THEOPHILUS NII MARTEY Director/Leader
Theo Nii Martey is a talented artist who was born and raised in Accra Ghana, West Africa. Theo is a Songwriter, Recording Artist, Producer, Performer and Teacher. He has taught and performed African drumming, dancing and music in Ghana and internationally, England, Ireland, Mexico, Canada and the United States. At the age of 6, Theo began performing with the African Personality youth Ensemble in 1986 and he then joined the Shidaa Cultural Troup in 1989. At age 17 he joined the Dance Factory Company at the National Theater of Ghana in 1997, 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 with the Brekete Ensemble, drummer, dancer, and choreographer Theo Martey, formulated the idea to create the Akwaaba Ensemble in 2002. 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.
In addition to his on stage experience, Theo is an accomplished teacher of African drumming and dance and has receive numerous grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council and New Hampshire State Art Council to teach school residencies, workshops and performances in dozens of schools all over New England. He enjoys working in a variety of settings, with children and adults, making music, teaching rhythms and songs, and telling the stories behind the songs and the Ga’s tribe. He has performed for and taught children at dozens of schools throughout the United Kingdom and the United States. He as 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 and Now Teaching West African Drumming and Dance for credit at the UNH in Durham.
Theo currently teaches drumming and dance for adults at Murphy’s Boxing Gymnasium in Manchester, NH. Whether he is onstage performing or leading a workshop, His goal is to share the art and play of African percussive music and dance. 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.
You can also find Theo on his Wix site: http://Theomartey.wix.com/Theomartey