Download Full Text (445 KB)

Publication Date


Year of Release



Steven Hall, conductor

African Ensemble Personnel:

Mason Bartlett, Jeremy Boggs, Kaitlynn Coe, Morgan Farrell, Jarohn, Grandstaff, Emily Hall, Jesse Horner, Charles Kiser, Kelli Meeks, Ross Patrick, Charles Powell ***, Amanda Rivera, Christopher Scarberry, Derek Staley, Christina Stradwick, Jordan Weisz, Stephen Blankenship, Tracey Brown-Dolinski, Joseph Crowe, Brooke Fisher, Allison Hall, Corynn Hawkins, Allyson Jasper, Katelyn McGuffin, Arika Michaelis, Brody Potter, T'Asia Rankin, Mirissa Roles, Colten Settle, Shane Stevens, Brandon Walls, Danielle Woods

* * * - graduate student

I owe a great deal of gratitude to Ms. Betsy Jordan for her assistance in working

with the dancers. ----Steve Hall

Program Notes:

Traditional African music is a community activity and is functional. Traditional African music maintains deep connections with the aspects of the daily lives of the people including the history of their ancestors. Most traditional African music has four aspects: drumming, dancing, singing, and costumes.


This social dance for youth in the Volta Region of Ghana is a community dance among the Ewes. Usually a duet for the opposite sex, the dancers use the nonverbal language of dance through flexible torso and pelvic movements. This movement flow is interjected with a sharp silence freeze. This pause is unique in its own right because that total silence is part of the Gota music and dance. The master drummer commands the entire dance piece. The music is poly-rhythmic, interwoven in a fabric of sound created by many distinct and contrasting phrases played simultaneously. The basic rhythm of each instrument is carefully crafted to contribute to the power of the overall rhythm. As the parts repeat, the players reach their aesthetic goal: a beautifully integrated whole with subliminal nurturing undercurrents to elevate the mind and soul.


Sikyi, social music and dance of the Akan people in Ghana, is a dance of flirtation between the sexes.


Bantaba is a festival music and dance of the Djolla, Ballanta and Mandingo people of Senegal and Guinea. Bantaba would normally be performed at the end of harvest season and would involve everyone in the community. The purpose for this music is to give thanks to God for a bountiful harvest and to bring the community together in celebration. Bantaba, therefore marks the end of the harvest season.


Bamaya, meaning, "The river valley is wet", is the most popular social music and dance performed among the Dagbombas of Northern Ghana. Originally used for religious performances and performed only by men, Bamaya is now performed by both genders for funerals, festivals and other social occasions. Two different but similar origination stories seemingly explain the creation of Bamaya: During a drought and famine in the 19th century, sacrifices made by rainmakers to their land god Tingban(a) were futile. The Dagbomba men decided that prayers by women to Tingban got a faster response so they dressed in women's clothing and went with the head priest to a grove where they believed the god resided. Due to their vigorous dance, the god was touched by the plight of the "women" and sent down an abundant rainfall. The name, Bamaya, was given to the dance as a form of gratitude and joy on the behalf of the dancers who brought the plentiful rains Bamaya, a Dogbane harvest dance usually performed by men in ladies' skirts, involves wiggling of the pelvis. This special dance is based on the story of a man who maltreated his wife, resulting in a plague of famine for the whole territory. It was revealed that in order to humble the man in question to his wife, all the men in the village had to dress like women - hence the Bamaya costume. The gender equality element furnishes us with food for thought. .. be nice to all living things. Some schools of traditional thought links the dance movements of Bamaya to fanning off mosquitoes.


Smith Recital Hall


Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | Music | Music Performance

Marshall University Music Department Presents the Marshall University African Drumming & Dance Ensemble, Steven Hall, conductor