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VOA as an organization , has been around some 25 years. We have traveled the continental expanse of the USA; appeared in Canada, Jamaica, London, Hawaii, and Ghana. VOA started out as a children's ensemble. VOA has now become an "African Cultural Arts Collective" that works with a variety of committed African Cultural Artist from around the Diaspora. Many of these artists are actively involved in the arts through dance, singing or drumming and lend their time to VOA to give it the professionalism, style and power that comes from well seasoned artists in the field. VOA is exploring its expansion and enjoying the new faces; the new energy; the new excitement and has over the past year been demonstrating this to our audiences nationwide. And while we are not primarily an All Women's Ensemble anymore, we are able to gather up enough women to do a presentation when that is requested. VOA shares the power and joy of its music, which spans the African Diaspora, through traditional African and African American songs, message music, gospel, inspirational and healing percussion rhythms.
Nana Baakan Agyiriwah (Founder and Managing Director) has been singing, dancing, acting and performing since her youth. She is a choreographer, educator, percussionist and lyricist,. She is an entrepreneur, Mental Health Professional singer, poet, and excellent tailor. She has studied under Obrafo Tacheampong, Nana Korantemaa, Bobby Crowder, Omomola Iya Bunmi, Marcy Francis, Dr. Kariamu Asante, Alex Shaw, Chuckie Joseph, Elizabeth Sayre, and many others.
Featured Members Are:
Adwoa Tacheampong, Pioneer. Adwoa is a vocalist, drummer, dancer & actor who has been performing since the age of 10. She has been playing Afro-Cuban Batá & studying Afro-Cuban Orisha Dance since 2003. She has been dancing Akom Akan (Ghana) dance for 10 years. She currently performs with several companies in the Philadelphia area including PhillyBloco (Brazilian), Voices of Africa (African & Folk), Tambonito (Afro-Cuban & Afro-Brazilian), Leana Song (Afro-Cuban & Ghanaian) and Sonic Liberation Front (Avant-garde jazz & Afro-Cuban), as well as being on call for other musical and acting opportunities. Adwoa plays several instruments including, but not limited to Batá, surdo, sekere, sakara, agogo, & caixa. She is an avid photographer & writer. She continually seeks to expand her creative opportunities including studying conga drumming & continuously strengthening her voice.
Jan Jeffries, Rhythm Speaker. Is unrivaled as a consummate percussionist. Jeffries, a long time resident of Honolulu, Hawaii, hails from Philadelphia, where she began her career of dancing and drumming at the prestigious Sydney School of Dance.
Angela "Sadio" Watson: Angela “Sadio” Watson is a keeper of traditional African folklore. Angela has been performing, teaching, and studying African arts since 1989. Angela performed in Japan, Africa, and throughout the US receiving a foundation in Guinea folklore through the protege students of the legendary Papa Ladji Camara. Papa Ladji was the first master teacher to spread Guinea dance folklore here in the US since the late 1960's. Angela was a fulbright scholar from 1997-1998, studying the village style and ballet theater style dancing with the national ballets of Guinea. As a teacher she believes in the healing power of the dance and emphasizes the principles of community and village to teach dance. Currently Angela performs with Kulu Mele African American Dance Ensemble, Green Meadows Cultural show for kids, Balafon West African Dance Ensemble of DC, and Tyhimba. Angela is the founder of Camara Arts, 'keepers of tradition', an arts organization working with youth in Rights of passage using arts in education. Angela is presently teaching as part-time faculty at the University of the Arts.
Anssumane Sillá : a consummate professional in traditional and modern dance styles from Guinea Bissau. He has danced professionally for over 18 years with the National Ballet of Guinea Bissau. He is very excited to teach & peform the traditional and contemporary dance style from Guinea Bissau.
Adriene Hall-Cedeño: is a native of Atlanta, GA. She has been performing for 15 years and teaching professionally for 12 years. Adrienne is primarily trained in modern, West African, and Afro-Brazilian dance but is also skilled in ballet, jazz, tap and hip-hop. Adrienne has studied and performed in China, West Africa, South Africa, Cuba, Brazil and Holland.
Gina Ferrera: Gina Ferrera began studying rudimentary drumming at the age of ten. While pursuing a degree in video/audio production, she was introduced to ancient African music. For the past eight years Gina has studied world-music and "ethno-musicology in New York City, Philadelphia, and made two independent research trips to Ghana to study gyil (xylophone) with Kakraba Lobi, Bernard Woma, and Valerie Naranjo.
Nyo Agyiriwah:Starting at age 5 Nyo or (Regina) as she is also known was always dancing and singing growing up in the rural Texas countryside. After returning to Philadelphia at age 11 Nyobegan to study dance very seriously. Although dance was an important part of her life at that time coming from a very strict baptist home Nyo sung with her mother in many church chorus and presentations through out the city.After Graduation Nyo studied at Jo-Jo's Dance Factory in NYC, Alvin Ailey's dance company, Pennslyvania Ballet, and as a featured dancer at the Tri-State Ballet company. In the years to come Nyo expanded her dance experience to african movement. She became a featured solorist with the Diaspira Dance theater with Dr. Katrina Hazard-Gordon, as well as studing with Dr. Kariamu Asante & company of Temple University.
Others Featured Artists include: Zumbi Soweto, Janet McDonald, Stacie Dandrea, Amina Uqdah, Blanche Baxter, Zakiyyah McKelven, Kimberly Logan, Chuckie Joseph, Karen Smith, Nana Oparebea, Saffarrah Muhammad, Etta Purcell, & Thea Bashful & Shakia Easter.