Nani carries the music of traditional Ghanaian West Africa in his body, conveying its beauty to American audiences through expressive, daring, and athletic movements.
Ghanaian music is based on polyrhythms; multiple rhythms are woven together to create a more complex, irresistible sound. And the best African dancers can communicate those rhythms while enacting the story represented by the dance. Watching Nani perform, you will feel the music, taste the culture, and gain a greater understanding of the people from which they came.
Your pulse will quicken, and your smile will broaden.
Nani’s performances have been described as beautiful and exciting theatrical spectacles. Aside from their cultural and educational significance, audiences repeatedly comment on the energy, power, and joy with which Nani dances. Viewers of all ages find it impossible to take their eyes off Nani while he’s dancing. Seeing Nani Agbeli perform is a rare opportunity for Americans to see West African dance performed at its highest level.
Nani performs solo with accompanying drummers and as a Volta Drum Dance member, where he serves as artistic director.
“Nani is dazzling in his movements, musical timing, and connection with audiences.” -David Locke, Professor of Music, Tufts University.
“He is the best and most dedicated performer of his great musical tradition I have ever seen.” -Faith Conant, Mt Holyoke College Music Department.
Nani Agbeli is a faculty member of the Herb Alpert School of Music at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. He heads the African Program, teaching African drumming, dance, and history there.
“I have witnessed Nani work with students of all ages, elementary to adult…they ALL respond to his work enthusiastically and plea for his return.”
-Dane Richeson, Lawrence University Conservatory of Music
Nani Agbeli performs with LU's Kinkaviwo African Drum Ensemble for their end of semester performance. Directed by Dane Richeson
Nani regularly travels the country to lead various seminars and workshops. His workshops run from single-hour introductions to basic West African drumming and dance to intensive week-long seminars, which conclude with a full-scale public drum and dance performance.
“He is a world-class treasure. Any school, organization, or private student interested in learning about Ghanaian music and culture would be truly fortunate to work with Nani.” -Faith Conant, Mt Holyoke College Music Department.
As an experienced teacher, Nani tailors his workshops to what each group wishes to accomplish. He can create a fun introduction, delighting participants with how much they can learn in an hour or less. He can work with progressive music or dance students, giving them a deeper exposure to the West African genre. Of course, he can also gear a session towards teachers or parents who want to use what they learn in the classroom or at home. No matter the details, Nani’s workshops, and seminars are universally fun, inspiring, educational, and memorable.
Find out more about booking Nani for a workshop or seminar now.
Nani is at his best when working with kids. They are absolutely captivated by him, reciprocating his joy and boundless energy. They readily follow his instruction with enthusiastic smiles and open hearts. Inevitably, Nani’s school assemblies are among the most memorable of the year, for students as well as their teachers!
To introduce students to African drum and dance, Nani offers to lead school assemblies either alone with recorded music, or with his entire ensemble playing live. He shows a video depicting the everyday activities of similarly-aged children in his village in Ghana. He can perform multiple assemblies for different classrooms during the day or combine a single performance with individual classroom workshops. A group can choose to focus on learning either dancing, drumming, the songs that accompany the dance, or any combination of the three. Similarly, the entire workshop can be devoted to a single dance, or a variety of dances from the various regions of Ghana. Nani is happy to develop a unique program for the needs of your group.
Bring Nani to your school this year!
Nani delivers perfection in teaching a complete understanding of Ghana's traditional music, dance, and arts. A native of this music-and-dance culture, Nani Agbeli lives and breathes his craft and excels at entertaining, educating, and preserving Ghana's rich cultural heritage.
Nani's hands-on teaching style enables students to achieve their highest potential while exploring the vibrant and dynamic musical arts of Ghana. Beginners will learn the basic fundamentals and develop an understanding of Ghanaian music and dance, while intermediate and advanced students will enhance and master their techniques and skills. Nani guides each student step-by-step through every nuance of style, detail of movement, and precision of technique, regardless of their music or dance background.
"Nani is one of those rare teachers who can inspire you, make you laugh, and demand more from you—all in one lesson. It's an unbeatable combination for anyone who wants to learn African music or dance."
-Doug Berman, Student
Contact Nani about Lessons