Yesutor Kotoka is a traditionally trained and internationally acclaimed dancer, singer, choreographer, teacher and actress raised in a family of traditional dancers and musicians from the Volta region of Ghana. Yesutor started dancing and singing at 8 years old at the Center For National Culture, Accra Ghana with a group called Folkloric Selamta. She became the principal dancer and Assistant Director there. In 1995 Yesutor joined the Ghana Dance Ensemble at the University of Ghana. In 1998,Yesutor was invited by Syracuse University to the U.S.A. to teach dance and music. She has travelled the world and all over the United States teaching traditional dance and music performance. Yesutor serves as an international Faculty for New York Institute Of Dance And Education and Syracuse School Of Dance. She was a co-founder of the Syracuse based Adanfo African Dance Ensemble. She also worked as a Dance And Music Director, Community Relations Coordinator, and cultural council leader for Imagine Syracuse, working with refugee children from all over the world in the USA.
Basiru Suso is a professional musician and story teller who has lived in Denmark since 1997. He was born in the Gambia and brought up in Mali.
Like all Griots, the Suso family have been accomplished and renowned for their kora playing for generations in West Africa. He studied music at the Institut National des Arts in Bamako, Mali. He has performed with numerous famous Danish and African musicians like Jorge Degas, Palle Mikkelborg, Moussa Diallo, Mikkel Nordsø, Jakob Andersen and Klaus Menzer.
Basiru is a guest musician on “The Dance Orchestras” CD, “Spread Your Wings” and on Moussa Diallo’s CD “Kekeliba Project”. He has performed at numerous festivals around the world. New Age music CD "The World Alive" from 2009, His solo CD from 1999 is called “Suso Kunda” and his most recent CD, KOUMA (2007) is in collaboration with singer/songwriter, Inga Thommessen.
Naa Ayela Okine
Naa Ayele grew up in Accra, Ghana and now lives in Copenhagen. She graduated from Noyam African Dance Academy and later joined the Noyam Dance Company in Dodowa, Ghana where she combined her music with
c o n t emp o r a r y Gh a n a i a n movement and dance practice.
Enrico is a professional musician and filmmaker with 15 years experience in cultural and performing arts events. He started his career in Italy organising for ten years the Festival of European students Theatre that in 2002 won the “Culture 2000” prize from the European Community for the cultural, artistic, European integration and new Media outcomes. In 2004 recorded his first album in which the romantic poetry of William Wordsworth meets the blues music. During his tour in Canada in 2012 he studied with the blues singer/songwriter Eric Bibb and the multi awarded bass player Victor Wooten. In 2014 he was one the finalists of the Danny Kyle event during the Celtic Connection.
As filmmaker he worked with international productions (Canada, Israel, Russia, Germany, UK, Italy) gaining a sound knowledge of the film making process. In 2015 his short movie “A love divided” has been nominated for a BAFTA and won the Best Young Film Award at Destfest. After gaining a BA in philosophy he started his studies in Bio-Psycho-Genealogy and Psychodrama based on the Jung, Jodorowsky and Schutzenberger revolutionary lessons. At the moment his projects are focused on integrating the new Media technology with soundscapes and psychology.
"I am based in Edinburgh, and have been performing African music since 1987. I play with Bhundu Boy Rise Kagona, Samba Sene's Diwan and Dougie Hudson's Baobab Gateway. Occasionally I perform with Grammy Award winner Paul Winter on his Flyways project. I perform using xylophone, drums, and instruments from Uganda including thumbpiano, ennanga harp and endingidi fiddle. My musical roots are in Uganda, where I was born. I first travelled back there in 1987 where I met and studied with Albert Ssempeke. In the 1990's, I decided to bring Ssempeke to Europe, and we performed royal music from Uganda all around the UK and in Europe"
Rise Kagona is a true African music legend. Born in Malawi, Rise is the founder, lead guitarist and sole remaining member of Zimbabwean rock band Bhundu Boys. The Bhundu Boys were known as ambassadors of African Music and were one of the first African groups to tour the world. In the mid ‘80s, Rise, along with the original Bhundu Boys, mixed Zimbabwean styles with rhumba influences from the Congo, and labelled their fast paced music ‘Jit Jive’
Gameli is the Artistic Director of Pan African Arts Scotland, founder and composer for Ha Orchestra. Well known on Ghana TV in the between 1982 and 2006 as a traditional African musician and storyteller, as well as a Film, TV and Theatre Director and Actor, his special passion for music has led him to develop special skills in playing a range of traditional African instruments including the Kora (West African Harp), the gyle xylpohone, a range of African drums, the Atenteben Flute (a Ghanaian Bamboo flute). Gameli is the 2015 winner of Critics Award for Theatre in Scotland for music through his work in Kai Fischer's 2015 production of Last Dream (on Earth). He is the current Musician in Residence of University of Glasgow GRAMNet as well as a creative arts PhD researcher at the School of Education, University of Glasgow.
Currently a freelance journalist based in Copenhagen (Denmark), Alfred Tamakloe has written extensively for Djembe / Kristeligt Dagblad (Denmark) a multicultural magazine as well as The Ghanaian Times / Weekly Spectator (Ghana). He was educated at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (Ghana) and Birmingham City University (United Kingdom). He is also a co-presenter on Radio Vestebro, which is based in Copenhagen. Alfred is the Coordinator of the Ha Orchestra International Exchange Programme Copenhagen 2015. With Funding from Statens Kunstfond, (Danish Arts Foundation), Alfred collaborated with Gameli to put together a programme of activities that brought musicians from a wide range of backgrounds together for the first time in Copenhagen as part of developing Ha Orchestra and bringing the rich music they play to Danish audience.
