Francis Kofi Akotuah
Ewe Akpoka Drumming
Francis Kofi Akotuah was born and raised in Accra, Ghana’s capital, in a neighborhood called Newtown, which is a melting pot of different tribes. His family is from a tribe called Akuapem, but he grew up in a multi-family household surrounded by Ewe families. As a child, he learned informally from Ewe drumming societies. His first formal performing-arts training was in a cultural troupe organized by an Ewe university lecturer, Kemeh Johnson, in 1992, when Akotuah was 15. As part of the group, Akotuah learned a repertoire of artistic forms from around Ghana, with an emphasis on the cultures of Ghana’s south, including Akan, Ga, and Ewe music. Since then, he has visited different traditional groups and societies as much as possible, drumming with them to grow and refresh himself.
One specific goal of the apprenticeship is for Selasie Ama Dotse become conversant with at least 10 of the ever-evolving and expanding variations of Akpoka, and to be able to reliably respond to any of them being called in any sequence, which is how a response drummer would be expected to be able to play in situ, in Ghana. Additionally, Akotuah will guide Dotse in developing the skill of reading cues from the lead drummer to quickly figure out the response to new variations she has not heard before, mid-performance.