Fall 2018

A Taste of Ghana
Drum & Dance from Asante, Ewe, Ga, and Dagomba Traditions

Attah Poku is a prominent master drummer from the Ashanti Region of Ghana, West Africa. Born and raised inside the walls of the Ashanti King's palace, Prof. Poku began training with his grandfather when he was only five years old, and officially joined the Ashanti King's drum ensemble when he was ten. He currently is on leave from employment at the Centre for National Culture in Kumasi, where he is the master drummer for the resident Amamereso Agofomma Folkloric Troupe. Prof. Poku directs the Kiniwe ensemble at Tufts University, and is the Artistic Director of the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society.

Gloria Nyame is originally from Ghana, and currently lives in the Bronx where she dances for the Ahenema Cultural Group, New York City's premiere Ghanaian drum and dance ensemble. She started dancing in the Ashanti Region of Ghana when she was six years old, and danced professionally throughout Ghana and Nigeria with the Centre for National Culture, the Adinkra Cultural Troupe, and the Catholic Youth Organization at St. Peter's Cathedral. Gloria is well known for her graceful movements in the Ashanti dances of Kete and Adowa.

Francis Akotuah is a musician from Accra, Ghana and is now based in Oakland, CA. As an instructor at the University of Ghana for almost two decades, he mentored many of Ghana’s up- and-coming performers and introduced countless students from around the world to Ghanaian traditions. He has performed with Ghana’s leading ensembles and conducted workshops at universities throughout the US, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Comfort Tetteh has been dancing since 1984. She started with a group known as "Ballet" based at the Ghana Arts Center in Accra. She joined the Nileloi Cultural Troupe, also based in Accra, in 1990 as a lead singer. Comfort's amazing dancing and singing talents caught the attention of the handlers of the prestigious Ghana Dance Ensemble, based at the University of Ghana, Legon, and in 1992, the employed her as a principal dancer. She has performed in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Africa, and Botswana. She has also taught and performed in various parts of the United States.

Koblavi Dogah is a man of many names – Victor, Danger Blue, Zogo – just to name a few. Dogah is a percussionist and dancer born in the southern part of Ghana. He started learning Ewe music when he was 5 years old, and by the age of 12, was teaching at the Dagbe Cultural Centre, run by the late Mr. Godwin Agbeli. Koblavi attended Berklee College of Music with the first full-ride scholarship through the African Scholars Program, and received his Bachelor of Music with an Education focus. He has performed and taught workshops at universities such as Berklee, Tufts, and St. Michaels, as well as countless elementary schools, middle schools, festivals, and camps.

Ben Paulding is an American percussionist who extensively lived in Kumasi, Ghana, where he had over 200 performances with the Centre for National Culture and the Nsuase Kete Group. Currently based in Boston, he plays drums/percussion in Kotoko Brass, Air Congo, the Agbekor Society, and the Ahenema Cultural Group (NYC). Ben teaches at Brandeis University, Inspire Arts & Music, and Zumix, and is a member of the Vic Firth Education Team. He holds his Masters Degree in Ethnomusicology from Tufts University, and his BA in World Music Performance from UMASS Dartmouth. Ben’s research on Ghanaian music has been published in Rhythm! Scene, Discourses in African Musicology, and African Music Journal, and has been presented at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Northeastern Chapter for the Society for Ethnomusicology, and Analytical Approaches to World Music.