Drummer, educator Theo Martey named NH Artist Laureate

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Theo Martey, a teacher of West African drumming and dance and songwriter, is New Hampshire’s next artist laureate.

Martey, who was nominated by Gov. Chris Sununu, was confirmed by the Executive Council on Wednesday for the two-year honorary position. He had received the Governor’s Arts Award for Arts Education in 2019.

Born in Accra, Ghana, he has more than 33 years’ experience as a performer and arts educator across three continents. He has lived and worked in New Hampshire for 20 years.

Martey has taught more than 5,000 workshops to students from first grade through high school, college and university students, and in communities.

“For over two decades, I have been invited into dozens of schools across New Hampshire as an artist in residence, working with students so that they may experience West African drumming and dance hands-on,” Martey said in a statement. “To be named artist laureate is an honor, and I look forward to continuing to use music to empower others to discover their best selves and promote the importance of arts across the state and the region.”

Martey is the state’s ninth artist laureate since 1997.