(U.S. jazz ensemble “Blood Drum Spirit” visited Dagbe Cultural Center, as part of a film project exploring musical traditions in America and Ghana. Photo courtesy US Embassy)
(U.S. jazz ensemble “Blood Drum Spirit” visited Dagbe Cultural Center, as part of a film project exploring musical traditions in America and Ghana. Photo courtesy US Embassy)

The members of BDS are pianist Art Hirahara, saxophonist David Bindman, bassist Wes Brown, and percussionist Royal Hartigan. “We lived in each village, worked on the music, and recorded original and historic jazz compositions connected to the traditional dance, music, and songs of the communities we visited. the compositions and improvisations were a result of years of study and performance with Ghanaian master artists. We thank all the performers. Our motivation is to assist in connecting the deep spirituality of African and African-American cultures through music and dance. We experience and help express this transcendence to honour the peoples of Africa, America, and all peoples on earth as sisters and brothers in the human family.” Royal Hartigan says.

Permission was given for recording and non-commercial educational online use by the following master artists and elders: Abraham Kobena Adzenyah, Emmanuel Kwaku Agbeli, Kpeglo Ladzekpo, Olu Nudzor Gbeti, E. K. Yevutsey, Edmond Tijan Dorwana, Sulley Imoro, Daniel Annan Sackey, Erik Owusu, Nana Owusu Gyasi, Nana Boakye, Nana Obeng Gyasi, Yaw Daniel Okyere.

Videography was undertaken by Martin Adi-Dako, Simon Asamoah, and Ben Cohn. Support was given through the hospitality of Mr. Daniel Fennell, of the U.S. Embassy and Fulbright director in Ghana.

Friends and performers included:

10 January 2015:

W. E. B. Dubois Centre, Cantonments, Accra, Ghana

Kpanlogo ensemble – Kobena Adzenyah, Helen Mensah, Winfred Ofosu-Hene

logistics – Sonny Jusso

11 January:

Kopeyia-Aflao village, Volta Region

Dagbe Cultural Centre: Director, ensemble leader, and master drummer, dancer, vocalist, and trumpeter, Emmanuel Kwaku Agbeli. The Dagbe Cultural Centre is open year-round for people to experience and learn traditional culture, language, visual arts, dance, song, and drumming. Emmanuel is carrying on the Dagbe tradition from his late father, Godwin Kwasi Agbeli. For information please contact Emmanuel at (+) 233 243539871 or

1. Emmanuel Agbeli
2. Odartey Quashie
3. George Godzor
4. Enoch Agbeli
5. Godfred Traku
6. Ruben Afagbedzi
7. Agbodo Godsway
8. Wisdom Kumah
9. Jackson Gave
10. Amuzu Hope
11. Ali Mensah
12. Elike Agbeli
13. Atsupui Amefianu
14. Mary Agamah
15. David Ekui
16. Afi Agbeli
17. Ami
18. Tettey Akushika
19. Dopui Ayivi
20. Rita Dogbey
21. Asibi Agbeli
22. Mawukoenya Godzor
23. Kobbi. Klutsey

1. Richard Ahadzi
2. Odartey Quashie
3. Moses Gedzah
4. Joffery Gedzah
5. Akos Gedzah
6. Benedita Gedzah
7. Steven Gedzah
8. Godsway Gedzah
9. Christain Glikpo
10. Enerst Gedzah
11. Abbot Agbenyeku
12. Paul. Kudigbor
13. Kwadzo Traku
14. Mary Agamah
15. Wisdom. Kumah
16. George Godzor
17. Jackson Gave
18. Emmanuel Agbeli

1. Emmanuel Agbeli
2. Odartey Quashie
3. Kobbi Klutsey

12 January:

Anyako town, at the Keta Lagoon, Volta Region

Director of music, Kpeglo Ladzekpo; Mentoring and advice, Nana Alfred Ladzekpo and C. K. Ladzekpo

Master drummers Olu Nidzor Gbeti, E. K. Yevutsey

15 January:

Medie village, near Achimota and Nsawam

Lobi Music and dance, directed by Edmond Tijan Dorwana:

Ensemble members:

Tijan Dorwana, Isaac Dorwana, and Ben Ba-ere Yotire, gyl xylophones and drum; Maxwell Dorwana, Emmanuel Nureban, Faustina Sabo Dorwana, Mary Bilyin Dorwana, Emelia Dorwana Tielier, Atsu Aborchie. Dancers.


Puoro (thanksgiving/forgiveness song by daughter and other woman at house first), Lele, Lobi Kobine (Lokobine; performed by farmers after the first harvest), Bawa

Dagbamba music and dance, directed by Sulley Imoro

The drummers are:

Mashood Damba Taheer, Mohammed Karim, Mohammed Shamsudeen, Evans Atsu, Taheer Tinyeyem

The dancers are:

Habib Damba, Zakari Abdul-Nasir, Donald Atsu Attiso, James Houndjor, Ernestina Abena Bama, Bright, and Aisha Sulley Napari

The names of the dances are;
1. Damba sochindi
2. Damba magli
3. Praise songs
4. Zimtaakurugu
5. Takai
6. Dikala/Gmani (calabash)


