Spiced Fried Plantain Recipe: Kelewele (Ghana)

Plantains kelewele Ghana
Plantains are popular in Ghana as a snack or side dish. Though related to bananas, plantains are much starchier and far less sweet, and are therefore usually eaten cooked.

Plantains can be baked, boiled, fried, pounded or dried and milled into flour. Probably the most common preparation in Ghana is the seemingly ubiquitous fufu, a starch made from pounding plantain together with cassava or yam (not to be confused with sweet potato, which isn’t a true yam) that is served as an accompaniment to stews, soups and sauces.

Since pounding fufu is quite labor intensive, let’s learn to make kelewele, a delectable spiced fried plantain dish that is a popular snack in Ghana. Think sweet and hearty Ghanaian comfort food…with a kick! READ MORE

ThisWorldMusic Visits Sarah Lawrence

Sarah Lawrence College
ThisWorldMusic will be visiting Sarah Lawrence. Tentative schedule is as follows:

  • Monday, October 27 (12:30-1:30 p.m.): Information session at the Sarah Lawrence International Programs Office for students interested in ThisWorldMusic’s Study in Ghana program.
  • Tuesday, October 28 (1:00-3:00 p.m.): Come visit ThisWorldMusic’s table at the annual Sarah Lawrence Study Abroad Fair.


Brandeis Community Drumming Workshop

Brandeis Drumming Workshop
Join us on Monday, November 3rd from 7:30–9:00 p.m. at Brandeis University for an evening of drumming! In partnership with Brandeis Beats, the MUSIC+RHYTHM+COMMUNITY workshop is part of an ongoing series of community drum circles facilitated by ThisWorldMusic Founder Jeremy Cohen.

Free and open to the public. Read about past workshops.

For details on how to participate, contact Brandeis Beats President Aliza Gans:

African Drumming at Moravian College

Moravian College campus

Developing an African Drumming Program for Your Music Classroom
with Jeremy Cohen, Founder & Director of ThisWorldMusic

Date: Saturday, January 31, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Learn how to bring the joy and power of African drumming into your music classroom! This workshop explores precision drum, bell and rattle technique; recitation of onomatopoeic drum “vocables;” and the singing of traditional West African songs.

The various rhythms introduced range in difficulty, allowing you to differentiate instruction for your students. Classroom management issues and how to recruit, equip and schedule African drumming classes and ensembles in a K-12 setting are also discussed.

Open to Moravian students and Lehigh Valley K-12 teachers. For more info, email Dr. Joy Hirokawa:

Artists in Juvenile Justice Initiative Expands, Launches Annual Statewide Youth Showcase

Hip-hop drumming performance at Massachusetts State House

A student group led by ThisWorldMusic Founder Jeremy Cohen performed at the Massachusetts State House as part of the Department of Youth Services “Share Your Art – Share Your Voice!” showcase.


With the 2nd Annual Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) “Share Your Art – Share Your Voice!” statewide showcase coming up on June 17th at UMass Boston, I thought I’d share some pictures from last year’s inaugural showcase.

First, a little background: In 2006 the Massachusetts-based non-profit Collaborative for Educational Services (CES) initiated Unlocking the Light, an arts integration and professional development program designed to aid teachers working in Massachusetts DYS juvenile detention facilities. READ MORE

Studying Dance in Africa with TWM and Saint Mary’s College

Ballet dancerStarting this January, students enrolled in LEAP (Liberal Education for Arts Professionals) — the Bachelor of Arts degree program designed for current and former professional dancers at Saint Mary’s College of California — will have the opportunity to study traditional music and dance in the West African country of Ghana while receiving academic credit toward their degrees. This is thanks to a new collaboration with ThisWorldMusic®, a Massachusetts-based company that partners with educational institutions and arts organizations to offer innovative, hands-on cultural learning experiences, both in the U.S. and abroad. READ MORE

VH1 Reality Show Off Pitch Features Ghana Study Abroad Alum

VH1 Reality Show <i>Off Pitch</i> Features Ghana Study Abroad Alum

Our Ghana study abroad participants are always an eclectic bunch. As proof, look no further than program alum Eric Busse, currently starring in VH1’s new reality show Off Pitch, which chronicles the Grand River Singers (GRS) of La Crosse, Wisconsin. According to Founder and Artistic Director Rob Jones, GRS is the only all-adult, Glee-inspired community show choir in the U.S.

Check out the trailer:

Teaching Music in Urban Schools: One Educator’s Journey (Part II)

Today on the blog we are pleased to feature the second in a two-part guest post from Elizabeth Green, a music educator in New York City and participant on the summer 2012 ThisWorldMusic Study in Ghana program.

“You’re so lucky you teach music! The kids love music!”

So said a colleague one day as he dropped some students off for my Music Therapy class.

Me? Lucky? I’m lucky I remembered my turkey sandwich for lunch! Wait…they truly love music? Probably. Did they love my Music Class? Probably not.

I certainly make an effort to get them to love my class. I’m energetic. I make them laugh. I feel I can relate well to strugglers as well as smarty-pants in the classroom. Most of all, I love music and I love working with kids. READ MORE

Sounds of the Rainforest: Arts-Integrated Music Education

Sounds of the 4 layers of rainforestJust wrapped up a weeklong artist residency for Young Audiences at Lincoln Elementary School in Melrose, Mass., titled “Sounds of the Rainforest.” It was a great week, though these kids were so knowledgeable about the rainforest that at times it felt like they were teaching me!

For example, did you know that howler monkeys are the loudest animals on the planet aside from blue whales? Or that only 2% of the sunlight that shines on the rainforest makes it all the way down to the forest floor?

To learn more, and to get ideas for an interdisciplinary, arts-integrated rainforest unit of your own, take a look below at the detailed program notes that we put together for our final assembly “informance.” READ MORE

WATCH: Afrobeat Group Antibalas on Jimmy Kimmel: “Dirty Money”

WATCH: Afrobeat Group Antibalas on Jimmy Kimmel: "Dirty Money"

The winter 2013 session of ThisWorldMusic’s Ghana Study Abroad program just concluded! Our groups are always eclectic mixes of musicians, dancers and educators from around the world, and this past trip was no different.

We’ll have more on the most recent crop of participants in an upcoming post, but today we’re featuring a participant from the 2012 winter study abroad program: drummer, bandleader and NYU music student Miles Arntzen. In addition to his academic obligations, Miles manages to find time to hold down the drum chair for a number of high-profile New York City afrobeat and afro-rock groups, including Superhuman Happiness, EMEFE (his own project) and, most notably, the Fela Kuti-inspired, globetrotting, 12-piece powerhouse that is Antibalas. (Both EMEFE and Antibalas made the Top 15 Afrobeat Albums of 2012.)

After establishing itself as the preeminent U.S.-based afrobeat band, Antibalas gained wider exposure as the house band for the Broadway smash FELA! Based in Brooklyn, they recently released their fifth full-length album on Daptone Records and have been touring since the fall to promote it.

Here they are performing their hit “Dirty Money” last night on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live…with Miles on drums!

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