Born in born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Derek has been a percussionist and drummer for 14 years. He was introduced to Caribbean and African percussion only when he moved to Montreal at age 20. While studying English literature at McGill University, he learned Afro-Cuban percussion from masters Glen Clarke and Vovo, founder of the Montreal Jazz Festival. He studied Trinidadian, Cuban, and West African percussion instruments and styles with Glen Clarke, Luisito Orbegoso, and Guinean master Mohamed Diaby.
In 1992 he became a founding member of Montreal's Keteke group. Since then, he has performed and recorded with company Ballet Creole, Trinidadian band Moka and Kobo Town.
Derek’s development as a freelance percussionist saw him stretching into genres and sounds well beyond the traditions of his teachers. He established himself as an African and Caribbean drummer with such acts as Ballet Creole, Ijo Vudu African Dance, and ‘Brownman’ Ali’s Bacchanal All-Stars, while pushing the boundaries of his native calypso genre with Moka and Kobo Town. He has also ventured into world music with Waleed Abdulhamid, Madagascar Slim, and Donné Robert; jazz with Neil Brathwaite and Larra Skye; and R&B with Jennie Laws, Carlos Morgan, and Zaki Ibrahim.
A Toronto resident since 1998, Derek has frequently appeared live on CBC Radio 2, and entertained on almost every Ontario stage from Ottawa to Kenora. His travels abroad have brought him to Memphis, Pasadena, New York City’s BAMCafé and Madison Square Garden, and to Berlin and Nuremberg in Germany.
Derek currently resides in Toronto with his wife and daughter.