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Nani Agbeli


Ghanaian Drummer

Nani grew up in Ghana among a family with great pride and passion for their rich culture, and was inspired by the significance of cultural traditions and their ability to unify diverse people and communities. Godwin K. Agbeli and Victori A. Kudezi-Agbeli immersed their son, Nani, from a young age in traditional Ghanaian music and dance, notably permitting and encouraging his attendance at rehearsals and performances. Nani emerged from those experiences eager to embrace Ghanaian music and dance in his own unique and extraordinary way. “In the early years of my training I felt my teachers were being quite tough on me. However with time, I was finally able to understand the tacit knowledge of our ancestors that my instructors were trying to convey to me. The wisdom as to why they created this style of music/culture the way they did. What I learned is the importance of not simply completing an action, but rather the need to immerse myself in the intricacy of each movement, drum beat and vocal intonation. That deeper interaction forced me to reflect on how the information my ancestors embedded into the art form is still relevant to all of our personal journeys today. How important it is for whatever we do or face in life, to let us focus on and enjoy every step of the journey as that will make the destination more meaningful. Now before I perform or teach, I always take a moment to reflect on how I can convey as much of this embodied knowledge to my audience, so that the journey I take them on leads them to a spectacular destination.”

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