Master Drummer Tuza formed The Salaka Ensemble to preserve the traditional music of the Ga tribe of Ghana. Sammy Oblah (the lead performer of The Salaka Ensemble Tour), as Tuza’s nephew, definitely has music in his blood. He started out as a dancer and practised every day after school for 4-6 hours and on weekends too.
Sammy impressed the African Beat team when he showed his leading and organising skills on the first Salaka Interactive Drumming tour in 2008. He has been on every tour since, leading the shows, teaching the other musicians, driving all across Australia and delighting audiences with his exuberant energy. Sammy really is the face of the Salaka Tour and we love his energy both on & off the stage.
Back in Ghana, Sammy has a second passion. To improve the lives of his community through politics. He campaigns to improve sanitation and education. Seeing the facilities we have in Australia has made him determined to widen the access for these in Ghana too.
What Does A Mouse Have To Do With It?
On one visit to a school in his hometown of Nungua, Sammy saw a drawing of a computer mouse on the board with written “right-click” & “left-click” instructions. The school didn’t have a physical mouse for the students to touch and feel. He had to do something about this. Sammy and Tuza collect unused educational resources (computers, electronics, books, stationery etc) and ship them back to Ghana for the local community. These are distributed to schools and directly impact the young children in Ghana.
Not That Type Of Education
While mainstream education is essential, Sammy also puts weight on other types of education.
Sammy teaches children how to keep the city clean, recycle and compost. “People used to do this but these days, it’s been forgotten… educating kids about this rather than adults will make a better future,” he said. It’s simple conscious actions that can make a difference.
These days, people in Ghana are more interested in Hip Hop and Highlife music. The traditional music is in danger of being lost. Along with other members of the Salaka Ensemble, Sammy has been teaching traditional songs, rhythms & dances at local schools to ensure the rich traditions stay alive. The schools cannot afford to pay these experienced international artists for their time. Because of their love for music, Sammy and the other Salaka Ensemble members volunteer.
Making a Difference
African Beat is committed to making a difference to the lives of young people in Australia and so we have committed to donating a percentage of all school performance proceeds to AYI Centres. In 2020 we will fund a new mobile library, create 2 jobs and mentor 10 young people one-on-one.
We love Sammy’s drive to improve infrastructure in Ghana but first and foremost, he lives to perform.