Leon began to play African drum rhythms in 1967
and studied for ten years with Nigerian master drummer Babatunde
Olatunji at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in Boston,
Massachusetts. Leon has had theatrical training and appeared regularly
on the PBS daily television show Zoom. He is an accomplished musician
and performs regularly in numerous musical genres including jazz,
reggae, and rock. Leon has appeared on the works of many recording
artists and has self-produced four CDs and cassette tapes of djembe
rhythms and songs.
In 1977 Leon studied under the directorship of Senegalese master
drummer Ibrahim Camara (former drummer for the National Ballet of
Senegal) while a member of the Bokan-Deye Dance Company.
Leon studied and performed from 1979 to 1981 in Surinam, South America
and Trinidad Tobago, and the West Indies. He continued his studies
during 1982 in Senegal and Gambia. In 1987 and 1992 he traveled to
Japan, where he taught and performed West African Drumming and Dancing.
While in Japan he visited Sado Island, home of Kodo, the
internationally acclaimed percussion group, in a cultural exchange
program. He traveled to South Africa in 1991-1992 where he performed
with returning exiles Letta Mbulu, Caiphus Semenya, and Hugh Masekela.
From 1993 until 1997, Leon toured the world with Ben Harper. He was
also in Germany, Italy, and Israel producing, recording, and conducting
clinics on his own.
Leon has a great deal of experience teaching African drum rhythms.
While in Boston he taught at community centers, conducted school tours
with the Art of Black Dance and Music, and conducted workshops at
Berklee College of Music. He became musical director at Paige Academy,
a private school in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Leon continued teaching
after moving to Los Angeles in 1986. He conducted weekly classes at
UCLA, Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Theater, Parks and Recreation, and
the Los Angeles High School for the Arts on the campus of Cal State
Mobley is the founder and artistic and musical director of Da Lion and
Djimbe West African Drummers and Dancers. He founded these two groups
in order to help preserve African cultures, and present authentic
traditional West African-American dance and music. Through these two
groups, Leon continues his mission of educating others about the West
African people, their customs, history, and cultural arts as well as
their influence and ties with people in the USA.