Honorable Mention: Theo Martey, Drummer, Dancer/Choreographer, Manchester
Theophilus (Theo) Nii Martey is a songwriter, recording artist, choreographer, performer and teacher originally from Accra Ghana, West Africa. He is a master of West African drumming and dance, a heritage that has many subtle variations in rhythmic patterns, dance styles, and colorful costumes all specific to a wide diversity of tribal groups from the region. Theo started his drumming and dancing studies at a young age, performing with with various ensembles, including the Dance Factory Company at the National Theater of Ghana, one of the most sought-after performance ensembles in Ghana.
When in London in 2000-2002, he performed with the Brekete Drum and Dance Ensemble. While touring, Martey formulated the idea to create the Akwaaba Ensemble. The Akwaaba Ensemble's energetic and engaging performances are a reflection of their name, which means 'welcome' in the Twi language of the Ashanti tribe of Ghana. At each performance the Ensemble brings West African drumming, music and dance to vivid life, holding sway with the rich and subtle rhythmic patterns and styles specific to different tribal groups of West Africa. Theo and the Akwaaba Ensemble dubbed their first Album AKWAABA WELCOME HOME in 2008. Theo dubbed his first solo Album JEI ELAAJE WO (LOST IN THE WORLD) in 2012.
In addition to his on stage experience, Theo is an accomplished teacher of African drumming and dance and has received numerous grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts to teach school residencies, workshops and performances in dozens of schools all over New England. He has performed and taught worldwide, including teaching West African Drumming and Dance for credit at UNH in Durham. He has collaborated with Randy Armstrong world fusion Ensemble, Steve Ferraris Root System, Dan Perkins and the Manchester Choral Society for the Zulu Mass and Christmas Tapestry project and New Hampshire Theatre Project for the Dreaming Again. Theo currently teaches drumming and dance for adults at Murphy's Boxing Gymnasium and leads a dance class at the Studio 550 Art Center in Manchester, NH.
August 28, 2013