PAAS’ residency programme creates opportunities for artistes to practice and develop their career through collaboration, experimentation and knowledge exchange. As part of this we have set up three resident bands Hesu, Akaya and The Glasgow Highlife Band and the first African Orchestra, Ha Orchestra
Hesu the first resident band grew out of a collaboration between three musicians in 2004. Gameli Tordzro the artists-in-residence at the time began experimenting with Clare Robertson and Dominic Snieder, fusing traditional Ghanaian and Scottish Irish music, and also writing original song that drew from those traditions. They were later joined by John Honeyman and Jane Bentley to form a five-piece band to create a new genre of music that is captured in the band’s debut album ‘Hesu Spirit of Music’
Hesu has performed in many festivals, music events and venues including the The Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Edinburgh Festival, BBC Children in Need at the Stirling Castle, The Special Olympics in Glasgow, and many PAASFest events including in the Gathering Concert at the Glad Cafe.
Akaya is PAAS’ percussion band which grew out of requests and a growing demand for performance and workshops by African Drummers.
Akaya uses many African drums, rhythms performance practice from West Africa drawing on traditional music from the sub-region to create new a contemporary experience in Scotland. Akaya pioneered the unique sound of African drums and Scottish bag pipes through a collaboration between PAAS’ Artistic Director Gameli Tordzro and Ian McDonald. This brought the Nielston and District Pipe Band and Akaya into ground breaking performances in the Nielston Live Festival 2006 – 2008, at the George Square in 2008 during the UEFA Championship cup, at the Old Fruitmarket during PAASFest 2007 and also at the St. Andrew in the Square during the St. Mungo Festival 2011 to the delight of a packed audience.
The Glasgow Highlife Band was set up and launched in 2010. After playing together to many different sizes of audiences as a duo and a trio, Gameli, Naa Densua and Kofi, decided to create an introduction live Highlife music in Glasgow. Sylvain Ayite and Evelyn Lotsu were invited and a new band, the first live Ghanaian highlife band was ready to launch in Glasgow in 2010.
Since then the Glasgow Highlife Band has grown from strength to strength, working with musicians like guitar maestro Lamin Jassey, bassist Stuart McPherson, and Italian musician Enrico Francese who recently moved to Glasgow. The band has performed in many different events including the St. Mungo’s Festival 2011, and the Royal Highland Show June 2014 in Edinburgh. The band is currently recording its first album. The band is featuring in the UN International Peace Day celebrations in Glasgow at The Ceniworld on 21st September 2014.