Sam Kwamina Takyi
Was born in Cape Coast, Ghana. He started playing traditional drum from six years and dancing from ten years. 1988, together with his uncle Kofi Badu, he founded his first famous group “Obrempon Folklorics” in Cape Coast. Between 1985 and 1993 he worked as teacher/cultural instructor in primary and secondary schools under Ghana Education Service in Cape Coast and also in private schools.
1998 to 2001 he was in charge of Ghanaian cultural educational program for the schools in Cape Coast, supported by “Danida“ at Agoro-Ciltad centre. There he also worked as Performance and Outreach co-coordinator and as official instructor where he realized intercultural exchange programs to the guest students from Denmark, Germany, Italy, UK and USA. In 1999 he was a member of the Reverential Committee of “Panafest ‚99“, Cape Coast (Ghana). During the same year he performed as coordinator of Agoro’s group to represent Central Region in the U20 Youth Championship, for the performances at the opening ceremony.
"I am a musician, singer and songwriter born of African Scottish descent. I grew up in the seaside town of Irvine where I was exposed to an annual Folk Music Festival. From a young age I wanted to learn the banjo but it was the guitar that I finally began to teach myself. I was very fortunate to hear a variety of performers such as Billy Connelly, Tam Harvey, Pictogorn Bourrée, Schmelztiegel, Fiedel Michel, Danny Kyle, Tich Frier, The Sands Family, Ossian, Eddie Reader, John Martin, Mike Whellans, the late Johnny Silvo, Battlefield Band, Mairéad Ní Mhoanaigh and a host of young Irish bands inspired and educated my musical palette with their regular festival visits".
Lillias is a flute player and founding member of The Shee and has gained a reputation as a versatile musician performing both within the traditional music scene and for theatre, storytelling and classically inspired projects including Blair Douglas’ Gaelic Mass: ‘An Aifreann Ghàidhlig le Blàr Dùghlas’ and Alistair Anderson’s ‘Steel Skies’. Lillias founded the traditional music education company Focal Music Ltd, tutored for Newcastle University, Folkworks and The Sage Gateshead and has worked with the Scottish youth music project: Love Music Festival.
Omar Afif is a Gnawa musician and dancer from Morocco who now lives with his family in Banff. His performance combines Berber, Arabic and Islamic traditional song and music, played on gembri (lute) and krakeb (castanets) which is meant to send the audience into a trance-like state.
Esinam was born in Brussels, her Ghanaian roots are the origin of the African touch in her music with flute and percussion for a solo set where she uses "loop" and effects to transform herself into a ‘’one woman - band”. Her performance is both thought provoking and captivating.
Naby Bangoura was born in Guinea where he started his
career as a musician and dance teacher before he moved to D e n m a r k . N a b y' s m a i n instruments are the bolong and the Djembe. But as is usual with most African performers he combines his music practice with movement and dance.
Sabine is from Paris, and described as a 'Flute Queen' she says she fell in love with music at a tender age and later picked up the flute which has shaped her successful music career. It has taken her to several parts of the world to collaborate with many renowned musicians. She also teaches and mentors young people to play the flute.
Mamadou Tonde, is a multi-talented performer and comedian from Bourkina Faso spent part of his adult life in Ghana making and selling musical instruments before moving to Copenhagen with his musical talent as a Kamale Ngoni and Gyle player. Mamadou's audience are mainly children.
Moumouni Diarra (Mouni) is a talented Kora, Kamale Ngoni, Gyle player and a passionate singer. Born in Bobo Dioulasso Bourkina Faso, Mouni, now lives in Alicante, Spain. His musical skills extends to instrument construction and decoration. Mouni comes from a griot family and grew up on music but says that his passion and experience of music is a continued life long learning process.
The orchestra will work with five Learning Communities across the City of Glasgow (HA5) 'Ha of The City', to set up music making workshops with schools, colleges and communities and to create learning opportunities for children and adults of all ages. 'Ha5' includes 'Ha North', 'Ha East', Ha West', 'Ha South' and 'Ha Central'
The Educational Outreach Programme is a package for the expressive arts outcomes of the schools' Curriculum for Excellence as well as community learning, health and well being and recreation.
The programme offers teaching of African Instruments, performances opportunities, schools and community events, venue tours and master classes. It also offers research and knowledge exchange opportunities for academics in higher and further education institutions.
We're thrilled to be the first African Orchestra in Scotland, and bringing people from the various regions of Africa together with people from around the world and living in Scotland and the rest of the UK together through music. Ha Orchestra is turning Glasgow into the melting pot of African music, by creating opportunities for learning, making and enjoying music from African and made in Scotland!
The Ha orchestra is made up of a pool of professional musicians who play African music with traditional African musical instruments. This is a collaborative project between Pan African Arts Scotland, University of Glasgow - GRAMNet.
In 2014 members of the Orchestra and their work was featured in the University of Glasgow's RM Borders Research Project's Creative Arts and Translating Cultures Hub Documentary film.