Derek was born in the Bahamas, where storytelling was a vital part of the cultural tradition. He studied music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts and for the past 30 years has performed with the International music group Voice of the Turtle, specializing in music of the Sephardic Jews. The four member group has traveled the world performing and has 12 recordings of this distinctive genre. Derek has also performed in many countries as a solo classical guitarist, flutist and singer.

As an educator, Derek presents a variety of workshops for students, educators and storytellers and has been adjunct faculty at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and at Framingham State College for many years. He has appeared as a keynote speaker and workshop leader in these venues and in the medical field using stories to look at diversity, healing, cross-cultural understanding and conflict resolution. At Brandeis University, he used the power of storytelling with Israeli and Palestinian students to overcome prejudice by helping them identify their common humanity.

Derek is the recipient of a Massachusetts Artist Foundation Fellowship for Storytelling. He has received other grants for his folk research, and funding from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities for his compelling program about AIDS, entitled "Reflecting Stories." Read more about Burrows on his website,