Dancing Rings, Tracking Rhythms


During July 2010, ACE Youth took part in a Heritage Lottery funded project, organised by Pritam Singh of Drumatised. The project was a celebration of the history of drumming and dance in Birmingham: where it has come from, the peoples and cultures that have brought it here, and where it is today.

ACE Youth learnt a traditional Ga dance called Gahu of the Ewe tribe of Ghana from their Artistic Director Gail Parmel, with fantastic drumming provided by Music Director Ian Parmel, performer Clive Cole and ACE Youth member and musician Azizi Cole. Some more information about Gahu:

‘Gahu was created by Yoruba speakers of Benin as a form of satirical commentary on modernisation in Africa. Performers poked fun at the pompous manners of Africans who had been to Europe or who had turned their backs on African tradition and attracted European ways. The word ‘Ga’ translated means ‘iron’ and ‘hu’ means ‘vehicle’. The dance not only imitates the flights of aeroplanes but also that the aeroplane is treated as a symbol for modernisation.’ (From Nicky Reid)

ACE Youth were also joined in some of their rehearsals by young people from Norton Hall, Alum Rock, which allowed the cultural sharing to spread even further as young people of all backgrounds moved to African beats together. This was part of a wider education project from ACE dance and music, led by dancers Amayra Fuller and Laura Vanhulle, who have been teaching at summer schools for groups such as Norton Hall over the first two weeks of the summer holidays.

The Drumatised performance event took place on Friday 30th July, at two Birmingham heritage sites: Sarehole Mill, in Hall Green, and Blakesley Hall, in Yardley. ACE Youth performed alongside other dance and drumming groups from a mixture of cultures, such as Bhangra dancers and musicians, Irish dancers and Brazilian dancers and musicians.  ACE dance and music and ACE Youth would like to thank everyone involved for a thoroughly enjoyable event.

ACE dance and music’s Director Gail Parmel: “It was a fantastic opportunity to delve into the Traditions of African dance and music (something rarely done today). Being part of a cultural melting pot is part of ACE dance and music’s existence. Passing on such Traditions to our next generations was what was most special about this project.”

Photo Credit: Drumatised and Satvinder Sehmbey

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