November 8, 2012
Master Ghanaian Drummer Martin Obeng visited the University of New Haven campus this Thursday to lead a Ghanaian Drumming Ensemble for students in two Introduction to World Music courses taught by new faculty member Erica Haskell, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology. In the workshop students had the opportunity to learn several traditional rhythms as well as asking Obeng about his experiences in Ghana and his musical career in the United States.
Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng (KKO) is a well-renowned master drummer, composer, dancer, and educator originally from Ghana, West Africa who has worked internationally for the past 30 years. He began drumming at the age of five. At seventeen, he was appointed Royal Court Drummer for the high chief of the Aburi-Akuapim area of the Eastern Region. He later joined the National Arts Council Folkloric Ensemble where he performed diverse repertoire, and gained a far-reaching knowledge of the rich and varied music of Ghana. He toured the world as a cultural emissary with the Folkloric Ensemble. In 1981, he moved to the US where he soon joined the New England based Talking Drum Ensemble. In the US, Obeng’s music has taken on new dimensions, representing not only the traditional drumming of his homeland, but creative fusions of drumming, Afropop, Afro-jazz, funk, reggae, and folk. He has also taught at Brown University since 1988, and a number of other institutions, devoting much of his time to educating students about African music and guiding them in learning to play intense and complex music.
-Dr. Erica Haskell, Assistant Professor of Music