Nii Kwartey Owoo
Nii grew up in Jamestown, Accra, Ghana where he undertook traditional training in cultural heritage including storytelling, music, dance and spiritualism. Nii was given the title Custodian of Culture by his elders at the age of 12, a role which he has carried forward and which continues to influence his artistic practice today. Nii incorporates this knowledge of West African culture and music in his work, recording traditional rhythms, sampling sounds he finds and using live music as part of his performances. Nii also makes traditional costumes using West African textiles and produces West African drums using both traditional craft methodologies and new innovative approaches utilising reclaimed wood. He also has a strong interest in sound engineering and media, in 2012 he founded community radio stations Radio GaMashie and A World In Accra.
Today Nii creates original choreography that blends tradition with current global dance styles, he currently also teaches African dance on the Diverse Dances Styles BA degree course (Irie! dance theatre and the University of Roehampton). He is a Navigate Artist, which is part of the Black Choreographic Programme at Ace dance and music in Birmingham; he is the director of Miishejeloi Dance Theatre (Accra/London) and Miishe African Music and Dance (Leeds) and a Creative Associate at The Geraldine Connor Foundation (Leeds).