The heart and soul of African Beat is their Artistic Director and Master Drummer, Tuza Afutu, who entertains Australian audiences with interactive traditional African drum and dance sessions. Groups including school students, aged care residents and corporate high fliers have all been captivated by African Beat, which began in a poor village in Ghana, West Africa.
This is Tuza Afutu. My company is African Beat. Our office is in the Gold Coast, work all over Australia.
We are an African music business specialising in interactive entertainment. The best way to learn our work is by taking part in one of our workshops.
Before establishing African Beat, I used to work with other groups from Ghana that would tour Australia and do school shows and stuff. We work with businesses that provide team building work for their staff. We perform all over Australia, I mean, there are some areas that no musicians go, but this company goes.
Every human being, once you can speak, as you can walk, they have the beat of a human being. Walk in rhythm is our rhythm, pomp, pomp, pomp. When you run, pomp, pomp, pomp. When you speed up your rhythm, when you play a drum, you speed up like you are running; that’s how it is. So you have it; the rhythm is inside you.
Artistic Director and Master Drummer of African Beat Tuza Afutu was born in Ghana in West Africa. His parents couldn’t afford to buy him a drum, so he improvised, learning his craft on a jerry can and pots and pans. His parents disapproved, believing his education was more important than music.
Tuza persisted, forming a drum and dance ensemble with other young, local musicians, ensuring the traditional music of his tribe would not be lost.
In 2000, Tuza visited Australia for the first time and began performing in schools. With just his djembe (African drum) and a passion to share his culture, he raised enough money to buy another 100 drums. With these he toured more schools with a live, interactive show which enabled students to play the drums themselves. Word quickly spread about this unique show and it wasn’t long before Tuza’s solo performances at schools evolved into a national tour, combining the talented musicians from Ghana with more than 1,000 drums.
African Beat has gone on to perform in schools, nursing homes and boardrooms across Australia. Corporate team building sessions have proved popular for major corporations who have embraced this unique, interactive musical experience.
African Beat helps Tuza support his home community, including helping to establish a holiday lodge and drumming/dancing school in Ghana, creating jobs and ensuring the traditional African music and dance will be enjoyed both here and in his home country for decades to come.
African Beat plans to expand further into the corporate market in 2018 and have launched a new website to help promote the business and find innovative ways to reach a wider audience.