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Crane School of Music Hosts Concert by West African Drum and Dance Ensemble

11.21.18
Photo of Crane West African Drum and Dance Ensemble joined by master Ghanaian drummer Martin Kwaku Kwaakye
Joined by master Ghanaian drummer Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng (second from left), the Crane West African Drum and Dance Ensemble will perform in concert on Nov. 30 at SUNY Potsdam.

SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will host a concert featuring the Crane West African Drum and Dance Ensemble on Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater.

The Crane West African Ensemble will be joined by guest master drummer Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng, an expert Ghanaian musician who brings a high level of musical mastery and rhythmic virtuosity to any performance.

The event will be lively and upbeat, with opportunities for the audience to participate and dance with the group at the end. This is a great event for people of all ages, including families with young children. The concert is free, and the public is invited to attend.

The ensemble will perform four exciting pieces of dance-drumming, as well as presenting a traditional Akan children’s song and an Akan handgame, which involves clapping, singing and movement.

About the performers:

The Crane West African Drum and Dance Ensemble performs music from Ghana, Togo and neighboring countries of West Africa. The 30-member ensemble strives to perform and represent West African traditional music in the most accurate way possible. Students learn the material through an oral method, rather than through written notation or scores. The group is an inclusive community open to all students at SUNY Potsdam, regardless of musical background or ability, and the students in the group reflect a diversity of backgrounds and majors.  

Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng has worked with the ensemble since its start in 2013. He is a well-renowned drummer, composer, dancer and educator originally from Ghana, who has worked internationally for the past 30 years. He began drumming at the age of five, and by seventeen he was appointed Royal Court Drummer to the high chief of the Aburi-Akuapim region of the Eastern Region of Ghana. He was a member of Ghana's National Arts Council Folkloric Company. Obeng has continued to perform traditional music of West Africa, in addition to highlife, jazz, Latin music, reggae and different fusions of these styles. Obeng teaches at Brown University, and has shared the stage with such luminaries as Max Roach, Roy Hargrove, Randy Weston, Anthony Braxton, Gideon Alorwoyie and Obo Addy.

This concert will be broadcast live on the Crane School of Music YouTube channel at the performance time. To view the program and see other upcoming streaming performances, visit www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/streaming.

About The Crane School of Music:

Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution. For more information, please visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.

Media contact:

Alexandra Jacobs Wilke, Office of College Communications,
(315) 267-2918