VHS students take their drums to Ghana

An alluring African beat is drawing four Vashon High School students across the world this summer on a 10-day drumming adventure.

  • Tuesday, July 22, 2008 4:07pm
  • Arts

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An alluring African beat is drawing four Vashon High School students across the world this summer on a 10-day drumming adventure.

Emory Miedema-Boyajian, Sam Veatch, Pete Bryrne and Dylan Greene will travel to Kumasi, a city in western Ghana, on July 28. Islander Todd Zimberg, a well-known drummer and member of the Island Jazz Quintet, will accompany the drumming students to Africa.

The trip was inspired by Akomo, a Ghanaian group led by a drummer named Yaw. Akomo played at an assembly at Vashon High School in April.

The student drummers will study in Ghana with Yaw’s father, a 74-year-old master drummer Koo Nimo.

“It’s a joy to take young musicians anywhere they can be turned on to indigenous styles of drumming,” said Zimberg.

Nimo will teach the students Ketie-style drumming in the morning.

In the afternoons, the teens will explore Kumasi, including the Asantehene Palace, and learn local dances.

“I think the experience will be different for everyone. It’s going to be culturally exciting,” said Greene.

Each student will create a project, such as a video, that documents his unique experience.

“I’m looking forward to furthering my own knowledge of Ketie drumming,” said Zimberg.

Anyone interested in donating toward the students’ travel expenses, which will amount to $3,500 each, can e-mail ghanaguys@gmail.com.

— This article is reprinted with permission from The Riptide.

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