FRITITI, (meaning ‘ancient’ in the Akan language) is a London-based performing arts company whose focus is on traditional African drumming and dance. It was created to explore, develop and pass on to future generations, traditional artistic expressions using music, dance, poetry and ritual. Its challenge is to project a more positive image of Africa and to help dispel the myths and negative stereotypes of the African continent and its people. It aims to develop a sense of self-awareness within the individual and a global awareness of Africa and its rich culture.
Founded by Nii Tagoe in 1993 as a non-profit organization, the company has implemented its mission through workshops, performances, youth programs, promotion of new artists, lecture demonstrations, community outreach & creative partnership programs with renowned artists and other performing companies. FRITITI has gained considerable recognition representing African performing arts nationally & internationally.
To carry on the mission of promoting African performing arts and culture in Asia, our sister company Sankofa Singapore was established in April 2019.
We have a passion to celebrate, increase and develop awareness of the great contributions made by African cultures to the world and allow individuals to explore their own abilities, creativity, mental and physical well being through these many rich cultural traditions.
With music and dance as its foundation, the communal and performative aspects of our work support each other, opening routes to discovery and development for many people. Sankofa aims to achieve its vision through engagements and experiences in the form of workshops, performances, masterclasses, school programmes, collaborations and community engagements.
Nii Tagoe was born in Accra, Ghana, into a royal family of Ga master drummers and dancers. From a young age, his thirsty curiosity for the rich culture of music and dance led him on a lifetime journey of discovery across Africa and beyond.
He has been teaching and spreading his love of dance since 1990 when he first arrived in Britain to teach and perform with Adzido Pan African Dance Ensemble. This groundbreaking company was one of the pioneers of African performing arts outside the African continent. During this time Nii followed his fascination for African music and dance, moving through the continent to meet and study with the keepers of different traditions. His intrigue was to explore and truly embody the roots of music and dance by getting as close to the roots as he could get.
In 1993 Nii founded Frititi - meaning ‘ancient’ in Akan (Ghana). This London-based performing arts company focuses on maintaining close contact with genuine traditional styles. With Frititi, Nii began to share his extensive knowledge and wisdom by touring, performing, and teaching across the world. At a time where the frontiers of the world were opening with more and more people looking to Africa, Frititi became a torchbearer for traditional culture upheld by gifted dancers and musicians. For both performers, learners and audiences alike, the company holds a sense of exceptional quality in its dedication to expand and explore different repertoires in homage to the great spirit of African music and dance. His work branched into Asia in 2004 when he first set foot in Singapore. In 2019 Nii founded Frititi's sister company Sankofa Singapore through which he performs and teaches, working in collaborations with like-minded local individuals, groups and companies.
As well as percussion, hand and kit drums, Nii also plays the balafon, flute, and sings. He's performed internationally with world music chart-toppers including Osibisa, Konkoma, Baka Beyond, African Headcharge, and Lorraine Ayensu, as well as different incarnations of his solo band. His music is rooted in the traditions he's spent a lifetime exploring. As the Gold Coast meets the distant shores of the English channel, his is the sound of a new generation weaving together the sounds and stories of the places he has been and the powerful messages that nature has to give us. His live presence on stage is electrifying as he pays tribute to his ancestors in sound, movement, and spirit.
Nii's extensive knowledge of African music and dance is met by his unique and accessible teaching style and he continues to spread his great love of the culture as far as he can.