West African drum & dance collaboration
Saturday 24th June 6.30pm
Penola College Performing Arts Centre – 29 Gibson St, Broadmeadows
Kids under 12 free
Student performers $15
Family $65 (2 adults & 2 kids aged 12-18)
Please note, pre-sale tickets are no longer available. See you tonight!
Melbourne Djembe is collaborating with some very talented Ghanaian artists to create a new performance in a beautiful theatre space. Our performance troupe Wassawumba has been training with West African acrobats, drummers, dancers, and musicians who share a passion for West African culture and a positive vision for the future.
We want to celebrate our unity.
The show is based around the concept of namo-alé, which means ‘who knows what the future will hold?’ in the language of the Ga people. It embraces the theme of change and the possibility of good things to come.
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
6.30pm Student performance
7.30pm hot African cuisine and drinks available in the foyer
Having performed throughout Ghana, Mali, Benin and South Africa and now living in Australia, Kwame is emerging as one of Australia’s most talented in the traditional and afro-contemporary dance forms. Like many of Ghana’s top dancers, Kwame began practising his art on the street. Finding a passion for dance he was picked up and rigorously trained by the renowned Joe Mensah (a well respected Ghanaian dancer trainer) and later joined the Namo Ale Cultural Troupe, where he learned the intricacies of traditional Ghanaian dance.
Emmanuel is a drummer and percussionist from Ghana, West Africa. He has been playing drums since he was 15 yrs old. Emmanuel finds the greatest joy in singing and drumming with groups. Emmanuel believes drumming is medicine and believes in the human connection you can find in music.
Nii Kpakpo Addo “Freddie”
Nii Kpakpo Addo is a well-known Ghanaian master dancer, drummer and choreographer. He is a multi-instrumentalist with over 24 years’ experience in performance and has toured in Sweden, Israel, the USA and many African countries. Fred has worked with dance companies such as Nokoba Dance Company, Kusun Ensemble and the Anunyam Traditional Music and Dance Troupe, and he recently hosted a peace festival in Nungua, Ghana, called Womba Africa. Fred is passionate about promoting peace and unity through tradition.
Seidu Mohammed Karfo
Seidu is an accomplished Ghanaian Choreographer and African Contemporary/Traditional Dancer, with over 27 years of performance experience in professional African and international stage productions throughout West and North Africa, Germany, Morocco, and Israel. Seidu was awarded ‘Best Choreographer’ at the Ghana-Japan Yosakoi Festival in 1999 and was ‘Runner Up’ for Best Choreography in 2000. Seidu was trained and appointed as principal lead dancer for Ghana’s Dance Factory company of the National Theatre of Ghana from1998 – 2007. He has also performed with a number of internationally renowned Ghanaian and West African leading music industry artists including; Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, Lord Kenya, Dasebre Gyaminah, Alpha Blondy, Mariam Makeba, Salif Kaita, Angelique Kidjo, and Sonti.
Ronald Mensah “Yoga”
Flexible, sharp and fluid, Yoga is an amazing acrobat with skills spanning from flipping through rings of fire to standing on one leg on top of a 5 man tower. Yoga began acrobatics at 5 years old with the master Amoah in Accra, Ghana. Inspired by the beauty and strength that the older acrobats displayed he trained with Amoah and his group for 10 years. In this time Yoga developed a unique acrobatic style, quickly moving up in the ranks and becoming one of Ghana’s most talented and well known acrobats by the young age of 15. In 2006 he began an extensive international touring career, working with a variety of circuses and travelling and performing to audiences in China,Taiwan, Dubi, Turkey, Hong Kong and France as well as throughout many African countries.
Daniel has been dancing since at the age of 10. At that time, he joined his first band Black Star for which he was the stage leader. After 5 years, he joined Djembe Ensemble for 1 year and later became part of a band named Dromo (Grace) Ensemble for 6 months. Daniel has also performed as part of Shidaa (thanksgiving) cultural ensemble. In 2010, he joined the renowned group Wala and began touring Australia with them in 2011 and 2012. Daniel has been a supporting vocalist for Shidaa Cultural Ensemble. Daniel learnt his dancing skills from many dance legends from Accra Ghana, including Samuel Mahama Marquaye and Robert Nii Aflah Hammond as well as Patrick Lucky Lartey.
Wassawumba is a performance group of experienced drummers and dancers who have all been to West Africa to learn from the masters. The group is led by Simon Lewis and Mitzi McRae, two of Australia’s most talented exponents of West African dance and percussion, and has existed for 10 years. Wassawumba has performed at Federation Square for New Years Eve, as part of the White Night Festival, and for various local and rural festivals throughout Victoria. We are very excited to be performing with an ensemble of talented Ghanaian artists.