|9 Jun 2022|
|Old Kingswoodian News|
Nana Tsiboe, RIP (KS 1964-1971)
On Tuesday morning one of Hastings great men passed away. Percussionist Nana Tsiboe was born in Ghana. As a boy, he visited the United States with his family at the height of the civil rights movement in the ’60s and met Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. For over thirty years Hastings was his home. Erica Smith pays tribute to a talented and well-loved man.
Born and bred in Ghana, Nana performed in the US before settling in the UK. He comes from an illustrious and creative family. His brother Reggie (KS 1962-1968) played the lead in Kwaw Ansah’s Love Brewed in an African Pot and performed with Boney M, the famous hitmakers of pop.
Nana worked with musical legends including Fela Kuti, Paul McCartney, Marvin Gaye, Ali Farka Touré, Oumou Sangare, Nina Simone, Gabbidon and Trevor Watts. Playing with the greats didn’t mean Nana became arrogant or exclusive about where he performed or to whom. He was a regular on the stage at St Leonards Festival, and was at home running workshops for school children or playing in local pubs with Pass The Cat and Los Twangueros.
Saxophonist Trevor Watts said: “I first met and played with Nana in 1979 when I was part of Louis Moholo’s band put together by Louis to tour the UK with USA tenorist Frank Wright. Nana was reckoned to be the best young percussionist around at the time. We found we had much in common and I asked him to play in my Moire Music group, Original Drum Orchestra and the Moire Music Drum Orchestra. Nana and I played together for at least 20 years. We toured the World together many times. He was a good friend for years.”
Mandy Curtis of 18 Hours remembers Nana as a magical soul who could even calm a hyped up crowd of pre-school kids by gently playing his mbira. “I worked with Nana for over twenty years – with Pass the Cat at Global Fusion, with Basil Gabbidon’s show on African history and with numerous school workshops. Nana thought he couldn’t teach kids but of course captivated even very young children. As well as being a master drummer he was a Griot – a keeper of stories. We were lucky to have him storytelling in Warrior Square last summer. He was such a gentle soul who will be missed terribly. Basil Gabbidon will give him a special shout from the St Leonards Festival stage this year.”
Nana died on 24 May 2022 in the Conquest Hospital. He will be greatly missed by everyone who ever heard him play or shared a conversation with him.