Bernard Woma in concert
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Bernard Woma
In Concert (Jumbie Records)

Master Ghanaian xylophonist Bernard Woma captivates audiences through his performance of traditional Dagara Gyil music and inventive original compositions. A highly energetic and virtuosic live performance together with Mark Stone and Kofi Ameyaw.

About the artist:
Bernard Woma is from the Gbaane clan of the Dagara people. He was born in the village of Hiineteng, located in Northwestern Ghana. When he was born, his hands were clenched in fists as if clutching xylophone mallets. A village elder informed Bernard's father that this hand position indicated Bernard was destined to become a xylophone player. His father then purchased a pair of xylophones and by the age of two Bernard was playing the gyil. Bernard quickly mastered the Dagara music and was awarded the title of "Best Xylophonist" at the local Kakube festival. In 1989, after moving to the south of Ghana, Bernard joined the National Dance Company as a solo xylophonist. In 1993, he was appointed master drummer of the company. With the National Dance Company of Ghana and as a solo artist he has toured Europe, North America, Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. Bernard is also the founder, teacher, and director of the Dagara Music Center and the leader of the award winning Dagara Cultural Troupe.

Mark Stone, from Waterford, Michigan, holds degrees in percussion performance from the University of Michigan and West Virginia University. In 1992, as an exchange student from the University of Michigan visiting the University of Ghana, he traveled throughout Ghana to study its rich musical traditions. While in Ghana, Mark studied the gyil extensively with Bernard Woma. In 1996, Mark returned to Africa to study the musical traditions of Uganda as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. During a research trip to Trinidad in 2001, he performed throughout the carnival festivities as a member of a steel drum ensemble. Mark also performs regularly in NYC with the innovative jazz ensemble, Imaginary Homeland. He currently teaches courses in music history and directs the African Ensemble and Steel Band at Oakland University. Mark also directs the Michigan-based Biakuye Unity Ensemble.

While growing up in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, Kofi Ameyaw was exposed to many styles of African music. As a teenager he joined the junior Pan-African Orchestra where he developed his skills as a xylophonist and hand drummer. His talent was quickly recognized and he was eventually promoted to the senior professional group. As a member of the Pan African Orchestra he toured North America and Europe performing at major concert venues such as the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa. Kofi currently directs the West African drum and dance ensemble Sunkwa, and is a member of the Biakuye Unity Ensemble.

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