Faculty Forum Series: Black to Tell of Musical Experiences in West Africa

As part of Midwestern State University's Faculty Forum Series, Alan Black will speak on his experience with the music and dance of the Ewe people of Ghana, West Africa, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, February 11, in Clark Student Center's Shawnee Theater.

In January 2013, Black traveled to Accra, Ghana, with a company called ThisWorld Music. "We were involved in a total immersion program for 12 days, learning the music, drumming, and dance, as well as the culture of the Ghanaian people, and particularly the Ewe people of Southeastern Ghana, near the Togo border," Black said. After Accra, the group traveled to Kopeiya, a cultural village, where they spent six more days learning drumming and dance. At the end of the time there, they performed what they had learned. Black's experience both in Accra and at the Dagbe Institute in Kopeiya, is the basis of his presentation.

"I considered it nearly a life changing experience, and will always have fond memories of my time there and the things that I learned," Black said.

A Texas Music Educators Association conference workshop first piqued Black's interest in West African drumming, prompting the acquisition of an Ewe drum set for research and teaching. The drums are incorporated into world music classes. They are also featured in the percussion and steel pan ensembles' educational programs on West African drumming and its relationship to Caribbean music, American percussion music, and jazz.

Black holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Brigham Young University and a Master of Arts in Music Education from Boise State University. He has completed Ph.D. coursework at the University of Utah. Black began his career at MSU in 1987 and currently serves as the Associate Director of Bands. He is director of the MSU jazz and percussion programs, and teaches applied percussion and music education courses.

The Faculty Forum is an interdisciplinary lecture series presented by MSU to provide faculty the opportunity to have their scholarship recognized in the community and to promote the exchange of ideas among colleagues.