Download Full Text (1.0 MB)

Publication Date

Spring 4-30-2015

Year of Release



Steven Hall, conductor

Jessica Fox, assistant conductor

Charles Powell, master drum

Jessica Lynn Fox, original choreography

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.


Ga-Dangme Puberty Dance-Drumming

Entering puberty is a critical period of the ongoing communal assimilation of a child into the cultural tradition of society. The young child has developed the capability of reproducing sexually and must know the social responsibilities of that biological maturity.

Puberty rites known, as "dipo" are the communal forum in which the Ga-Dangme female acquires the knowledge of the social responsibilities of this critical biological transition. Very respected female members of the community are the officiating elders. Their wisdom, life experience, self-esteem and self-confidence provide good role models for the young adults.

Tokoe is the dance-drumming performed at the beginning of the ceremonies to introduce the very carefully selected candidates of "dipo" to the community. Entering "dipo" is an honor and privilege and all entering must meet very strict qualification measures. Among these qualification measures is the requirement that the young adult remains a virgin by the time of entering.

The Ga-Dangme people reside in southern Ghana along the banks of the Volta River


Zambezi is a song by Tinashe' a Zimbabwe-born British singer songwriter performed on the mbira or thumb piano. His musical influences range from rock, pop and R & B to traditional African music.

Zimbabwe a land-locked country located in the south-central highlands of Africa is surrounded by the Zambezi River to the north and the Limpopo River to the south and is the home to the Shona people who are credited with a virtuosic mbira tradition closely tied to spirituality and ancestor-worship.


Galm is a form of music and dance that originated in Southwestern Nigeria as a Yoruba wedding celebration. Adopted by the Southern Ewe people of Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria, Gahu has evolved into a recreational music and dance performed at any social occasion by both sexes and all age groups. The name Gahu comes from the Ewe words "ga" meaning rich or wealthy and "Hu" meaning drum or dance for the wealthy.


From the Maninka ethnic group, Kassa is performed in the Guinea regions of Macenta and Balandougou to celebrate baptisms and weddings. Kassa is also played while workers harvest the fields. The workers may have to walk miles from field to field and Kassa is sometimes played while the workers walk to the next field. It is also played to celebrate the bountiful harvest at a festival called the "Kassaladon".

African Ensemble Personnel

Nathan Bohach, John Boykin, Ryan Cardwell, Brenna Decker, Brooke Fisher, Makala Gilkerson, Jaime Graham, Jarohn Grandstaff, Emily Hall, Alexander Hersman, Amanda Kimler, Allison Lawhead, Chanisha Mendenhall, Olivia Myers, Scott Nibert, Brody Potter, Alexandra Perdue, Charles Powell, *** Ethan Rayment

*** graduate student

I owe a great deal of gratitude to Jessica Fox for her guidance and creativity in working with the dancers. ----Steve Hall


Smith Recital Hall


Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | Music | Music Performance

Marshall University Music Department Presents the Marshall University Aftrican Drumming & Dance Ensemble, Steven Hall, conductor, Jessica Fox, assistant conductor