Thomas Annang speaks to The Monthly about the impact of Lockdown on his work

Could you tell us where you are from and what it is that you do?

I am originally from Ghana and I have lived in Northern Ireland for many years now. I am a drummer and performer. I also teach drumming and dance and I perform with various groups in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

How did Lockdown affect your life?

It has been very difficult. Anyone who knows me knows that music is my life. I have been committed to music since I was a child and it is the thing which gives me the most joy. All of that joy has been taken away from me. The pandemic has meant that all my music and the work that I do teaching music has been taken away.. Effectively my life has been shut down.

You were working regularly before the pandemic?

Yes. I was working in Scotland and had bookings right through until May. I was working throughout Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland and things had been picking up quite well. The pandemic hit and everything had to be cancelled.

Were you able to get any relief from the government?

A little bit here and there but eventually I had to get another job and go to work in order to survive. Luckily I was able to find a job. I know everyone is struggling at the moment and while I had worked very hard to build up my musical career, when all the work was cancelled there really wasn’t much choice. I am hoping that as the Lockdown lifts I will return to teaching, playing and performing music.

Did you try moving your work online?

I did some things online but once you take on a full-time job you really don’t have the time to concentrate on preparing everything to make viable online material. I am looking at that avenue but really I prefer to be around people and either performing or teaching requires people to be present in a room with me. I have been thinking about how that can happen and I realised that I can give socially distanced drumming lessons and it is possible to do socially distanced workshops with a few people so that it what I am am offering people now.

Socially distanced drumming lessons?

Yes. absolutely. I can easily do that and as schools, community groups and people generally get back to whatever normal life will be, and I know that will take time, I am hoping that I will go back to my music.

If you are interested in contacting Thomas please see the link below.

artist forms link
New Belfast Community Arts Initiative trading as Community Arts Partnership is a registered charity (XR 36570) and a company limited by guarantee (Northern Ireland NI 37645).Registered with The Charity Commission as New Belfast Community Arts Initiative - NIC105169.