Local percussionist Curtis Andrews is putting on a show to help raise money to build a school in the West African country of Ghana—Alex Pierson gets some details.
“I knew I wanted to help this village in some way for all I had learned there,” says St. John’s musician Curtis Andrews.
He’s talking about Dzogadze, a small, remote village in the Volta region near the eastern border of Ghana, in West Africa. It was there—travelling through the country in 1999—that he happened to catch a traditional dance performance, which, he says, had a “profound impact” on him.
It had such an impact he returned to the village in 2002 to learn the music and dance that he had seen there.
“During that time I forged many strong relationships with the village and came to love the place,” he says. In order to show his gratitude to the place, he consulted the village elders to find out how he could help.
“It was decided another school building was the thing the village needed most, and would reap the most benefits for all—now and in the future,” says Andrews.
Thus the Dzogadze Education Development Fund was born. This first project is a joint effort between the village and the Ghanaian government—the village was to provide the school building, and the government would pay for the teachers. However, the initial funds raised for construction ran out quickly, and another $6,000 is needed to finish the project.
So Andrews is throwing another fundraiser—complete with a generous helping of local talent.
“I figured the easiest way for me to get money raised was to use my talents, and the talents of those around me,” says Andrews. “I’m hoping the business community can also pitch in with some donations as well.”
“This project is extremely grass-roots and 99% of the money goes straight to the place it is needed, with the other 1% going to transfer costs,” he says.
“This will be a night of some of the best music in the city,” says Andrews. “So if you want to help a great cause with direct and simple motives that have an immediate effect, this is it.”
The Dzogadze benefit show will take place on Thursday, October 9 at the Majestic Theatre at 8pm. Featuring performances by the Idlers, Duane Andrews, Mopaya, The Discounts, Dzolali Drum and Dance Ensemble, Funky Dory, and the Neighbourhood Strays Bellydance troupe. Andrews will give a slide show and video presentation on the village and culture of the area. Tickets are $20.