Drum & Dance Team

Solo Dancer with Kusun ensemble in Ghana

The teachers at Ray Pereira African Drumming are all experienced professional musicians who have studied extensively with Ray and with traditional experts in African drumming and dance. Ray and his team are passionate about music and helping you learn more about African Drumming and dance.

Ray has assembled a team of great teachers who bring a range of skills and experiences with them, adding depth and variety to the classes, Ray and his team will inspire and guide you, as you progress from Beginner through Intermediate to more Advanced levels of drumming and dance.

NII OTU LARYEA

Nii Otu Laryea also known as Abli was born in Ghana, West Africa and has been drumming since he was six years old. Abli grew up in the township of Nungua just outside Accra, the capital of Ghana and studied the traditional rhythms of his people, the Ga ethnic group from an early age. As his experience grew he then expanded his study to include several other styles from Ghana and surrounding countries.

He is regarded as a master drummer and has extensive experience performing around the world and teaching Djembe, Dun Duns and the Ghanaian drums including the popular Kpanlogo drum.

Abli works with Ray as part of his team and takes classes as a special guest teacher and also on a regular basis.

Abli’s traditional approach to teaching the rhythms of his birthplace adds an extra depth and authenticity to the teaching team at Ray Pereira African Drumming.

Abli also runs school workshops and performs and tours with his own traditional African Drumming Ensemble “Wala.”

Nii Otu Laryea, also known as Abli
Kanchana is a master drummer in Sri Lankan drumming styles

KANCHANA KARUNARATNE

Kanchana is a master drummer in Sri Lankan drumming styles who has been drumming since he was ten years old. He has been playing African and Afro Cuban percussion for over 20 years and he is a performer with great feel for the music. He has also studied African Drumming with Ray and also with master drummers in Africa.

His roots in traditional Sri Lankan drumming have enhanced his approach to teaching traditional African rhythms. As a performer Kanchana has toured and recorded with Australian Blues artist Ash Grunwald for many years and is now based in Melbourne where he works with Ray as a guest teacher and performer. Ray and Kanchana formed the Afro Lankan Drumming system and run drumming and dance tours to Sri Lanka.

JOSE MESQUITA

Jose has been a student of Ray’s for over fifteen years and has studied the West African Drumming repertoire extensively with Ray and other master drummers from West Africa.

Jose works as part of Ray’s team running classes and teaches African Drumming weekly as part of Ray’s team at Footscray Primary School.

Jose grew up surrounded by music and his easy going personality and gentle approach adds variety to the team. Jose plays with the band Sol Nation and also works for the Melbourne-based organisation “The Song Room” teaching African Drumming at schools around Melbourne.

Jose has been a student of Ray’s for over fifteen years and has studied the West African Drumming repertoire extensively
Lucky is Ray’s son and has been listening to and playing African and Cuban rhythms from a very early age.

Lucky Pereira

Lucky is Ray’s son and has been listening to and playing African and Cuban rhythms from a very early age.

Lucky is an accomplished drummer and percussionist who has studied in Ghana, Sri Lanka and Cuba with traditional masters in addition to studying with Ray. Lucky is currently studying Jazz and Improvisation at Melbourne University (Victorian College of The Arts) and also works as a professional musician.

Lucky has performed at major music festivals Meredith, Melbourne International Jazz Festival and Strawberry Fields, and has also toured Japan with Japanese composer and violinist Elle Shimada. Lucky currently plays with the Elle Shimada Collective, and electronic dance band Close Counters, works as a freelance drummer/percussionist with several bands and teaches African Drumming as part of Ray’s team.

His roots in traditional Sri Lankan drumming have enhanced his approach to teaching traditional African rhythms. As a performer Kanchana has toured and recorded with Australian Blues artist Ash Grunwald for many years and is now based in Melbourne where he works with Ray as a guest teacher and performer. Ray and Kanchana formed the Afro Lankan Drumming system and run drumming and dance tours to Sri Lanka.

Fiona Morris

Fiona is one of Ray’s long term students who has studied with Ray for over fifteen years. Fiona has also travelled twice to study in Ghana with master drummers, studied in Gambia and also in Cuba.

Fiona plays Djembe, Conga, Dun Dun, Saxophone and Flute. She is an accomplished player, soloist, and teacher who has a deep understanding of African rhyhms and drums and is part of Ray’s teaching team.

Fiona also works as a music teacher for the Victorian Department of Education.

Fiona Morris plays Djembe, Conga, Dun Dun, Saxophone and Flute.

DANCE TEACHERS

Kofi Nortey and Paa Dan Hammond take the dance classes at Ray Pereira African Drumming. Both Kofi and Dan are from Ghana and their different styles and approaches complement each other and add variety to the dance classes. Kofi and Dan take it in turns to run courses over the year.

Dancers from the Kusun Ensemble in Ghana
Kofi is a master dancer who has studied extensively with leading traditional dancers

KOFI NORTEY

Kofi is a master dancer who has studied extensively with leading traditional dancers from Ghana and other countries in Africa. Kofi is well respected as a teacher who has an extensive knowledge of traditional African dance. Kofi has studied the traditional origins of each dance and the subsequent changes and adaptations made to the dance as more contemporary styles have influenced and changed the original dance.

Kofi teaches traditional dances from all over Ghana and Africa and will show you the sophisticated techniques and body movements needed to execute traditional dance.

PAA DAN HAMMOND

Dan has been a student of Kofi’s in Ghana but has now developed his own style of dancing and teaching, using both traditional and contemporary influences.

Dan’s repertoire also extends beyond the dances of Ghana to include dances from Guinea and other countries in West Africa.

Dan has developed his own style of dancing and teaching, using both traditional and contemporary influences