Nani Agbeli Workshop!

Yesterday we welcomed guest artist Nani Agbeli to Ottawa to begin his residency with Baobab Youth and Carleton University’s West African Rhythm Ensemble. Both groups are working towards our November 23 concert “Gahu, EH!” which will take place at Kailash Mitel Theatre on the Carleton Campus.

Nani is based in Boston where he teaches at Tufts University and Berklee. He is originally from the Ewe village of Kopeyia, near the border of Ghana and Togo and our ties with his extremely musical family go way back…..Nani is an exceptional performer and keeper of these traditions and we are very lucky to be able to work with him.

First off though, yesterday Baobab Youth performed a short and well received set at the Granny Fest, in support of their amazing work with the Stephen Lewis Foundation. We then piled into cars and went to meet Nani for an intensive workshop on Tokwoe and Gahu, the two focal points for the upcoming concert. Nani is a tough teacher by his own admission and made everyone work hard. Not only on the nuances and details of the drumming and dance but on the most elusive and critical keys to a great performance: expression and communication of their passion for the music. “I don’t FEEL you!” was a common comment from him, but by the end we were definitely putting it out there.  Here are a few pics….


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One Response to Nani Agbeli Workshop!

  1. Germaine Gilbert says:

    Dear Kathy Armstrong,
    Well, I was just thoroughly entertained by a group of young people who should be given a medal for their arduous work, dedication and amazing and spirited performance. Gahu, Eh! was a very creative, artistic and well-formulated Concert and I smiled throughout its entirety. It was absolutely wonderful! You are an amazing woman, artiste, and director, and I congratulate you on your achievement in bringing West African Ghanaian drumming and dance to Carleton and the Ottawa community. The performance by Mr. Nani Agbeli, your special guest artist, was riveting to say the least! He is an accomplished and astounding drummer and dancer! The young people did a most marvelous routine. It was a delight to watch them perform the intricate movements that are so characteristic of West African dance, and they were enjoying themselves! It was lovely to see so many young male dancers participating. Bravo! Congratulations on a job well done! And a million thanks to Mr. Agbeli for gracing us with his presence, expertise and creativity! And, also, many thanks to all those who had a hand in bringing this about with you. Kudos to Carleton U.

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