Thanks and acknowledgement to the many others that have influenced me over the years.
(In approximate chronological order)


Casey Sokol

Casey was my "musicianship" professor at York in my first year. Some of his teachings, especially about memory, ear training, time and being a musician in general, were invaluable.


Barry Elmes

I studied with Barry while at York University where he taught jazz drumset. I knew a little about jazz from previous experience and what Don had taught me but Barry was the real deal. His classes showed me some things I would not have figured out on my own, or at least not as quickly.


Ferguson Ahor Ahiataku

Ferguson was my initial teacher when I went to Ghana the first time. Twice a day we would meet for a couple of hours..morning and afternoon. He taught me the basics of lead drumming for Ewe music as well as playing the boba drum. Mostly, he taught me the style known as Kinka and also arranged for me to play at a funeral for my very first time...a nerve-racking but positive experience.
I remember after the performance, an old man came to me and said that I must have been descended from their grandfathers that were stolen to America. While not true, it certainly gave me some sense of approval for what I had done....and goosebumps.


Sunday Baba Nyakpo

Baba is one of my best friends in Ghana. I first met him because I wanted to learn some songs to accompnay the Kinka music I was learning. He was happy to oblige and we hit off greatly. He turned out to be a major source for many of the songs I have learned over the past 10 years and continues to be a friend and teacher (and drinking companion).


John Wyre (1941-2006)

A strong spirit, I first met John in 2000 when he came with the "Heartbeat" ensemble to St. John's and I had the opportunity to perform with them during their show. Soon after, John moved to St. John's with his wife Jean and we got to know each other better. He was a member of my drum/dance ensemble Dzolali for a period of time and in 2002, he asked me to perform with The Scrucheons percussion ensemble in a piece dedicated to Don Wherry at Sound Symposium 2002 (Don and John were old friends back in Toronto). I would visit him often when in his neighbourhood, stopping in to say hi, get some guidance, have some buckwheat tea and hear what he had to say. He would share many of his stories about traveling and various anecdotes about different musicians and his experiences. They were precious times. He gave me a lot of encouragement and smiles while I knew him.


Ledzi Agudzemegah

Ledzi is perhaps my best friend in Ghana. We have shared a lot together. I first met him in 2002 when I returned to Ghana the second time to learn a dance style called Atsiagbekor. Initially I was to learn from Ledzi's father, but I am glad that he connected me with Ledzi instead.
We lived together for two months straight as he taught me a large percentage of the drumming, dancing and singing styles for this amazing piece of music, which is a specialty of Ledzi's village of Dzogadze (where we lived). But more than music, Ledzi provided me with great insight into the Ewe customs, history and culture from which I gained a new appreciationa and fascination. Over the years he has let me in on certain secrets and trivial bits of information that have helped me tremendously. We have developed a close relationship as we lived together and also traveled to together to different parts of Ghana, Togo and Benin.


Oliver Julius Torgboh

I've known "Olllie" almost as long as I've known Ledzi, and they are cousins in fact (brothers, they would say). He is one of the most talented drummers/dancers/singers I know in Ghana. And a great repository of music and culture. We've had many great moments together and I look forward to many more. And he has an innate talent for teaching.


Awal Mahamadu Alhassan

Awal is my main source for the music of the Dagomba people in Northern Ghana. We met through a mutual friend and I stayed in Tamale for about 3 weeks while Awal taught me the dance/drum known as Bamaya, one of the most stylish of the Dagomba dances. At the time, there was a ban on drumming in Tamale because the main chief of the Dagomba had been killed recently and any music making was a sign of celebration. So we learned dancing in Awal's house and then for the drumming we traveled 2 hours north to Bolgatanga (a non-Dagomba city) to learn the drums.
We hung out together a lot during this time and lived together for that time in Bolgatanga. I also contracted malaria while in Tamale and Awal would come each day to visit me in the hospital and give me some company. He even brought a fan for me when it was too hot. Since that time Awal has moved to the US and I have invited him to St. John's once to teach my ensemble Dzolali. We remain good friends and work together whenever possible.


Suale Seidu

Suale was with me and Awal when went to Bolgatanga to learn Bamaya. In fact, he is more of a drummer than Awal. In 2007 when I returned to Ghana I spent time in Tamale again with Suale and he taught me some of the basics of Takai, another important Dagomba drum/dance.


Avu Kobla Adukpo

Along with Kwasi, Avu is one of the best Ewe drummers I have heard in Ghana. He has been my source of knowledge for various styles of drumming including Akpoka, Afa and Adzro. Blessed with great singing voice as well, when he picks up the drum, all ears turn towards him. Blinded when he was in his late twenties, I believe his lack of sight enhanced his already prodigious musical talents. Along with Baba, he also has taught me many songs of different styles.

Also a trusted drinking companion ;-)


Dizu Plaatjies

I met Dizu in 2004 when I first visited Southern Africa and landed in Cape Town, where he teaches at the University of Cape Town. A great human being and musician, he was in fact the first to teach me some mbira music. A complete musician, he is equally adept at Xhosa traditional music, drumming, marimba, mbira and various other Sub-Saharan traditions.


Medicine Kanengoni

"Baba" as he is affectionately known to his family, is my source for mbira music. I met him 2004 and stayed with his family for a couple of weeks in Dzivarasekwa, a "high-density suburb" outside of Harare. He is orginally from Mhondoro, a heavy mbira-playing region of Zimbabwe and his 3 brothers also play mbira quite well in the traditional style. I won't forget arriving at his compound the first time as he organized a small mbira party with some local players (who were quite virtuosic). Lots of chibuku (local beer), dancing, singing and mbira!!
I returned a year later and stayed for over a month and learned more mbira music from him.


Richard Chiyaka

Richard, a Karanga-Shona, and is the one who taught me some of the awesome Zimbabwean drumming of his tribe, notably Dine and Mbende/Jeruselama. A talented mbira player, marimba player, drummer and dancer, he leads his own dance esnemble and has been based in Beijing for the past 4 years or so.


Kurai Blessings Mubaiwa

I met Kurai in 2009 just when I moved to Vancouver and became fast friends. Though we play together in several groups, I consider him a teacher as he has shown me some amazing secrets of the mbira and how it can be played...furthering the potential of the instrument. One of the best mbira players I have met. Further, he introduced me to the marimba which I had never touched before.


Joel Gboja Zodji

I fiorst met Joel during my first trip to Benin in 2009 but it was in early 2010 that I started learning from him. He comes from a royal family of drummers in Agbomey and introduced me to that world. The drumming of the Fon (his ethnic group) is some of the most polyrhythmic music around and Joel let me in on some of it. I stayed with him and his family for 2 weeks in Benin, sleeping on the floor with him, driving around on his moped, attending ceremonies. Much more to learn from him.


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