1. Sulley Imoro Drummer/Dancer
2. Habib Damba Dancer
3. Mashood Damba Taheer Drummer
4. Mohammed Karim Drummer
5. Zakari Abdul-Nasir Dancer
6. Mohammed Shamsudeen Drummer
7. Evans Atsu Drummer
8. Donald Atsu Attiso Dancer
9. James Houndjor Dancer
10. Ernestina Abena Bama Dancer
11. Aisha Sulley Napari Dancer
12. Bright Dancer
13. Taheer Tinyeyem Drummer

17 January

Kumase Cultural Centre (KCC), Kumase, Asante Region

KCC Director Dr. Agyei
Artistic Director Daniel Annan Sackey

Ensemble members:

Eric Owusu
Ernest Domfeh
John Kofi Boame
Osei Kwabena
Isaac Opoku
Osei Akoto
Samuel Aboagye
Edwin K. Bonsu
Mercy Ansere

18 January

Manhyia Palace, Kumase, Asante Region

Eric Owusu
Ernest Domfeh
John Kofi Boame
Osei Kwabena
Isaac Opoku
Osei Akoto
Samuel Aboagye
Edwin K. Bonsu
Mercy Ansere
Philip Owusu Agyemang

20 January

Kumasi Cultural Centre, Kumasi

Eric Owusu
Ernest Domfeh
John Kofi Boame
Osei Kwabena
Isaac Opoku
Osei Akoto
Samuel Aboagye
Edwin K. Bonsu
Mercy Ansere
Philip Owusu Agyemang
Bismark Assuming
Elvis Opoku Dwumfor
Linda Osei Pokuaah
Martha Amankwah

21 January, midday, Ntonso village, Asante Region
Elders – Nana Owusu Gyasi and Nana Boakye

Weavers* – Arhin Kwaku and Dominic Asiedu

Symbol carver Nyamaa Boakye

Artists (description from video attached) –

Kofi Boakye (orange shirt)

Kwaku Gabriel (active helper)

Yaw Boakye (white shirt w/ bandana on head)

Christopher Boakye Oduro (horizontal striped shirt)

Peter Boakye also a weaver* (rasta hair style)

Michael Boakye (red shirt)

Daniel Antwi (tall w/ a yellow shirt)

21 January late afternoon, the market and Video City Hotel at Mampong Asante

Master drummer Yaw Daniel Okyere, donno; dawuro bell player Papa Yaw.

22 January:

Penteng village, Asante Region
The Bodwese Shrine

Spiritual Leader Nana Obeng Gyasi

Women – Singers and ntrowa rattle players:

1) Mame Adwoa bona
2) Mame Amominaa
3) Felicia Agyakoma, and Nana Obeng Gyasi’s mother
4) Adwoa Pokua
5) Mame Akua Kuru
6) Mame Yaa Achiaa
7) Christiana Yeboah
8) Sara Antwi, nana wife
9) Mame Akua Birago
10) Mame Adwoa Owusuaa
11) Mame Afiah Mansah
12) Mame Ama Bour
13) Mame Abena Aduako
14) Akosua Saka
15) Amoanimaa Mary
16) Komfour Abena Amponsah, and trainee to be priestess.
17) Komfour Adwoa Bour, and trainee to be priestess

Men – Shrine elders, and instrumental musicians

1) Opanin Kwame Peprah, elder
2) Kofi Oduro, drama
3) Acheampong Daniel, dancer and assistant chief drama
4) Adu Gyamfi, dancer and chief drama
5) Akwasi Asuako, linguist and drama
6) Yaw Owusu, gong on beater drama
7) Kwabena Asare drama
8) Yaw Badu, linquist
9) Kwame Twum, drama
10) Akwasi Joshua Agyekum, drama
11) Yaw Appiah Bismark, drama
12) Opanin Kwame Owusu, elder
13) Kwabena Oppong, linguist

Mr Emmanuel Kofi Gyasi, Nana Obeng Gyasi’s father.

Nana Obeng Gyasi is the chief priest and the leader of the Bodwese shrine, located at Penteng in the Asante Mampong area of the Asante Region of Ghana.
Penteng can be found on google maps as Penton.

Words from Nana Obeng Gyasi:

African Tradition is real, unique and true.
It is our culture and it’s reflected in the beauty and hospitality it brings in time of playing the drums, everyone can participate, meaning you can enjoy the dancing.
People of all backgrounds can enjoy and be a part of the music and dance.

‘Like’ Blood Drum Spirit on Facebook and stream video:

For further information, you can contact the chief priest, Nana Obeng Gyasi on 00233-244808395 or 00233(0208198302). You can whatsapp him on both lines.
Or by E-mail, at


Author: Kwame 'Write' Aidoo

Kwame Aidoo, also known as Write is a fond reader, writer and lover of music and the arts, with a degree in Biochemistry from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Tech., Kumasi and a certificate in Cultural Organizations in Transition from University of Lüneburg. He founded the creative activism movement: Inkfluent which curates Slam Ghana, The Write Experience, Vocal Portraits poetry albums, Slam Lab and the biggest literary festival in Ghana; Nkabom Literary Festival. Aside Ghana, where he is based, he has shown work in Brazil, Togo, Austria, France, Benin, Germany and Burkina Faso and most recently Norway with Aurora Ekvatorialis; a light sculpture and texts collaboration with Norwegian artist Toril Johannessen, exhibiting at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, 16.9.2016 – 15.1.2017.

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