LEAF Learning Journey

Join our 1st LEAF Learning Journey! All levels welcomed!

May 10-11 (Tues-Wed) at LEAF Global Arts (19 Eagle St., Suite 120, Asheville NC 28801)

Introducing LEAF’s first workshop series with Master Artists! For the first time ever, you’ll be able to experience taking classes from legendary masters, culminating in a performance on the first day of the LEAF Retreat, May 12, 2022! 

There are 2 tracks of study for this year’s series: Creative Writing (prose, memoir writing and spoken word) & Music (theory, history and percussion).  Bring your instruments, poems and songs, but most of all, bring your curiosity! Check out the full Lineup of artists, the schedule, and different packages below!



LEAF Learning Journeys’ Master Teaching Artists

Click on Images for Bios & Learning Journey Class Overview


Learning Journey Schedule

(Subject To Change)

There will also be dance workshops that will liven up the courses with some creative movement, featuring:

Belly Dancing & Latin Dance with Monika Guerra

Click the links below to explore the full Learning Journey schedule and different registration packages! We’ll see you this May for this amazing and uplifting journey into music and writing!


–          Take a single class for $20

–          Get a single day pass for $125

–          Take all the classes for $200

Pres Hall

The Preservation Hall All Stars

The incomparable Kevin Louis of Preservation Hall is a 1995 graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). He received his Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music (’99), and a Masters of Arts from the Aaron Copeland’s School of Music at Queens College (’01).

He has toured at least thirty countries as a performer, clinician and private instructor, which included five tours through regions in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America as a U.S. Department of State John F. Kennedy Center Jazz Ambassador. As a Preservation Hall trumpeter and bandleader, Kevin is deeply involved in music education initiatives with the Preservation Hall Foundation, and serves as a beloved clinician and mentor to young musicians. 

Learning Journey Class Description: Preservation Hall Masterclasses focus on Brass Band and Traditional New Orleans Jazz technique, history and context. This is a behind-the-scenes learning opportunity for students and musicians to see how a Traditional Jazz band works together through collective improvisation around timeless repertoire developed in New Orleans at the birth of jazz in the early 20th Century. Come learn more about brass culture and bring your instrument regardless if it’s brass or not!

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo aka Cactus

The indelible Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is a Grammy winning, internationally touring performer and teacher. He and his traveling band have headlined family festivals in Canada, India, and Australia, as well as rocking sets across the U.S., from Lollapalooza to the Smithsonian. He is the author of two published childrens’ books and a young adult Audible Original audiobook on the craft of rhyme writing, created in collaboration with hip-hop pioneer Grandmaster Caz. He recently won a grand prize in the 2020 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and is about to release an elementary school curriculum created in collaboration with Asheville Symphony. He has taught rhyme writing workshops around the world for more than a decade.

Learning Journey Course Description: Grammy winning hip-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo will teach an all ages rhyme writing workshop that shines a light on each step, from the page to the stage. Although the art of rhyme writing may seem overwhelming to a beginner, 23 Skidoo has created a program that breaks the process down into easy steps that anyone can accomplish. From understanding different techniques of finding rhyming words and writing bars to learning mic control and stage presence, each student will start by writing their own original piece and finish onstage rocking for the crowd. Please bring an open mind and some of your favorite words.

Leah Song of Rising Appalachia

The unmatchable Leah Song hails from the amazing and inspiring group Rising Appalachia, an American Appalachian folk music group led by multi-instrumentalist sisters Leah Song and Chloe Smith. Leah also performs as a solo artist. Based between Atlanta, New Orleans, and the Asheville area of North Carolina, Leah works with an array of international musicians and she incorporates everything from simple harmonics with banjos and fiddles, to a wide variety of drums, kalimbas, beatbox, djembe, balafon, congas, didgeridoo, tablas, spoons and washboard creating a full mix of world, folk and soul music.

Learning Journey Course Description: Leah will lead master classes in singing, with a dive-in into the concept of “Exploration through The Voice.”

Masankho Banda

The legendary Masankho K. Banda learned the fine arts of storytelling and dance from his elders. In their company, he spent many long days and nights listening to stories and dancing to music that captivated his mind, nourished his soul, and strengthened his spirit.

