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Band World Jazz


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Bangbang @ Let's meet Africa

Eindhoven, Not Applicable, Netherlands

Eindhoven, Not Applicable, Netherlands

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cd Mokuley (No one knows) (1999)
cd One man no chop



Yusuf Mohammed Nuweku is born on the 15th of October 1963 in Bolgatanga, a small town up North in Ghana, West-Africa. In his- mainly- ewe family playing music is just as basic as food. Every weekend the male members of the family gather and start drumming. The women, like his mother, sing and dance to their rhythms.

So from an early age on Yusuf gets introduced to many rhythms and drumming techniques. Yusuf: "You have to climb the ladder. First you only get to play the maracas (shakers), then the gangokui (bells). Then you learn to play the kaganu, the kidi, sogo, and finally the atsimevu. If you know how to play all these drums, you may call yourself a master drummer".

Arts Centre
While his father was working with the police department Yusuf's family was transferred time and time again. Taking them to many parts of Ghana. Through this time Yusuf well acquainted himself with all the different cultures and rhythms Ghana is rich for. At the age of 12, he joined the Arts Centre to further develop his drumming skills. He performed regularly with many dance groups. His next step was the dance department of the University of Legon. After only one audition he was accepted. In the years after Yusuf expanded his repertoire with the rhythms from his neighboring African countries.

Yusuf left Ghana and his music for some years to earn a living as a mechanic on deep-sea ocean liners. Once he went back to Ghana, he decided to spread his wings for good. At the age of 25, he arrived in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Soon after his arrival he began working there with Susan Delsing, with whom he continues to give African dance lessons. They both started at the cultural centre Akhnaton, now they teach in Crea, the cultural organization founded by the University of Amsterdam. During these times he earned his daily bread as a drum maker and repairer at Hippo World Music. He also taught percussions to young and old.

With some of his old friends from Ghana he drummed in the popular highlife band Kumbi Salleh. They were together for about five years and performed very successfully, but internal troubles put an end to the cooperation. After that he was recruited by the Ghanaian band Tsu Tsu Blema, who was looking for a percussionist. This band also had a lot of success; they performed in the Melkweg, Paradiso and festivals like the African Music festival in Delft and in Hertme.

Raving Disciples
When this band also fell apart Yusuf decided to take matters in his own hands. He then started his own band in 1997 called Yusuf & his Raving Disciples. The band consisted of Dutch percussionists from Amsterdam. Some of them started off by taking lessons from Kofi Ayivor, the infamous conga player from the seventies Ghanaian funk band Osibisa. After Kofi they develop their drumming skills on congas, djembé and kpanlogo drums (the Ghanaian conga) and many of them studied the African rhythms in Ghana itself.

Yusuf taught them the traditional drum rhythms from his country. After some years and many performances later, he expanded their repertoire with compositions with electric instruments. Now the band performs with a mix of very hot traditional Ghanaian percussions and afrobeat.

Yusuf performs now and again with some old pals from the Tsu Tsu Blema days with a new popular highlife band called Yama Yama. He also spices up private parties with solo performances on his talking drum.