WHO WE ARE
Umoja Arts Project and our Tanzanian partner organizations are made possible not only through the contributions of our wonderful teachers, but also through our advisory boards and administrators who dedicate their time to our cause. Get to know us here!
Co-Founder and Director
Liza Barley grew up surrounded by music. She started playing piano at two and a half and violin at four and a half. Liza was constantly making music with others through the Suzuki programs her mother directed. Throughout her youth, Liza was fortunate enough to have many opportunities through her violin teacher, Michele Higa George, to travel all over the world with her violin. Through these experiences and those she gained from attending the Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts, Liza witnessed the power of the arts to connect people from all different backgrounds.
After finishing her Bachelors in Violin Performance at Vanderbilt University in 2005, Liza moved to Arusha, Tanzania. She founded Umoja Music School together with David Seng’enge in late 2006 in hopes of continuing to provide a platform for empowerment through artistic collaboration and performance.
Liza has appeared as a performer and clinician throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as in Israel, Palestine, Argentina, Norway, Portugal, and Gambia, Tanzania and Kenya. She holds a Master of Music in Leadership from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, England. Liza is currently living in the U.S. and working as an independent artist as well as for Umoja Arts Project, USA, developing new projects on the ground.
Administrative Leader, Board Member, Board Chair (Community Arts Trust)
Annette Pierre-Nina, born in Mannheim, Germany in March 1962, has been a resident of Tanzania since 1985. Together with her husband, Francesco, she founded Tanzania Outfitter Safaris, which they have been running successfully for many years. Annette has two daughters, Julia, 24, and Tara, 17, and has been involved in Umoja as a parent in the Suzuki violin program since its inception.
Annette began volunteering for Umoja Music School (Tanzania) as an administrator in 2010. Through her involvement, Annette aims to help Umoja move toward a more sustainable and systematic implementation of all its programs in Tanzania.
Esq., Board Member, Legal Counsel
Alan serves as Managing Partner of Langon Law Group LLC and Langon Colombia S.A.S. Alan specializes in commercial and startup business law as well as international and cross-border transactions.
Alan previously worked as an associate at several prominent international law firms, including Clifford Chance LLP and Morgan Lewis and Bockius LLP. As an attorney, Alan has represented many Fortune 500 companies as well as variety of international corporations and organizations in a multitude of industries, including pharmaceuticals, chemical, weapons, agriculture, telecommunications, and shipping.
Alan earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and studied at Oxford University and at the University of Michigan where he received his B.A. He has been on the Board of Umoja Arts Project since 2011.
Co-Founder/Director and Faculty Member Guitar/Drums/Umoja Ensemble
David Seng’enge was born and raised near the town of Tanga in Tanzania’s coastal region. As a child, David gained his love for music when he was taught the traditional ngoma (singing, dancing, and drumming) of his tribe, the Wasambaa. David holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Makumira University in Music Education with a focus in guitar pedagogy and has traveled twice to the United States to receive Suzuki guitar teacher training with Andrea Cannon. David played a key role in the founding of Umoja Music School in 2006 and has been the Suzuki guitar teacher with the organization ever since.
In addition to a healthy load of Suzuki guitar students, David also teaches drums and a variety of genres including jazz, rock, pop, improvisation and much more in his ensembles. David is the lead coach of the Umoja Ensemble, a traditional ngoma ensemble that Community Arts Trust offers at Albehije Primary school. In addition to his pedagogical endeavours, David is a very prolific performer.
Known as “King David” on stage, he is frequently called to play in various bands and as a soloist all over East Africa. Boy can he light up an audience! David lives in Arusha with his wife and two children, Ray and Catherine.
International Teaching Fellow (Piano and Voice)
Emily was educated at Bromley High School in London, UK where she completed her studies as a classically trained flautist and vocalist. She received scholarships in the Sixth Form and University to continue with opera and choral singing but decided to pursue her career as singer/songwriter and complete her training as a jazz vocalist.
At Southampton University she studied music theory alongside the history of music and minored in vocal performance, graduating with a B.A.MUS in 2009 before going on to complete her PGCE at a masters level in secondary school music. She worked for 3 years in Southampton UK, teaching Music and Dance to A level and creating links between the community and other schools. She arranged music and led orchestras at several local primary schools.
She encouraged projects with Cedar School (a school for children with mental and physical needs) by giving her GCSE students responsibilities to help with organizing concerts and workshops for the school. In addition, she was the vocalist and co-songwriter for 3 separate bands who regularly performed gigs around Hampshire and London.
Emily has focused on developing the mental and physical welfare of children by participating in Music therapy sessions and often leading workshops for children and adults with special needs. She feels that engaging students no matter what age and creating a love for music and making them happy is the most important aspect of her work.
International Teaching Fellow (Violin and Piano)
Ben grew up in Belgium (in the French speaking part, near Waterloo). He started learning violin at the age of 5 with the Suzuki method. At 10 years of age he began tinkling around on piano, and in his teens got a guitar and left all other hobbies behind to play music.
He then went to Southampton University to study music, specializing in classical violin. As well as playing in university orchestras, a piano trio and various classical ensembles, he also performed in musical theater groups and played guitar for singers from the jazz department (including current teacher Emily!). Outside of university he joined an instrumental rock band, got his first taste of touring, and gigged extensively around the south of England.
Upon graduating with a BA in 2010, he moved to Bahrain where he discovered a passion for teaching. He started teaching violin, guitar and piano at a small independent music school, adding cello and drums to his repertoire when he moved to the British School of Bahrain. Over the three years there he helped students pass ABRSM (practical and theory), Trinity Guildhall and Trinity Rock and Pop exams. He led violin folk groups, acoustic guitar and rock bands, and helped set up a beginner string orchestra. He played violin and viola for the Bahrain Sinfonia, and various instruments, from mandolin to double bass, for different local bands. He and his friends/colleagues were very active in creating a local music scene on the island, which was almost non-existent beforehand.
After Bahrain, Ben returned to Europe in 2014 to live in London and Madrid, teaching English and French, and performing in England, Spain, Belgium and Italy.