By John Owoo with files from Tokyo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Ghanaian flute magician Dela Botri and the Cuban Tres guitar virtuoso Hector Ferran alongside other musicians recently thrilled a capacity audience at the Akasaka Civic Centre in the Japanese capital Tokyo.
The artists proved the beauty and power of cross-cultural collaborations with an exquisite blend of traditional Ghanaian music and Cuban rumba that delighted members of the audience at the Cultural Centre.
It was an amazing performance that explored the history and customs of both countries and the amalgamation of music traditions, which have existed hundreds of years and have been subjected to analysis by ethnomusicologists from diverse parts of the world.
With Luis Valle (trumpet), Ludwig Nunez (drums), Kai Petite (bass), Armando Torres, Abraham Kamoah (gome) and Hector Ferran (keyboard) Aaron Bebe (xylophone), the group showcased different approaches to playing traditional music while creating a dramatic synthesis of different rhythms and beats.
An apostle of traditional / contemporary music, Botri has held workshops in a number of universities in several countries and performed to varied audiences in the United States, Cuba, Algeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Mali, Niger, Mauritania, Denmark, Germany and Egypt among others.
In recent years, he has participated in the Cubadisco Festival (Cuba), World Music Village (Finland), Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Denmark), Pan African Music Festival (Algeria) and joined Liberian star Miatah Fanbulleh to perform at the 2011 Novel Peace Prize Awards in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Ferran has developed a successful career in the Cuban and international music scene. In 2007, he was awarded in the prestigious Jojjaz contest based in the Cuban capital Havana.
He has been a member of very important groups in Cuba including Lucia Huelgo, Emilio Vega, Raul Paz, Paulo FG, Laritza Bacallao and Waldo Mendoza among others. His work as a composer has been versatile and has a catalog of works in the field of concert, symphonic, Jazz and popular songs to his credit.
The performance, which was repeated in the Sakado Cultural Centre in Tokyo, was organized by the Embassies of Ghana and Cuba in Japan. It was sponsored by CLOUDY, Degas, DIDI GRANDE, Ethiopian Airlines, Fuji Oil, GRA, Index Strategy, JafriQ Radio, Lotte, Shimzu Corporation, TWO ROOMS and World Star Cafe.
Photos – Kengo Abe