"My experience in Ghana has shaped me as a musician and a human being in ways I could not have expected. As a musician and music teacher, the world of rhythm has been completely redefined for me. It's as if my world of rhythm was flat, and now I see it as round. Engaging so directly with this music and the people who have been playing it their entire lives made me reflect on my Euro-centric musical upbringing, realizing that musical concepts I took for granted were not universal and that I was at the playing level of most 5-year-olds in the village."
"Thank you for the work you do. Amazingly, you have felt your calling from your father and his life to sharing this with others."
"I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to be a part of this trip. Everyone with the means should challenge themselves to have cultural, musical, and social experiences like this. It was the best decision of my life."
"Nani leads a unique trip that is truly authentic and provides students with more than just training on traditional drumming, dancing, and the arts of West Africa. This trip also offers individuals from all walks of life an intimate, firsthand experience of Ewe culture and village life. By immersing yourself in another culture, you are bound to notice the differences and similarities. Mostly, you notice you are noticing these things because your awareness is heightened. This is not something that can be taught or learned from textbooks or recordings. I was blown away by how much I learned from this trip. So what was the outcome beyond engaging the mind and learning new/ improving skills, dances, and the arts? A change in perspective and better knowledge, understanding, and appreciation for the Ewe culture and myself. This is something I will always be able to carry with me and share with others. I want to thank Nani, the staff at Dagbe Cultural Centre, and the people of Kopeyia for welcoming us with open arms and sharing their talents, passion, and cultural heritage with us."
"I enjoyed being in a creative atmosphere that stimulated all the senses. I was reminded daily how important the arts are and how much joy it brings me. I can't wait to go back."
"Just spend 5 seconds watching Nani perform, and you will catch his infectious passion for the arts; Nani's talents and natural gifts are unmatched."
"I appreciated that Nani continued to think of our group and what we would enjoy or benefit from throughout the trip. Nani went out of his way to make sure we could experience all the wonder and beauty of his culture."
"As an instructor, Nani balances being able to challenge and push his students with helping them understand and learn through encouragement and creativity."
"The trip was an experience I will never forget; my time in Ghana, specifically at Dagbe will continue to affect my life (and musical life). I truly appreciate everything you did, from organizing the small details to teaching the drum and dance classes."
"The restaurants we ate at were exceptional; I did not go hungry in Accra."
"The experiences I had at the Art Center are something I will remember and would do it again without a doubt."
"The concerts and performances that were put on for us and taken to were phenomenal. I was able to take a lot from just seeing different musicians perform. It truly was an honor to see them all perform for us."
"Daily classes were challenging and helpful. The morning classes were always much fun, and it was a good thing to get moving around in the morning. The afternoon [drum] classes were also very challenging."
"I appreciated the opportunity to go to the Internet Café when we stayed at the Center. It was unnecessary, but it certainly made my parents feel better when they heard from me."
"I learned so much about the culture by living in the village and talking to and visiting with many of the people there. I've made some new friends that I will never forget. I came home transformed because of all the "risks" I took while there."
"I've already started teaching my students some of the things I learned, and I plan to teach them some of the simpler dance steps we learned and use them in a program/concert sometime this year. I will be presenting some bits of the trip to the elementary music staff for my school district next month, and I've also been asked to share my video, pictures, and a bit about the trip with a women's group in my church. I'm sure they will love it! This trip wasn't just a "vacation" for me; it was an experience!"