“Each night's dreams provide you with a rich bed of creativity ...spread out before you in great profusion
..... They remind me that my soul is on a great, joyous Journey.... to manifest itself in flesh.
if you are afraid of your dreams you are afraid of yourself..."   ~Mike Nelson

Mike Nelson is a world-travelled veteran of the STL music scene having been shaped by strong family and community influences. He has spent over 25 years performing, teaching, recording and project based world travel. His present research is ethno musicology, archo acoustics and environmental resilience, he is also an award winning environmental educator.

Starting formal music instruction in the 6th grade by noted Saxophonist Oliver Lake he began his early career in the pursuit of being a jazz trumpeter. While in college he began playing professionally. On returning to STL he was introduced to Katherine Dunham her training center. There he spent 10 years learning African, Afro Cuban and Haitian drum and dance. He worked with Mrs. Dunham until her death. Baba Mike is noted for his versatility in combining indigenous instruments within modern music and theatrical frameworks.  He is bandleader for three working ensembles he has formed and is well known for his shell horn performances in jazz and traditional settings.

Considered a “renaissance man “ by his colleagues because of his interest in the arts and science his present time is spent traveling to the Caribbean and south America  to complete work on a book and multi- media project on shell horns. His long tenure of tours, concerts and recorded work are too long to mention here.

 “I grew up in a neighborhood surrounded by St. Louis’s greatest jazz and blues artist like Albert King, Oliver Sain, David Hines, Lester Bowie and Freddie Washington. While at Fisk University my aunts and uncles helped established SNCC and went to founded the “ Freedom Singers “ during the Civil rights movement. My Aunt Bernice Reagan went on to establish “Sweet Honey In the Rock” as one the world’s most innovative accapello singing groups. “

“Folk music was a strong influence in my life.”

Mike Nelson

“ I live my life in ever widening circles, having learned more from the natural world than all the schools of mankind."

~Baba Mike


"My approach to all that I do in music involves the integration with science

so I teach and I play therefore I demonstrate, the result is engagement, I believe this is the best way to learn and expose your mind to new ideas and the unlimited knowledge that is here for us."


Environmental Sciences Educator and Trainer