Dr Gameli Tordzro
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 currently a Musician in Residence of University of Glasgow UNESCO RILA. Gameli is an all round artists and brings his wide range of experience and skill into his compositions, encouraging people across the world to interact, and appreciate life as an interdependent and treasured opportunity. Gameli completed his doctorate in education with distinction through his ground breaking practice based research into story, storying and storytelling as artistic research in film, theatre and music.
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.
Naa Densua Tordzro
Naa Densua is a fashion designer, and singer-song writer. She is in charge of developing contemporary African-styled costume for the Orchestra. Naa Densua comes from Accra Ghana and has been living in Glasgow Scotland since 2006. She works in Pan African Arts Scotland as Fashion and Textiles workshops coordinator. In 2017, she was commissioned to co-compose in collaboration with Karine Powart, one of Scotland's leading award winning traditional musicians and they composed and recorded an single 'Bebashe' which they performed for the BBC European Song Book 2017. Naa Densua Graduated from the Glasgow Clyde College and Herriot Watt University in Glasgow and Galashiels respectively.
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 Copenhagen in Denmark where he collaborates with musicians from various musical and cultural backgrounds. Naby's main 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.
Bakari Diarra, is a multi-talented Kora and xylophone player and performer from Bourkina Faso. He lives and performs in Paris France where he also makes and sells musical instruments. Bakari is part of a large community of highly talented musicians who have migrated from Francophone West Africa and plays with both African and French musicians across France. He regularly returns to Bourkina Faso where he support various young musicals and instrument makers. He joined the Orchestra in 2017 and has played with Ha Orchestra in the Solas Festival 2017.
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.
We're thrilled to be the first professional African Orchestra in Scotland, bringing musicians and their traditional musical instruments from the various regions of Africa together with people from around the world and living in Scotland and the many other countries in Europe together through music. Ha Orchestra is turning Glasgow and the rest of Europe into the melting pot of African music, by creating opportunities for learning, making and enjoying music from African and made in Scotland! Migrating to Scotland and other parts of Europe has made it possible for instrument that never meet on the African continent to come into close proximity to each other creating a new sound and new musical genre.
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 Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural festival and the University of Glasgow's RM Borders Research Project's Creative Arts and Translating Cultures Hub Documentary film.
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 Denmark. She graduated from Noyam African Dance Academy in Dodowa near Accra and later joined the Noyam Dance Company in Dodowa, led by the late Professor Nii Yartey. She has performed in several major dance pieces choreographed by Nii Yartey and toured in Europe and Ghana. Naa Ayele combines her music with contemporary Ghanaian 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"
Dr Jane Bentley
Originally trained in theatre, Jane Bentley spent six years touring the world with the International Purves Puppets. This involved being mostly invisible in such prestigious destinations as Syria, Taiwan, and Auchtermuchty village hall. She began her journey into enabling the expressions of others after spending three years living and working with the Iona Community on a very small island. Here she discovered that, for her, it was most fun doing music with (rather than for) people. In order to deepen this experience Jane then completed a degree in Community Arts (specialising in music) at Strathclyde University in Glasgow: graduating with first class honours and a big caffeine habit. At the same time she came across the Community Drum Circle movement in the USA, and headed off to Hawaii to train with it's foremost exponent, Arthur Hull. Jane continued her studies by completing her Ph.D based on drum circles and improvisation, highlighting the effects of group music making on human wellbeing - the first time that the practice of drum circle facilitation has been studied at this level.