Bernard Woma and the Saakumu Dance Troupe
Saturday, December 7
18 Whitwell Place
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Attention West African Music and Dance lovers! To prepare for my mentor Bernard Woma upon his return to NYC, I recently lead and arranged a concert of music based on Ghanaian Xylophone songs learned at his school, the Dagara Music Center in Medie, Ghana. I arranged music from traditional Ghanaian instrumentation (lead xylophone, support xylophone, box drum) for a seven piece jazz-inspired ensemble including gyil, piano, vibraphone, western xylophone, upright bass, rhodes, soprano saxophone and drums.
Gyil music is taught and performed as a complete oral tradition, often where the student sits opposite the master xylophonist, who can play all lead and support Gyil parts from either side, as well as bell patterns.
Here is a video of my group, BEWAA, performing a less-than-traditional arrangement of the traditional social dance song entitled "Bewaa" at the ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn, and an excerpt of the score that I used to prepare the group. Continue reading »