[ in the press ]

Yale musicians play—and listen—in Ghana

YPG_Ghana_UCCYale Alumni Magazine
By Christopher Arnott

For decades, musical groups from Yale have flown all over the world in the summers to perform. But the 12-day trip that members of the undergraduate Yale Concert Band and the School of Music’s Yale Percussion Group took to Ghana in May wasn’t just for sharing their own music but also for learning about Ghana’s musical culture.

While on the trip, students made video and audio recordings to document native Ghanaian drummers and dancers—recordings that will be used to make and publish transcriptions in collaboration with scholars and publishers in Ghana. Yale Bands director Thomas Duffy, who led the trip, likens the research to the valuable folk-music field recordings that scholars made in Appalachian areas of the United States in the 1930s. MORE

Published October 2, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

CS Monitor: Yale musicians study West Africa’s drumbeats, a village at a time

IMG_6474-dance2Christian Science Monitor 
By Chris Stein, Correspondent

ACCRA, GHANA — In Ghana, traditional drumming continues to play an important role in public and private life – despite the modernization taking place all over West Africa.

When newlyweds leave wedding chapels, or when the president calls on parliament, or when foreign dignitaries arrive at high-profile conferences, drummers are often there to pound out a welcoming beat.

In fishing and farming villages, traditional drumming and dancing is still part of the send-off that men get to war, or in the welcoming of newborn babies.

So when Yale University’s percussion group headed to visit towns and villages on Ghana’s central coast last month, they came not just to drum, but to document. MORE

Published July 2, 2014
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[ in the press ]

52 from Yale feel the beat — and heat — in Ghana trip

IMG_4803New Haven Register
By Joe Amarante

Yale Director of Bands Thomas Duffy returned from a momentous 12-day trip to Ghana with 51 students and Yale band and School of Music staffers on June 1, threw out all his clothes from the trip and left a day later for a week in China.

We should explain.

Duffy led 41 student members of the Yale Concert Band, six Yale Percussion Group grad students, three documentarians and a staff member on 12 days of cultural exchange, musical research and community service in the African country of Ghana.

The delegation studied, performed and recorded traditional drumming and dance pieces with Ghanaian master drummers, the first time that some of the pieces have been performed in decades. MORE

Published June 18, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

Yale Percussion Group learns at University of Cape Coast, Ghana

IMG_6260-groupOn Thursday, May 29, the Yale Percussion Group returned to the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to learn more West African music and dance.

The six members of the YPG  met with John Kuubeterzie, the same faculty member that had led the performance on Tuesday, May 27, and three of his students. Despite the lack of electricity in the music building that day, the group had a very productive session.

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Published May 31, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

Project continues to record Ghanaian drumming

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“Ekrodo” in Eduma

Over the past two days, the Yale Percussion Group and members of the Yale Concert Band have visited villages in coastal Ghana to watch and record performances of local music and dance traditions. The video and audio recordings will be used to make transcriptions for publication.

“Ekrodo,” in the village of Eduma, is traditionally a dance for farmers when they want to relax and have fun, especially at harvest time. “Osoode” drumming, in the village of Oguaakuma, was originally for young people for the purpose of having fun; it is rarely performed today. Both of these involve singing and clapping in addition to the drumming.
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Published May 29, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

Yale Band and Yale Percussion Group play concert in Yamoransa, Ghana

IMG_0959-drummingThe village of Yamoransa, where the Yale Concert Band, Yale Percussion Group, and Yale Alumni Service Corps are working on community projects this week, welcomed the ensembles for an open-air concert last night. People packed the village square for the event, which for many was their first time seeing a concert band.

The May 28 event opened with music and dance performed by ensembles from Yamoransa. The Yale Concert Band then performed several selections. Local schoolchildren paraded with drawings they had made to accompany Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, which they had read in school. MORE

Published May 29, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

Yale Percussion Group, Yale Concert Band enjoy musical exchange at University of Cape Coast

IMG_5015-dancing

Dancers from UCC welcome Yale

On Monday, May 26, the Yale ensembles currently in Ghana visited the University of Cape Coast (UCC). A drumming ensemble from UCC welcomed the group for an afternoon music exchange. Dancers then joined the ensemble for an exciting performance.

The Yale Percussion Group, made up of the School of Music’s six graduate students in percussion, played Steve Reich’s Drumming. (Reich himself  had been inspired by a trip to Ghana.) Drumming combines patterns influenced by West African music with Reich’s concept of phasing, in which performers deliberately move out of sync with one another.

John Kuubeterzie, professor from UCC, taught some Ghanaian rhythms to members of the YPG, and other members of the Yale group learned basic dance steps. MORE

Published May 27, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

Yale Band & Percussion Group bring music to Yamoransa schools

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Thomas C. Duffy describes what a conductor does

The Yale Concert Band and Yale Percussion Group arrived yesterday at Cape Coast. This morning they visited the village of Yamoransa, with which Yale has an ongoing partnership.

Three groups of Yale musicians went into classrooms, where they introduced themselves and their instruments to Yamoransa students. Each band member explained the parts of the instrument and demonstrated how it works, and the students learned about woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments. The band members then played the Yale fight song, with the Yamoransa students clapping along. MORE

Published May 26, 2014
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[ ghana tour ]

A glimpse at the National Museum of Ghana

IMG_4607-sculptureFor the Yale Concert Band and Yale Percussion Group, Saturday, May 24 was a day to explore Accra. Many people chose to visit the National Museum of Ghana, whose three main galleries deal with Ghana’s past, its traditions, and with the country’s arts culture.

The museum includes exhibits on prehistoric Africa; sculptures and paintings; and examples of traditional attire, musical instruments, and sacred tribal artifacts.

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Published May 25, 2014
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