Nii Tettey Tetteh
Ghana’s Nii Tettey Tetteh brings the compelling music of the Ga people to an international audience. An accomplished musician, educator and composer from Southern Ghana, he plays a range of indigenous instruments and has a wide knowledge of many West African musical traditions.
Tetteh has been a professional traditional musician from the age of sixteen, when he played flute and percussion with Ebahni Sounds, a traditional cultural group. He performed as a musician alongside Fleetwood Mac in the 1981 film “The Visitor”. In 1988 he worked with Stevie Wonder and Isaac Hayes.
Tetteh was a founding member of the internationally acclaimed Pan African Orchestra, an innovative ensemble of traditional musicians reinterpreting traditional African songs, recorded by Peter Gabriel’s Realworld label.
Since 1996 Tettey has been touring The USA, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Indonesia and Singapore, performing, teaching and recording.
A dedicated teacher, Tettey’s workshops vary from simple chants to complex percussion and all are enriched by his explanations of the social context of these musical traditions. Tettey has the ability and experience to teach all levels – from beginners to working professional musicians.
In 1998 Tetteh founded his present group, the – Kusun Ensemble and developed a new style of music that he has dubbed Nokoko which means “something special.” Nokoko is seen by many as a “revival of a vital art that dominated Ghanaian music decades ago. ” (Accra Mail)
Also in 1998, he founded the Kusun Cultural Centre in Nungua, Accra, Ghana. This centre was established to share the traditional rhythms and culture of Ghana with international students. The annual four week intensive study tours have been growing and evolving since with over 350 students participating. These tours offer a unique experience, not only to learn complex rhythms, but to be fully immersed in the cultural life of Ghana.
In 2003, Tetteh begun collaborating with one of Ghana’s foremost playwrights, Evans Hunter on a play about one of Ghana’s greatest percussionists, Kofi Ghanaba (Guy Warren.) Tetteh played the role of Ghanaba, who is credited with introducing African percussion to American jazz in the 1950’s. This play was presented at be at the National Theatre in Accra to rave reviews.
Tetteh’s family’s role as the hereditary keeper of its village’s royal drums, was instrumental in beginning his lifelong passion for the traditional music of West Africa. Throughout his many years performing and touring he has collected traditional songs and musical instruments and plans to create an indigenous musicians union in Ghana.
In 2006 Tettey was part of the Youth Masterclass Project for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games Cultural Festival. He was one of eight master percussionists from around the world – other masters included Talvin Singh (India/UK), Scrap Arts Music (Canada), Liam Teague (Trinidad& Tobago), Evelyn Glennie (Scotland), Johnny Kalsi (India/UK) – teaching percussion students from universities around Australia. This culminated in an extraordinary performance at the Myer Music Bowl for an audience of 12,000.