Woma is the state ceremonial Atunpan drummer and the solo gyil player
and lead master drummer with the National Dance Ensemble of Ghana, with
whom he has travelled the world. He was born in Hiineteng in the upper
West of Ghana and spent his early childhood training in the house of
Xiem Tibo, a renouned gyil player in that area. He was named "best gyil
player" in the 1997 Kakube Traditional Festival in the Nandom area.
He has taught in Universities in the US and Europe, and has performed
in International festivals all over the world.
Valerie Naranjo first performed on the gyil in Ghana's Kobine
Festival of Traditional Music, where in 1988 her playing led to the
declaration of a chiefly decree in the Dagara nation that women be
allowed to play the instru- ment. In 1996, she and Barry took a "First Place"
in that festival"s competition, the first non-West Africans ever
to do so. Valerie received a BME and MM, has performed on six continents,
including eight African countries, plays percussion and arranges for NBC's
Saturday Night Live Band and Broadway's "The Lion King," and
has recorded and performed with The Philip Glass Ensemble, David Byrne,
Tori Amos, Selena, Airto Moreira, Zakir Hussein, Glen Velez, and others.
Barry Olsen began his professional
career playing trombone in New York's Latin dance music scene, and
has performed with almost all the major artists in this field, including
Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, Hector Lavoe, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz,
Marc Anthony, and La India. He has also worked with Paul Simon, David
Byrne and many others. Barry has appeared on dozens of recordings inculding "Ancestral Healing" by South African
artist Pops Mohammed, and "Jazzin' Universally" recorded
in South Africa with Airto Moreira, Jose Neto, Valerie, and outstanding
South African musicians. Barry has an established reputation as a pianist
(Syotos), and percussionist (The Lion King, The Mambo Kings).
Special thanks to:
Dr. Daisaku Ikeda; Nii Yartey, Director of The Ghana Dance Ensemble.
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