RIP Bernard Woma

“Bernard Woma is from the Gbanne Clan of the Dagara people. He was born in the village of Hiineteng, located in Northwestern Ghana, near the border with Burkina Faso. His father noticed that, as a newborn, Bernard’s hands were clenched in fists, as if he was clutching xylophone mallets. His father consulted with a village elder who informed him that Bernard’s hands indicated that he was destined to become a xylophone player. His father purchased a pair of xylophones for his infant son. Consequently, Bernard began playing the gyil when he was two years old. At age five, Bernard was introduced to Ziem Tibo, a xylophone maker and player who became Bernard’s mentor and guide. Tibo taught Bernard how to build and “purify” a new xylophone. They played late in the night and Tibo taught Bernard the mysteries associated with the gyil. Bernard performing with Saakumu Dance Troupe Bernard performing with Saakumu Dance Troupe Bernard soon became known for his musical abilities and was asked to play at funerals and weddings throughout the Upper West Region of Ghana.

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