1: 6/26/2023 - 7/9/2023
Immerse yourself in the intricate polyrhythmic drumming and the graceful yet explosive dancing of the Asante Kingdom of Ghana, West Africa. Rehearse daily with master artists and culture-bearers from Ghana as they break down complex drum patterns and accompanying dance movements while demonstrating how the performing arts preserve history and perpetuate living culture. Instruction will accommodate varying learning styles and levels of experience, and students will have the opportunity to learn both drumming and dancing before specializing as we prepare for the student showcase.
The ideal student for this class will already have a foundation in rhythm and percussion, dance, or both, and an interest in world music generally, if not African music specifically. The class would also be great for students studying African history or language, with a strong sense of rhythm if they aren't already musicians or dancers.
Personal Statement: Describe your interest in the course, as well as any relevant experience, including course work or extracurricular musical or dance experience.
Francis Kofi Akotuah is a drummer from Ghana, West Africa. Born and raised in the capital city of Accra, Francis has been steeped in the sounds of Ghana’s many musical cultures since childhood. Francis taught at the University of Ghana School of Performing Arts for 18 years before moving to the U.S. in 2016. He is now based in the Bay Area, teaching students of all ages at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts as well directing Ghanaian ensembles at UC Santa Cruz, Sacramento State University, and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.
Emmanuel Attah Poku
Emmanuel Attah Poku began training as a drummer at the age of five and officially joined the drum ensemble in the Asante King’s palace at just ten years old. He has served as a drummer for the Kumasi Centre for National Culture, the Asante King's Fontomfrom ensemble, and the renowned Nsuase Kete group. Attah currently directs the Kiniwe African Music and Dance Ensemble at Tufts University.
From the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Michael Ofori is a multifaceted Pan African performing artist and educator who explores the richness of indigenous art forms and how they can push the boundaries of contemporary creative works. He has performed with numerous renowned groups in Ghana. In the US, Ofori performs with Kotoko Brass and Gye Nyame Kete.
Hailing from the shores surrounding Ghana’s famous Lake Bosomtwe and now based in Columbus, OH, Gloria Nyame maintains a busy schedule as one of the most in-demand dancers at Ghanaian social events in the US. Before emigrating, she performed and traveled around Ghana and Africa with the Kumasi Centre for National Culture.
Kwaku Oppong Manu
Born in Ashanti Region of Ghana, Kwaku Manu started his training as a dancer/drummer with Adehyema Theater Company. He co-founded Obrempong Kete group based in Asante New Town. Manu received education and further training at the University of Ghana. He currently teaches at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts and assists Prof. CK Ladzekpo at UC Berkeley.
Richard Dwomoh began his multifaceted performing career as a child and spent more than a decade dancing and drumming with the Kumasi Centre for National Culture and the renowned Nsuase Kete group before relocating to the US. He now travels to perform around the country.