The West Virginia University World Music Center will present a festival of traditional and contemporary African music and dance during its annual African Ensemble Concert Sunday, Feb. 22, at 7:30 p.m.
This years concert returns to the Creative Arts Centers newly renovated Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre. In addition to the WVU African Ensemble, it will feature the WVU Womens Choir, along with African ensembles from North Elementary School, Westwood Middle School, Bruceton Mills School, Waynesburg High School and University High School. One of the highlights of the concert will be the first appearance of the Parkersburg High School African Ensemble.
The concert is directed by Paschal Yao Younge, a native of Ghana who is in charge of the World Music Center and directs the African Music Program and the African Ensemble. Dancers with the Ensemble are WVU students from throughout the University.
According to Dr. Younge, the first half of the concert will feature the North Elementary School African Ensemble inBoboobo,the most popular social music and dance of the Central and Northern Ewe of Ghana and Togo. This music emerged from the Volta Region during Ghanas struggle for independence between 1947 and 1957.
The Westwood Middle School African Ensemble will then performKpatsa,the principal traditional entertainment music and dance of the Dangme people of Ghana, and the Bruceton Mills School African Ensemble will performGota,which originated from the Kabre tribe of Benin and is now performed as a recreational music and dance by the Southern Ewe of Ghana.
Waynesburg High School African Ensemble will performSanga,one of the recreational musical types of the Ashanti Akan of Ghana, and the University High School African Ensemble will performKundum,a harvest dance of the Ahanta and Nzema people of Ghana.
The final dance before intermission will beGahu,by the Parkersburg High School African Ensemble. This piece emanated from the musical traditions associated with marriage rites of the Yoruba of Nigeria and is performed by the Southeastern Ewe people of Ghana and Togo on social occasions.
The second half of the concert will feature the WVU African Ensemble inAtsiagbekor,one of the oldest traditional dances of the Ewe speaking people of Southern Ghana and Togo, andJera,a religious music and dance of the Kparibas in Dagbon, which was performed before and after hunting expeditions.
The WVU Womens Choir will perform a medley of three African choruses for females voices, with musical accompaniment by Paschal Yao Younge, and the WVU African Ensemble will then performBamaaya,the most popular social music and dance of the Dagbamba people of Northern Ghana;Soko,music and dance originating from the Faranah region of Guinea; andKpanlongo,the most recent of all Ga recreational musical types, which is calledthe dance of the youth.
Ensemble directors include Jonathan Burbank and Mary Kathryn Welch Burbank, North Elementary School; James Morford, Westwood Middle School; Zachary George, Bruceton Mills School; Zachary George, Dawn Mishra and Aniruddha Logan, Waynesburg High School; Gordon Nunn and Tiffany Wesley, University High School; Keith Moone and Missy Hance, Parkersburg High School; Paschal Yao Younge and Gordon Nunn, WVU African Ensemble; and Kathleen Shannon and Jennifer Vanderholm, WVU Womens Choir.
Paschal Younge came to WVU from the University of Ghana, where he was principal music instructor, founder/director of the Philharmonic Voices, and director of the award winning Aflao Roman Catholic Brass Band. At WVU he gives lectures, workshops and clinics at the University, as well as at elementary, junior high and high schools throughout the state and in other parts of the United States.
Tickets for the WVU African Ensemble Concert are $12 for the general public, $10 for WVU faculty/ staff and senior citizens, and $8 for WVU students. For more information, contact the Mountainlair or CAC Box Office at (304) 293 SHOW .