Nana Yaw Obrafo Asiedu

Nana Yaw Obrafo A.

San Diego, CA

About Nana Yaw Obrafo A.

Nana Yaw Obrafo teaches: Ages 5 and up
Special needs
Teaching since: August 1985
Last sign in: Last week


I am the Founder and Director of the Ile Ayan Cultural Institution of Higher Learning. Drums balance out the right and left brain, and stimulate endorphins, which facilitate learning
I currently give ongoing African drumming and music instruction for all ages (toddlers to adults) at the World Beat Center in Balboa Park, San Diego, where I have taught for the last fifteen years. I instructed 10,000 5th grade students each year from 2004 to 2010, as part of the San Diego City Schools’ “Balboa Park Integration Program”. I have also brought my program into the elementary schools, working both as a music teacher during the school day (seeing K-6th grade classes, one after the other, one day a week), as well as After-School programs twice a week for various school districts. I have been very successful in working with “At-Risk” teens, both in alternative schools and juvenile hall settings, as well as working with blind and deaf students. I specialize in teaching drumming via mathematics for all ages. For toddlers and parents it's math, storytelling, alphabet, and vowels.

Photos and Videos

Nana Obrafo Yaw Asiedu teaching via Counting method. As the child listens on and also learning.


Composer, Arranger, Musician, Teacher

Mar 1985 - Present
Ile Ayan Cultural Institution of Higher Learning

Presently teaching at the World Beat Center in Balboa Park. San Diego Ca. Over 16 yrs. Teaching all ages. The Blind, and also the Deaf.
I have taught over 10,000 children a year for the "Balboa Park Integration Program" at the World Beat Center.
Work with and formed many students that have gone off to play with the "O'jays" and "Gap Band".Also the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra here in San Diego Ca. Arranged the African Music Score for the "Lion King Celebration" in Disneyland. CD with "Herbie Hancock", and Billy Childs. Two very famous Composers. Also worked with Quincy Jones and Steven Spielberg in the "Color Purple" the Movie. Patrice Rushen and more. Taj Mahal, Stevie Wonder, Barry White and more.


Ethnomusicology at LACC, UCLA, Lagoon University, Ghana WA

Jun 1974 - May 1975
Lagoon University

Languages Spoken

Twi of the Asante People of Ghana, and Spanish

Limited Proficiency



Jul 2016

After over 40 years of sharing the culture. Teaching and opening the road for many to follow, I was presented with this Award in Los Angeles Ca,for the work I have done in and for the Community of La Ca. and more. "Great to get your flowers when you can still smile them".



Mar 2000
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19 Reviews on Nana Yaw Obrafo A.

Stavon S. Mar 15, 2016
Drum · In studio
Verified Student
Awesome teacher - teaches more than just how to drum.
May Jan 18, 2016
For 5+ years, I have brought college students to Nana’s drumming classes. Nana is a fantastic and experienced teacher who guides students into the sounds and stories of the drum. His knowledge of African drumming, culture and storytelling transforms simple drumming classes into wonderful opportunities for reflection, growth and community building. By the end of the class, students are drumming and smiling together in an unspoken connection that continues long after we leave. Thank you, Nana, for an always educational, grounding and memorable experience!
Jason Nov 16, 2015
Drum · In studio
I took lessons with Nana, it not only brought out the best musicianship in me, but taught me life lessons which are with me to this day. My son who is 10 years old also takes lessons from Nana and loves to learn from him. Nana is a great teacher.
Linda Nov 16, 2015
I took Nana's class for six years and it was a wonderful experience .I drummed with people from France,Poland,Germany and Bosnia.I performed in many venues throughout San Diego.L will treasure those memories and Nana for the rest of my life.Much love Nana thank you💚
Brother Vikas Nov 14, 2015
Drum · In studio
I have been playing drums for almost 40 years. I play all genres of music from jazz, to African, to East Indian, Blues, Funk and improv. I perform on drumset, East Indian percussion, African percussion and "found" percussion. I performed at least once a week with Nana from 2000 to 2005. I continue perform with Nana as much as possible. I consider every performance with Nana a master lesson. His technical, cultural and philosophical approach to drumming and music have significantly shaped my approach to all forms of music in any context on any percussive instrument. In addition, Nana is amazing with children. In one lesson, they learn rhythm, time, composition, African cultural history, team work, focus, humility, confidence and individual expression. I highly encourage anyone, of any age, of any experience, of any tradition to take the opportunity to study with a true master.
Papa Aziz Nov 8, 2015
It is a rare opportunity in deed to learn from a legend and a true master of african percussion. Nana Yaw Obrafo has inspired a generation of drummers of whom I am one of. Nana has a vast knowledge of musical traditions and instruments and the cultural history from which they come. Nana is an outstanding teacher. he is patient and always kind. Willing to share with everyone who comes to him. I highly recommend if you have the opportunity you should definitely take his classes.
Sundiata Nov 3, 2015
I have had the privilege of knowing Nana for over 30 years as a friend and fellow musician drummer. We have shared the professional stage performing in several African Dance Companies. Nana brings with him a wealth of knowledge in African music, djembe drumming and storytelling that set Nana apart from most African American Drummers.

Nana, is an excellent teacher who has shared his musical knowledge teaching children in the public school system for many years. His unique style of teaching music combined with math and storytelling is unique. Nana has the ability to bring his roots and love of African cultural music to people of all ages making it fun and enjoyable for everyone.
Thumb_56397d235474e_review_4-up on 2015-04-10 at 13
Bennie Nov 3, 2015
Drum · In studio
Nana is a true Maestre and captivating professor. I initially brought my kids thinking I would have them learn the power of the Djimbe only to realize I was learning as much as them. If you want you or your kids to learn any kind of drumming in the fastest, funnest and most authentic way possible look no further.
Diana Aversa Nov 3, 2015
Drum · In studio
Nana is a great teacher, my son who is 2 years old has been attending the Toddler's Class at World Beat Center for over a year now. He loves drumming, singing and dancing to Nana's magical beats! Highly recommended to introduce music to children, the best gift your could give a new human being <3 Gracias Nana!
Yiriba Nov 3, 2015
They say that patience is a virtue and that time is the teacher. This is what comes in the the Nana package. The go to man to take you from crawling to walking to running!!
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