The Carleton College African Drum Ensemble will perform their annual fall concert on Tuesday, November 17 at 4 p.m. in the Sayles-Hill Great Space. The concert will feature music of the Ewe people of Ghana, all under the direction of Carleton’s senior lecturer in percussion, Jay Johnson. The event is free and open to the public.
The African Drum Ensemble is comprised of twelve Carleton students that meet once a week to learn the music as it is traditionally learned, aurally and without notation. Ewe music is often centered around large festivals and ceremonies that incorporate specific dances. For David Tullis ‘12 (Fort Worth, Texas), “The cool thing is that the drum rhythms, or 'calls', can directly respond to or call out certain dance moves. So people are very much encouraged to come and join in.”
The songs will include Agbadza, a recreational dance song, Adawu and Sovu, which are part of an initiation ceremony for Yewe priests, and Gahu/Kinka, which is performed as an occasion in itself. The songs are often characterized by different rhythms that interact and change with successive small variations.
Johnson, a member of the Carleton staff since 1991, earned his BA and MA in percussion with an emphasis in Ethnomusicology from the University of Minnesota. He is the 1999 recipient of a McKnight Artist Fellowship, and has had his original compositions produced by a number of theater companies across the country, including the Twin Cities’ own Guthrie Theater and Children’s Theater Company. He has performed dozens of world premieres at major festivals and concert halls throughout the United States and Europe, and can be heard locally in concert or on recordings with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera Company, Plymouth Music Series, Dale Warland Singers, and others.
The Sayles-Hill campus center is located at One North College Street on the Carleton College campus. The Great Space is directly in front of the snack bar. For more information or disability accommodations, contact the music department at (507) 222-4475.
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