, Claudio Kron, Mariana Pinho and Colombian superstar Totó la Momposina.  Check out an article in the Guardian 

We have developed a great reputation for our work and the rich community that stretches across the UK. Children have “grown up" in Doris with more people joining us each year and finding a place to be themselves within our community. Our cultural world village experience of learning and sharing allows people to explore areas of their lives that really benefit from being refreshed and revitalized. We are very excited that we can branch out in “the heart of rural England” at Stanford Hall, Lutterworth near Leicester.

In 2016 Tribe of Doris launched the Diverse Artist Network in Bristol, the aim being to bring together artists, venues and promoters so they can network and create partnerships. It has helped people working across the arts sector to understand the challenges faced by under represented artists hearing first hand what would make a difference.  Tribe of Doris received Arts Council Funding to organise DAN networking meetings and CPD sessions and the momentum has led to individual and organisational memberships take DAN forward. For more info click here