Born in Lusaka, Zambia, in 1954. Moved to England in 1964 and to Holland in 1967. Started playing drums in 1968. Self-taught, except for a few private lessons with jazz-drummer Art Taylor and workshops led by Afro-Caribbean percussionist Raul Burnet.
Studied Philosophy and American Studies at Leicester University, England, for one year before becoming a professional musician in 1974.
Drummer with saxophonist Gijs Hendriks from 1975 to 1981, recording & co-producing six albums – with amongst others Slide Hampton, Siggi Kessler, Joe Diorio, Stan Tracey, Kenny Wheeler. Festivals of Laren (NL), Northsea (NL), Meervaart (NL), Lille (F), Balver Höhle (D), Jazz Jamboree (PL). Drum workshop leader. Many radio broadcasts. Co-founder of the Utrecht Jazz Foundation.
Free-lance musician. Created the multi-media group The One Voice Ensemble in 1984. Started composing.
Created the group Sharp Wood in 1985, which he led for ten years – playing in Holland, Belgium, Germany, France. Recorded and produced three albums. Festivals of Bollène (F), Northsea (NL), Paradiso Percussion (NL), Grenoble (F), SJU Jazz (NL), Leverkusen (D), Liège (B), Herford (D). Many radio broadcasts. Tv broadcasts. Workshop leader. Also played in André Jaume/Jean-Marc Montera Quintet, Dick de Graaf/ Serge Lazarevitch Quartet, the group Vogelvijf – Festivals of Martigues (F), Middelsee (NL), tour of Italy, album with Vogelvijf. Invited to the Baden-Baden New Jazz Meeting of 1993. Music-theatre project 'Permanent Extinction' in 1994. Composition commission for 'Pygmees & Elephants' project – Sharp Wood plus two tuba's – in 1995, radio broadcast. Disbanded Sharp Wood. Composition commission for project by painter Marijke Nielen.
1996: music for nature documentary 'The War of the Ants'. Solo percussion performances in Holland. Received scholarship from Dutch Ministry of Culture to study the music of Zambia & Zimbabwe. Research at International Library of African Music (ILAM), Grahamstown, South Africa. Field recordings in Zambia for VPRO Radio. Recorded and produced the album 'On Remote Patrol', featuring international musicians. 1997: created octet Utrecht Deep Artment. Composition commission for Utrecht Deep Artment. Created 'soundscape' for travelling exhibition about the Batonga from the Zambezi Valley. Produced Batonga album of own recordings.
1998 to now: recorded & produced cd 'Sirenians' by Utrecht Deep Artment – concerts in Holland, radio broadcast. Further research at ILAM, Grahamstown, South Africa. Produced first four albums of a new series of Hugh Tracey recordings from the ILAM archive. Composition commission for music coming out of a large gap created by an archeological dig. Compiled 7 radio broadcasts of African music for Dutch and Belgian radio. SJU Jazz Festival with Utrecht Deep Artment in 1999, radio broadcast. Series of workshops in South Africa for the Gaudeamus Foundation. Created quintet Cape-Ability with South African musicians, concerts in South Africa in 2000. Created the septet Trendy 3D Junk in 2001. Has to date produced a total of 18 albums in his Hugh Tracey series. Recorded in 2002 in Southern Province, Zambia, resulting in cd 'Zambia Roadside'. Recorded and produced solo cd 'Gongs and Bells': concept – buddists along the Zambezi. Composition commission for theatre production of Peer Gynt. Created the quintet African Abstractions in 2003. In 2004 composition commission for project 'Angel with Black Hair' by painter Marijke Nielen, composition commission for Music Meeting Festival in Nijmegen for African Abstractions plus special guests Rick van Heerden and Konkie Halmeyer.