Kobbi Klutse is a Master Artisan of many talents! He is a Master Puppeteer, wood carver, drum maker, traditional mask dancer, and last, but not least, fire eater! Kobbi owns a store in the Accra Art Center where he sells the wares he makes and practices with the traditional African band he leads.
Having been born in Ghana and brought up in Togo by his grandparents, Kobbi speaks French, Ewe and Twi fluently. His use of English improves daily as he makes meaningful conversations with Americans and British that he meets through his work.
While his band plays a variety of drums that Kobbi has carved from the wood that he finds in the forests of Ghana, Kobbi will make his hand-carved marionette dance to the music. When the video camera is focused on the puppet that Kobbi directs with a multitude of strings, one thinks the puppet is really human! Its feet move back and forth and up and down to the music. Its knees bend at the joints. Its hands and jointed arms move with the rhythm of the children who come close enough to dance with the puppet. The puppet raises and lowers its buttocks as the music dictates. When the puppet has finished its dancing, Kobbi dresses up in a traditional mask costume. As he dances away from the children who are watching, they run after him. When Kobbi turns around, the children scream, run and scatter! When this dance is finished, Kobbi eats fire for the children as they, (and the adults), hold their breath!
Visitors are able to buy Kobbi's xylophones, thumb pianos, shakers, Jamba Drums, mini-drum necklaces, and yes, even wooden turtles that light up electrically! Kobbi is proud of his work. He would like nothing better than to retire on his land in Togo and teach drumming to children all day long! Whether Kobbi is teaching children drumming, or teaching adults to play Oware, he is respected and loved by all who know him!
these pages submitted to africancraft.com by Ellie Schimelman, Nov. 2005 -- last updated, Nov. 2022