It was in the small Ga community of Labadi in Ghana, West Africa, that Nyanyo Addo was born into a family, where music and dance is naturally integrated into daily life.
Traditionally the drum plays an important role in the healing ceremonies of the Ga - people: The calling of the drum is the main reason why people fall into trance.
Raised by his grandfather - a well-respected Won or priest - Addo learned to play the drum at an early age. In Ghanaian culture the Won is involved with his people in a very direct fashion:
He is not only a spiritual and religious leader, but often acts as a doctor, lawyer and community leader, prescribing herbal medicines and settling land disputes. This implies a great responsibility which was given to Nyanyo Addo from his grandfather.
But drumming is also part of the daily life in Ghana, messages were transmitted over long distances with the help of big drums and they still accompany weddings and funerals. Festivals are unimaginable without drumming and dancing. The art of drumming and drum-making has been developed to a high level.
The position of the drummer is corresponding to the importance and variety of drums: The drummer is a well respected person who knows about history and culture. He gives inspiration to the people as well as to chiefs and kings.
From early childhood on, Addo has learned to play the traditional drums of the Ga - people, for example the big standing drum Oblente, but also the Atumpani, the Gome-drum and the small talking drum Odono: With one arm the pressure is varied to change the pitch of the drum, while the other hand uses a stick to beat it.
The slightly bigger Blekete is a bass drum with one membrane at each side. The Ballaphone, a West African type of xylophone, is another instrument which Addo has learned to play with great skill.
Accompanying Fela Kuti, Mutabaruka and Mustapha Tettey Addy on their tours throughout West Africa, Addo has become an accomplished drummer.
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