Masankho earned a degree in Theater and Dance from the College of Wooster in Ohio. After graduating, Masankho chose to devote his life to using dance, theater, music, drumming, and storytelling to inspire people of all ages to work together to bring about peace, social justice, and cultural understanding.

In addition to his BA Masankho also has a Masters Degree in Culture & Spirituality from the Sophia Center at Holy Names University in Oakland. Currently Masankho is a Consultant with Creative Events Consulting & Investments, a member of Pathways To Peace an International Peace Building organization based in Larkspur, CA and an Interplay leader with Bodywisdom inc.

Learning Journey Course Description: 
Masankho – an “Unsung Hero of Compassion” award recipient from the Dalai Lama is also a multi-disciplinary Performing Artist, InterPlay Leader, Spiritual Healer, and Peace Builder from Malawi, Central Africa. He will focus on the importance & power of music in Malawian culture specifically & African culture in general. The students will learn cultural songs & dances from Malawi, Nigeria, Zimbabwe & South Africa.  Masankho learned to dance and tell stories in Malawi growing up as a child. His Elders also taught him about gratitude, healing and subtle energy. This interactive residency will draw upon Masankho’s lifelong commitment to peace, healing and bringing community together,

Masankho brings the wisdom of the ancestors to this pulsing workshop. Come to give respect to those who have gone before, remember that we have to take care of the earth and celebrate the power of love. Come ready to dance, sing and if you have a drum bring it and join in the drumming!

Elder Roy Harris

Local historian, mentor and storyteller Roy Haris hails from the small hamlet of Scranton, NC, nestled on the coast of North Carolina. He received an education at  A&T State University in the Piedmont and now resides in the Asheville area of Western North Carolina. He is uniquely qualified to yarn tales from Murphy to Manteo.  Roy comes by his storytelling ability via the front porch of his grandmother’s homes and sitting silently and learning.

He is a deacon, father, and grandfather and is able to see a story through minute details and always finds a lesson to be learned. His engineering background enables him to see things in different dimensions and he uses this keen ability for storytelling.

 “I’ve been telling stories all of my life and didn’t even know it!”

Now you can learn how to tell a story with confidence, practice how to speak in public and keep your audience engaged.

Learning Journey Course Description: Elder Roy Harris is teaching a crash-course in the art of Storytelling.

Jahman Hill

The eclectic and inspiring Jahman Hill is an award-winning poet, playwright, and professor. In 2018, Jahman claimced the title of 3rd best slam poet in the world, and in 2019 he wrote, produced, and starred in an award-winning one-man show, Black Enough, which played off-Broadway. Jahman Hill has become a sought after poet internationally. His poetry videos have garnered millions of views online. Jahman is a professor at the University of Alabama where he received Master’s degrees in both Communication Studies and Women’s Studies. The core of Jahman’s creative work centers around “The Flourish”, or the idea that Black people are infinitely possible beings.

Learning Journey Course Description: Jahman will be teaching master classes on the four pillars of performance poetry.

Belly Dancing & Latin Dance with Monika Guerra

Born in Miami, Fl from a mixed heritage (Colombian Father and German Mother ) Monika began her dance training at the young age of 4 years old. She sang and studied Musical Theatre in High School .She then moved to NYC to pursue her dance career. New York changed her whole direction in dance and as she became an adult, she thrived for ethnic dance forms.
She began studying African Dance in college in NY. She took a class on Ethnic Dance which led her in the direction of Middle Eastern Dance . She then studied with Tamalyn Dallal at Middle Eastern Dance Exchange in Miami, Fl. Monika became a troupe member of The Middle Eastern Dance Exchange where she toured and produced a sold out theater production called” Emerald Dreams.”
Monika has worked in the entertainment business for top entertainment companies, performing in choreographed shows , videos and taught classes. She has been dancing professionally for the past 25 years in Miami, NYC and abroad.

Learning Journey Course Description: A dive into traditional Belly Dancing and Latin dances like: Mambo, Salsa and Samba.


Mayani is a Maasai boy from longido Arusha. He went to boarding school at 6 years old and lost his Maasai language and tradition. Since joining the LEAF program, he has learned to sing Maasai songs, practiced the ‘jump’ tradition and wear Maasai shukas (traditional clothing). Mayani is extremely happy and is currently teaching other youth the culture.