West African Drumming and Dance in North American by George Worlasi Kwasi Dor

By George Worlasi Kwasi Dor

More than twenty universities and twenty different schools in North the US (USA and Canada) provide functionality classes on West African ethnic dance drumming. seeing that its inception in 1964 at either UCLA and Columbia, West African drumming and dance has steadily constructed right into a shiny campus culture in North the USA. The dances such a lot practiced within the American academy come from the ethnic teams Ewe, Akan, Ga, Dagbamba, Mande, and Wolof, thereby privileging dances often from Ghana, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso. This robust presence and perform of an international tune ensemble within the diaspora has captured and engaged the curiosity of students, musicians, dancers, and audiences.

In the first-ever ethnographic learn of West African drumming and dance in North American universities, the writer files and recognizes ethnomusicologists, ensemble administrators, scholars, directors, and educational associations for his or her key roles within the histories in their respective ensembles. Dor collates and stocks views together with debates on pedagogical methods that could be instructive as versions for either present and destiny ensemble administrators and divulges the a number of affects that participation in an ensemble or category deals scholars. He additionally examines the interaction between traditionally located constructions and structures, discourse, and perform, and explores the a number of meanings that people and numerous teams of individuals build from this campus job. The learn may be of price to scholars, administrators, and students as an ethnographic examine and as a textual content for educating proper classes in African track, African reviews, ethnomusicology/world song, African diaspora reports, and different comparable disciplines.

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West African Drumming and Dance in North American Universities: An Ethnomusicological Perspective

Greater than twenty universities and twenty different schools in North the USA (USA and Canada) provide functionality classes on West African ethnic dance drumming. on account that its inception in 1964 at either UCLA and Columbia, West African drumming and dance has progressively constructed right into a vivid campus tradition in North the USA.

Extra info for West African Drumming and Dance in North American Universities: An Ethnomusicological Perspective

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And although most established churches, Baptist and Methodist for example, did not use drums and other percussion in worship, one would imagine that the deployment of drum substitutes in black churches of the nineteenth century intensified. More related to this book’s subject matter was the use of bass drums and tambourines in many of the new denominations established by blacks in the late nineteenth century. These churches included the Holiness and Sanctified, some of which started in southern states of Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee in the 1890s (Southern 1997: 262).

In a related conversation I had with Kobla Ladzekpo of UCLA, he remembered Olatunji’s interest in the Ewe drums that their group was performing with during the 1958 conference and that he assisted Olatunji in acquiring the Ewe drums after he left for the United States (Personal Correspondence, November, 2010). The photo of the Ghanaian Ewe drums can be seen with the performers at a recording session on (2005: 127), and Olatunji’s son Kwame, whom he named after his friend Nkrumah (2005: 128). An advertisement of a performance by John Coltrane held at the Olatunji Center of African Culture (2005: 128) provides another visual evidence of his realized vision.

However, that was not the reality, and perhaps only wishful thinking. In the next few paragraphs, I explore factors that could have encouraged the continued absence of West African dance drumming for almost another century. I will contextualize this prolonged absence within the church, social life, and the academy. But before I do so, it may be appropriate to explain the rationale behind spending more time on the absence of West African drumming in the United States of America. Until the advent of post-structuralism, the study of the absence of a phenomenon was not a major research preoccupation of many intellectuals.

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