A Short History | Concerts & Festivals | Research Activities

Adzohu originated at La Trobe University in 1980 as a student ensemble led by Dr Jeff Pressing. Within a year, the group was performing at schools throughout Melbourne. Subsequently, Dr Pressing travelled to Ghana and Nigeria to study the music and dance first hand. La Trobe University Music Department, and later Adzohu itself, sponsored visits by members of the Ladzekpo family, several of whom are master musicians and dancers, to conduct workshops in music, dance and ethnology.

Chris Lesser assumed leadership of the ensemble in 1983. Adzohu soon became a fully independent entity, and has since evolved into one of Australia's premier African performance groups. In 1985, Chris Lesser and Tom Fryer travelled to Ghana and established contacts with Asanté musicians Daniel Amponsah (better known as Ko Nimo) and Kojo Noah Owusu. They brought back field recordings, new instruments and cloth for costumes. In 1989, Chris returned to Ghana to conduct further research with Ko Nimo, Kojo Noah and others. Whilst there, he made contacts with academics and members of the National Dance Company of Ghana.

In 1992, Adzohu toured Australia's east coast with Ko Nimo and Kojo Noah. The tour was a great success and enabled members to better learn Asanté music and dance. Since then, Kojo Noah Owusu has settled in Australia and built a considerable reputation as a musician, performing with African Royal Drummers, Musikii Manjaro, Valanga Khoza, and his own group Kotoko Mma.

In 1995 members and friends of the ensemble visited Ghana, where they met Ga musician Nii Tettey Tetteh. As a result, Adzohu sponsored a tour of Nii Tettey, together with Asanté dancer Emelia Yaa Fosuaa, in 1997. This tour enabled Nii Tettey to network with various people in Australia, and consequently establish an ongoing series of study tours to Ghana.

Other members of Adzohu have travelled, not so much to further the interests of the group, but their own with respect to non-Western music. For example, in 1990, David Rodger went to South Africa and former member Tonia Plack travelled widely throughout Asia, the Americas and Europe.

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