About Volta

The story of Volta Drum Dance begins with our artistic director, Nani Agbeli, who was born and raised in Ghana to a family deeply immersed in the culture and traditions there. Nani has travelled across the world to showcase and teach about his heritage and currently heads the West African Music, Dance, and Arts program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). It was there that he began to cultivate a professional group to play traditional Ghanaian music in the USA. 

 

Volta Drum Dance is proud to display our diverse membership. We come from varying countries, races, and religions, but one thing we have in common is respect for and fascination with traditional Ghanaian drumming, dancing, and singing. Every member of Volta was chosen for his or her skill and dedication to the music, most of us having studied with Nani at CalArts. 

 

Ghanaian music combines the powers of drumming, dancing, and singing to connect communities and tell the stories of important cultural people and events to new generations. This distinct feeling of musical connectedness has no equal in American culture, and so we are committed to sharing it. Volta draws on the extensive cultural knowledge of artistic director Nani Agbeli to achieve faithful performances with accurate costumes and traditional instruments. 

 

Volta Drum and Dance provides a unique experience that you do not want to miss.

He has travelled across the world to showcase and teach about his heritage and currently heads the West African Music, Dance, and Arts program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). 

Nani Agbeli (Read more)
Nani Agbeli was born into a family of dancers and drummers in Ghana and was trained by his father, Godwin Agbeli. Nani then studied at the National Arts Center in Accra and led the cultural troupe Sankofa Roots II. Nani has led ensembles at many universities, including Tufts, Harvard, Berklee, and Edna Manley in Jamaica. He has been Artistic Director and lead dancer of the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society in Boston. Nani currently lives in Los Angeles and is the Director of African Music and Dance
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Logan has been playing music since he was ten years old. While pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Music, he was introduced to the music and dance of Ghana. Logan is now pursuing a Master's Degree in African Music and Dance from CalArts, where he studies with Nani Agbeli.
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Based out of his hometown of Los Angeles, Justin Bardales is a composer/multi-instrumentalist/teacher/band leader who embraces a global perspective on both composition and instruction. In addition to his performance practices, Justin has facilitated workshops and master classes at various universities and institutions both domestically and internationally. He has received both Bachelors & Masters degrees from California Institute of the Arts and is a traveled student as well.
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With a background seeded in drum corps, Colby Beers is a BFA World Music/MFA North Indian Tabla graduate of California Institute of the Arts and student of tabla Maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. Colby is a percussionist who plays many types of percussion from cultures such as Bali, India, Ghana, and the West. In addition to Volta, he has performed with such talented ensembles such as the Concord Blue Devils, Santa Clara Vanguard, Black Knights, RCC Winter Drumline, Kraken Unleashed and more.
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Aaron, better known as "Ace", stage name "MrCampb3LL", is not shy to the arts and creative scene. Originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, he earned an undergrad for Business in Boston Massachusetts. Now in Los Angeles as a full time vocalist and creative mogul, he is looking forward to this next chapter of his creative journey!
Robin Hirshberg (Read more)
Robin started studying classical percussion at age eleven. She soon grew to love the marimba and focused her studies on modern marimba repertoire. She received a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from Ball State University, studying under Dr. Erwin Mueller. She then earned an M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts. It was there that she was introduced to many world music traditions and fell in love with Ghanaian Music and Dance.
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Julian Karahalios is an artist and educator currently based in the Los Angeles area. Both a performer and composer, he is typically learning new things or traveling the universe. But when he isn't doing those things, Julian can be found spending time with his cat and loved ones or preparing meals with love.
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Harley received her bachelor's degree for Experimental Animation at California Institute of the Arts in 2015 and was very active in the World Music Program. In addition to Volta, she works as a freelance animator and a dancer in the LA-based Balinese music and dance group, Gamelan Burat Wangi.
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Kerri Shak is a Canadian composer, collaborator, multi-instrumentalist, and performer that has gained musical inspiration through her travels. Her passion for world music has allowed her to perform around the world, including venues in Singapore, Indonesia, Canada, and the USA. Holding a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree in Composition from the California Institute of the Arts, Kerri works on integrated media collaborations with animators, dancers, videographers, and actors.
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© Volta Drum Dance from Ghana, West Africa​. 2019 by Nani Agbeli.