Ilu Axe

Our name, the words Ilu Axé (Eeloo Ashay) are from the Yoruban language of Nigeria and can be translated as meaning simply drum / rhythm / gathering and positive energy. We chose it in acknowledgement of and as a mark of respect to and for Brazil’s African heritage, and to pretty well describe what we do – dynamic Samba-Reggae drumming and dance performance and teaching.

Based in Bristol UK and Marseille France, Ilu Axé are one of Europe’s premier Blocos Afros (Afro-Brazilian street / carnival drumming groups).

Our music and moves hail from Brazil’s original capital city, the magical and very special Salvador da Bahia, the birthplace of Samba. We mix the rhythms, dance and songs of Samba-Reggae, Samba de Roda (the original Samba found around Salvador), Afoxé, the African / Brazilian religious drumming, dance and songs of Candomblé and our own compositions, arrangements and choreography. This is funky North-East Brazilian style carnival music and dance.

Formed in 2006 in Bristol by Katherine Sowerby and Jon Hardeman, Ilu Axé has grown from a small carnival group, to a family of percussionists, dancers, singers and workshop leaders and teachers.

We run a series of ongoing courses in Bristol at three different levels, Beginner, Intermediate and Stage Group. Together the courses provide a means of continual learning and skill development for our members. We make it supportive, focused and fun.

For performances Ilu Axé can be a six to fifteen person special stage group, or a full carnival group of thirty to fifty drummers. Performances have included several UK International Samba Encounters, many festivals including WOMAD and Glastonbury, St Paul’s carnival, Bristol, a host of other carnivals and street events, plus performance residencies and many other public and private events across the UK.

For workshops, one to one tuition, specialist courses, community development and team building, our team of wonderful and very experienced teacher / facilitators provide a highly professional and creative service. Our Team Building clients have included Guinness, British Telecom, Mitchells & Butlers and many other well-known companies.

All performances and teaching / workshop facilitating can be tailored to suit any specific venue and event requirements.

Whether it’s performing or teaching, Ilu Axé are always imaginative, vibrant, inclusive and empowering.

Our philosophy is simple; ‘make it fun, make it accessible, make it dynamic’.