Ghanaian percussionist to visit

Alex Schaaf

Lawrence will receive a serving of Ghana in their musical diet Feb. 23, 24 and 25.
Through a special connection to Lawrence, Nani Agbeli will be on campus. Agbeli will give African dance lessons at the Buchanan Kiewit Recreation Center and will perform at the Lawrence University Percussion Ensemble concert on Sunday afternoon.
Agbeli grew up in Ghana in West Africa, but recently moved to Madison. Though currently living in Madison he travels around the area giving workshops similar to the ones he will be presenting here at Lawrence.
Agbeli shares a special connection with Dane Richeson, director of percussion studies. “Nani is the son of my first teacher in Ghana, the great Godwin Agbeli,” said Richeson.
Agbeli said he was about 15 years old when Richeson came to see his father.
“[Richeson] was a great guy to my dad, myself and my brothers,” Agbeli said. After Agbeli’s father passed away, Richeson returned to visit again with him and his brothers.
Agbeli contacted Richeson last fall after moving to Madison. Richeson then invited Agbeli to come to Lawrence and perform at the LUPE concert as well as to give demonstrations to any interested students.
Agbeli, excited to work with Richeson again, said, “He is great to work with because he knows who I am and what I can offer.”
Agbeli will teach different African dances and describe other areas of African music and culture. “These lessons will give people a chance to try as many as three different African dances,” said Agbeli.
The African dance lessons will take place Friday evening from 5-7 p.m. and Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at the Buchanan Kiewit Recreation center. All interested students are invited to come and participate.
The LUPE concert starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Agbeli will perform with the Lawrence African Drum Ensemble, Kinkaviwo. They will play several different pieces from Ghana.
“We’re not just trying to have fun while doing this,” said Agbeli. “There is a bigger purpose of promoting African and Ghanan music, and giving people here a taste of something different, and to learn about a different culture.”
Agbeli’s residence at Lawrence is cosponsored by Lawrence International and ArtsBridge.