Fun article in the NY Times today about Ghanaian ex-pats in New York City carrying on the tradition of boisterous funerals from back home in Ghana. Interestingly, it notes:
The funerals have become such money makers that the pretexts for them are sometimes a bit thin … A New Yorker, for example, might hold a party for a cousin’s niece’s husband who died in Ghana, even if the two had never met and few of the proceeds are intended for the family back home.
Makes one wonder if the business model is traditional as well! While we’re on the subject, here’s an oldie but goodie from 2009 of ThisWorldMusic/UMass in Ghana student Mike Thacker cutting a rug with some friendly locals at a village funeral…and the crowd goes wild!
Our December newsletter went out on Tuesday and includes resources for educators, upcoming events, and other exciting news. To make sure you receive email updates from us in the future, including news on African drumming workshops, performances and study abroad opportunities in Africa, subscribe at the top right of this page.
ThisWorldMusic/UMass Ghana student Tara Schwitzman — a k a Ms. S — raised money on DonorsChoose.org for her all-girls 5th grade drumming ensemble in North Philly.
I posted on November 13 about Philly Public Schools teacher and Ghana tripper extraordinaire Tara Schwitzman’s project to raise money on DonorsChoose.org for an all girls 5th grade African drumming ensemble at her school in North Philly. With donations coming in from around the country (including the Dublin Coffman Marching Band in Dublin, OH) her project was fully funded in a matter of weeks. Go Tara!
“It is incredible…how much this music and dancing is bringing them together,” she says. “Seeing an all girls, fifth grade class come together with respect, and work together to achieve a common goal makes all the difficulties of teaching in this setting worth it.”
“Last year I was thrown into [a school] in…North Philadelphia, as an emergency certified teacher without any resources or education background,” recalls Tara. “I struggled for months, trying to figure out how to reach my students, who have faced more turmoil in their 10 years of living than I will ever know.” READ MORE →
Our fall newsletter went out today and includes resources for educators, upcoming events, and other exciting news. To make sure you receive email updates from TWM, including news on African drumming workshops, performances and study abroad courses in Ghana, West Africa, simply subscribe at the top right of this page.
Nana Amuah-Afenyi VI — a k a King Peggy — rules the Ghanaian village of Otuam most of the year from her condo in Silver Spring, Maryland
For all the obvious and predictable talk about gender inequality — have you heard how they treat women in the developing world? — to me, today’s NPR story about Peggielene Bartels, the Ghanaian-American woman anointed king of her home village (first reported in the Washington Post Magazine’s “All the King’s Men” ), is really about indigenous religious practices trumping indigenous gender bias.
Although gender bias in Otuam — the Ghanaian village where “King Peggy” was born and now rules for most of the year from her condo in Silver Spring, Maryland — presumably does run deep, so too does a belief that the spirits of the ancestors must be consulted on a range of big decisions, including whom to promote to the chieftaincy. Turns out these forebears are a pretty progressive bunch! To learn more, listen to the NPR story.
Welcome to the newly launched ThisWorldMusic blog! Jeremy Cohen here, composer, percussionist and TWM Founder/Director. I’ll be blogging in this space about West African music & dance, cultural tourism/travel, and education — global, multicultural and continuing — as well as a variety of related topics, all in support of the TWM mission:
To create a cultural bridge between students, educators and artists in the U.S. and Africa through a shared love of music and the arts.
In addition to updates on performances, workshops, and trips to Ghana, West Africa, the blog will be in line with our workshops and course offerings READ MORE →