West African Drum & Dance Ensemble Performs at Crane School


SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will present a concert featuring the West African Drum and Dance Ensemble on Sunday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater. The performance will include traditional music from West Africa.

This event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

About the performers:

The West African Drum and Dance Ensemble is a new performing ensemble at The Crane School of Music, featuring traditional drumming, dancing and singing from West Africa, including a range of music genres. The ensemble performs recreational, ritual, royal, funeral and sacred music. As is typical of West African ensembles, this one is open to all, regardless of musical background or ability, and it is open to both music and liberal arts majors. During the course of the semester, students learn all of the instrumental parts, songs and dances of the pieces through an oral rather than written process, as well as the cultural context surrounding the music. The ensemble, under the direction of ethnomusicologist Julie Hunter, strives to represent the traditions in the most accurate and culturally sensitive way possible. The West African Ensemble will be joined by Ghanaian lead drummer Martin Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng, a world-renowned drummer, composer, dancer and educator originally from Ghana who has worked internationally for the past 30 years. He 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.

For more information about SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music, please visit www.potsdam.edu/crane.

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.