FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Hope Salley
Thompson & Bender
914-762-1900, Ext. 25
ArtsWestchester to Present a Free Evening of West African Dance and Drumming in Mount Vernon
World-Renowned NY Ghanaian Dance & Drumming Unity Ensemble to Perform at Mount Vernon City Hall Plaza on June 21
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (May 21, 2018) – ArtsWestchester, in partnership with the City of Mount Vernon, the Mount Vernon Public Library and the Mount Vernon Boys and Girls Club, has announced a special outdoor performance by the world-renowned NY Ghanaian Dance and Drumming Unity Ensemble on Thursday, June 21 at 7pm. The free performance will take place at Mount Vernon City Hall Plaza and will feature two of the world’s finest Ghanaian dancers and drummers: Gloria Nyame and her husband, master drummer Richard Dwomoh (bios below). Gloria and Richard have been raising their five children in the City of Mount Vernon since 2013.
The NY Ghanaian Dance & Drumming Unity Ensemble is known for its representations of Ghana’s many different ethnic traditions and features some of the top Ghanaian drummers and dancers living in the United States including Nii Boye, Hola Kutte, Attah Poku, Michael Ofori, and Ben Paulding. Also featured in the June 21st outdoor performance will be Marion Archer’s the Revelators, the First Ghana SDA Church Choir and prior workshop participants.
In advance of the public performance, Gloria and Richard will be conducting free workshops for local Ghanaian and non-Ghanaian youth at the Boys & Girls Club of Mt. Vernon and the Dole Center. These free workshops will take place on June 2nd, 9th, and 16th, from 11:30-2PM.
Richard Dwomoh is a highly acclaimed dancer from the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Touring Germany, Italy, Nigeria, and Ghana, Richard has danced with the Centre for National Culture, the Adinkra Cultural Troupe, and Bishop Sarpong’s Cultural Troupe at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Kumasi. When living in Ghana, Richard earned the reputation throughout the Ashanti Region as one of the premier Kete and Fontomfrom dancers of his generation. Richard currently lives in New York City where he drums and dances with the NY Ghanaian Dance & Drumming Unity Ensemble and the Ahenema Cultural Group.
Gloria Nyame is originally from Ghana, and currently lives in Mt. Vernon where she dances for NY Ghanaian Dance & Drumming Unity Ensemble, one of New York City’s premiere Ghanaian drum and dance ensembles. She started dancing in the Ashanti Region of Ghana when she was six years old, and danced professionally throughout Ghana and Nigeria with the Centre for National Culture, the Adinkra Cultural Troupe, and the Catholic Youth Organization at St. Peter’s Cathedral. Gloria is well known for her graceful movements in the Ashanti dances of Kete and Adowa and is frequently requested to dance at cultural events all over the United States.
Nii Boye is known as one of the top Ghanaian drummers of his generation, and is credited with many popular innovations in the Kete drumming style. Nii Boye was lead drummer of the Nsuase Kete Group, one of the most well-known Kete groups in Asante. When living in Ghana, Nii Boye also played with the Centre for National Culture, as well as Bishop Sarpong’s Cultural Troupe.
Attah Poku is a prominent master drummer from the Ashanti Region of Ghana, West Africa. Born and raised inside the walls of the Ashanti King’s palace, Prof. Poku began training with his grandfather when he was only five years old, and officially joined the Ashanti King’s drum ensemble when he was ten. He currently is on leave from employment at the Centre for National Culture in Kumasi, where he is the master drummer for the resident Amamereso Agofomma Folkloric Troupe. Prof. Poku directs the Kiniwe ensemble at Tufts University, the West African drum and dance ensemble at Wesleyan University, and is the Artistic Director of the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society in Boston.
Michael Ofori has been drumming since childhood, learning from many master drummers from the Center for National Culture in Kumasi. Michael’s creative interests lie in African performing arts traditions. He has performed with Amammer so Agofomma (Cultural Center’s Folkloric group), Azaguno Inc. (Athens, Ohio) Manhyia Tete Nnwomkr (The Ashanti King’s Singing and Drumming Ensemble), The Ghana Dance Ensemble at University of Ghana and The National Dance Company. Michael holds a BFA in Theater and Dance from University of Ghana, an MA in African Studies from Ohio University.
Ben Paulding is an American percussionist who extensively lived in Kumasi, Ghana, drumming on national television and performing for Ghanaian presidents, traditional chiefs and queen mothers. In West Africa, Ben had over 200 performances with the Centre for National Culture and the Nsuase Kete Group. Ben currently lives in Boston where he directs the Fafali music and dance ensemble at Brandeis University, serves as Drum Leader for the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, and instructs the Hyde Park Youth Percussion Ensemble.
The June 21st performance is part of ArtsWestchester’s Folk Arts Program, made possible by the New York State Council for the Arts.
For more than 50 years ArtsWestchester has been the community’s connection to the arts. Founded in 1965 it is the largest private not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to provide leadership vision and support to ensure the availability accessibility and diversity of the arts. ArtsWestchester provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester County. ArtsWestchester helps fund concerts exhibitions and plays through grants; brings artists into schools and community centers; advocates for the arts; and builds audiences through diverse marketing initiatives. In 1998 ArtsWestchester purchased the nine-story neo-classical bank building at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue which has since been transformed into a multi-use resource for artists, cultural organizations and the community. A two-story gallery is located on the first floor of ArtsWestchester’s historic building on Mamaroneck Avenue.