Michael Kweku Owusu grew up in the Arts Center, a constructed community attached to Accra’s Centre for National Culture, where some of Ghana's most talented artists and craftspeople live and work. Around age 11, Kweku began to build drums. He learned by assisting experienced drum builders. At first, Kweku built drums so he could sell them in order to support himself along with his mother and four sisters. While learning this trade he also picked up drumming, since he needed to demonstrate the techniques of his creations.
Soon, younger kids who lived on the streets of the Arts Center began to gravitate toward Kweku’s patient, caring ways. He involved them in his work, and supported them with school supplies & tutoring.
At age 17, Kweku left school to pursue music and drum building full-time in the Arts Center. Soon he began to meet Peace Corps volunteers and tourists from all over the world – he sold them drums and gave them lessons, which allowed him to support his family and continue his work with the children. It also gave him the opportunity to go abroad.
In 2007, Kweku was invited to the US for the first time along with a Ghanaian drum and dance group, performing to support an orphanage in Ghana. The trip was sponsored by the Medical University of South Carolina.
When he returned, Kweku bought a small plot of land in the Arts Center, and built a workshop on it to serve as a home base for his work with the children. Then called the “Gye Nyame Project,” (named by the children themselves), Kweku continued his work drumming, building drums, mentoring and performing with the children.