As a child growing up in Ghana, Bortier Okoe was surrounded by music. It was a way of life.
“These days there’s a lot of pretending,” he says. “A lot of people aren’t musicians. They have the tools to go to their garage or room to record but with modern technology anyone can do that. Being a musician is another thing altogether.”
Okoe moved to Australia eight years ago to share his music with the rest of the world and is now a composer, master drummer, multi-instrumentalist and singer. Along with fellow Ghanaian musicians Dada Nii and the Damushi Ensemble, he’ll be appearing at the first gig of the Nexus Live 2016 series, on May 7, at the Lion Arts Centre. The music continues on the first Saturday of every month until July 2, showcasing artists from across the planet.
For Okoe, it’s a chance to share the sounds of his homeland. “There will be 11 of us on stage; a wall of music. Drums, keyboard, sax, guitars and backing vocalists. It’s going to be awesome,” he says.
“The audience loves it because they can dance to it and it’s like a release. After my concerts some people come up to me and say it’s changed their life.”
He’s performed all over, but his most memorable gig was on home turf. “It was performing in front of my mum and my family back at home,” he says. “I launched my album there last year and to perform in front of them touched me spiritually and emotionally because I’ve been away a lot.”
Nexus Live is a chance to catch musical masters who spend a lifetime honing their craft. As the series continues, Sikh musician Dya Singh and Indigenous artists Emily Wurrumara, Corey Theatre and Vonda Last will hit the stage.