Bernard Woma Ensemble
Bernard Woma Ensemble
The Bernard Woma Ensemble is led by virtuoso Ghanaian musician Bernard Woma. Bernard is joined in the group by his musical protégés Kofi Ameyaw and Mark Stone along with master dancers Sulley Imoro and Peace Elewonu. Together they perform Woma's innovative compositions for the gyil, as well as traditional Ghanaian repretoire. Bernard's music has been performed throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, and America where in a Carnegie Hall performance it was described as “rhythmically vital” by the New York Times. The group recently made their debut performance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and is featured on the Jumbie Records recording Bernard Woma in Concert.
The Kuor (plural-koi) is a hand drum made by stretching a monitor lizard skin over the opening of a large gourd. It is used to accompany Dagara xylophone music.
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 U of M visiting the University of Ghana, he traveled throughout Ghana, West Africa, 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.