Musical & Dance Directors
Musical Director - Simon Preston
Simon is an accomplished percussionist with over thirty years experience and is Musical Director of Samba Galêz.
Since building his first percussion set out of a deck chair, old wood and library books, Simon has lived and studied drums and marimba in Tanzania (Bagamoyo College of Music) and Ghana, and congas in Cuba and the USA, most notably at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts.
Simon has performed as a percussionist around the UK and the world, including Europe, Brazil, Equador and the USA.
Simon is keen to pass on his skills – most notably to Samba Galez, where he continues to push the boundaries of Afro-Brazilian percussion. He combines a knowledge and technique of roots drumming with a love of new and contemporary rhythms.
Dance Director - Cathryn McShane-Kouyaté
Cathryn McShane-Kouyaté has been an active member of our Samba Galêz dance team since 2009 and took over as permanent dance lead in 2021. Cathryn has over 26 years experience of community arts (especially carnival) as a dancer, maker, and parade coordinator (including Carnifal y Môr to open the National Eisteddfod in Cardiff Bay in 2018), but her passion is for joyful high energy dance of all genres.
Cathryn is probably best known as a British Sign Language-Welsh-English interpreter that has worked on screen and in theatre, and is also a director for the West African arts company The Successors of the Mandingue Ltd managing community arts workshop programmes and initiatives.