RFS17 | Rolling out the drums by Ha Orchestra

‘’© Photos by Robin Mair – Sounds of Ghana, 2017.’’

Blog by Jamilah A. Hassan

RFS17 | 21 June | Dram, Glasgow

Rolling out the drums by Ha Orchestra

In celebration of Refugee Festival Scotland 2017, Arts for Advocacy presented ‘Sounds from Ghana via Morocco and the UK’ in collaboration with The Scottish African Orchestra in Glasgow. The bandleader, Gameli Tordzro and his bandmates serenaded the audience with a variety of tunes.

The group consisting of African and non-African performers, who were in high spirit to entertain, strung different melodies that filtered through the evening as lovers of music got up to their feet to enjoy the night.

Sebastien Bachelet of Arts for Advocacy introduced a short video clip to the audience of a Ghanaian born Morocco based performer; Rueben Y. Odoi scheduled to be there on the night, but who was unable to make it to Glasgow.

In an interview session with the Scottish Refugee Council, founder of the band Tordzro, said the name of the group ‘Ha’ derived from the first breath and sound a baby makes when birthed to life. This sound Tordzro explained, creates vibrations and music and is what keeps human beings going. 

The group was founded in Glasgow in 2014 during the Commonwealth Games, supported by Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council. The orchestra was established “as a result of people migrating to Europe”.  Exploring different African musical forms was a way to engage with one another. The group’s bandmates who are originally from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Mali, Scotland, Togo, Morocco, Denmark and France have all come together with their different instruments and styles to create a unique sound - a sound he called Symphonic African Music – a new genre of its own which uniquely fosters friendships whenever they play in concerts.

Mr Tordzro, a UNESCO artist-in-residence added, “music is from what you experience where you are”. The composition of their music, which combines Scottish sounds with traditional African instruments, aims to foster integration and engagements. Ha Orchestra has been working with different musical groups both in Scotland and across Europe, from St Andrews to Copenhagen, fusing different traditional tunes with their African rhythm.







Refugee Festival Scotland has created a ground where barriers are not seen when creating any art forms “everyone one is in touch with what they feel when it comes to music”. 

Tordzro believes experiences change when there is understanding and that music is a way to create a connection.  “If we can find the real common ground where we can communicate, without trying, we would be able to share and enrich each other anywhere in the world.”







Join us in events across Scotland to connect with refugees this festival.

For more information visit refugeefestivalscotland.co.uk or contact festival@scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk / 0141 248 9799

See you there!

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