Welcome to the Ghana Music Wiki
This wiki is dedicated to the University of Alberta's Ghana 9 credit summer study abroad program, entitled West African Music, Dance, Society, and Culture.
The program comprises social science, humanities, and performing arts components, and is formally equivalent to three semester-long University of Alberta courses, available at both undergraduate and graduate levels. There are no prerequisites for these courses, or for the program as a whole.
It's also a repository of information about Ghana, West Africa, and Africa as a whole -- with lots of links to music, video, and text.
Please read on!
Main pages contained in this wiki
University of Alberta summer study abroad in Ghana: program overview
Preparing for the Ghana Program: what to do before you go
African news: music, culture, and more
m.anifest is an award-winning rapper and songwriter who's performed with Erykah Badu - and he's Prof. Nketia's grandson!
a landmark exhibition that focuses on the intersection of art and the major issues of our time, centered on the legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois and the causes he championed, on the 50th anniversary of his death in Accra, Ghana
African Union at 50
Fifty anthems for the African continent. To mark the 50th anniversary of the African Union this year - formerly the Organisation of African Unity, BBC World Service listeners suggested the African songs that summed up the continent to them.
Africa Beats , from the BBC.
Timbuktu's musical muse , with Mali's Toumani Diabate
African Arts and Culture resources
Africa and Africans
Africa South of the Sahara (Stanford University)
Aluka (log in via your university library site; if it's not available request a subscription)
Africa Past and Present podcast
African Knowledge Project, including a set of journals
A History of the African People by Robert W. July (Long Grove IL : Waveland Press, Inc., 1998). 724 page(s)
Africa & Africans by Paul Bohannan and Philip Curtin (Long Grove, IL : Waveland Press, Inc., 1964). 316 page(s)
The Story of Africa (produced by the BBC)
The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, with information on more than 35,000 slave voyages
General info on Ghana
Journals of both historic and scholarly interest:
- Transactions of the Gold Coast & Togoland Historical Society
- Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana
Ghana, by Rachel Naylor (Oxfam Country Study series)
New York Times travel section article about Ghana (August 9, 2009)
The Ewe Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa, by A. B. Ellis.
Adoo Quamina, 1820, captain and courtier to the Ashanti king
Music of West Africa and beyond
Ghana Expo - includes music, TV, films, and more...
Dagara xylophone music center outside Accra
African American and Africana studies
Frederick Douglass http://www.iupui.edu/~douglass/
Booker T Washington http://www.historycooperative.org/btw/
Martin Luther King http://www.kinginstitute.info/
John Henrik Clarke http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/afprl/dr.-john-henrik-clarke
Maulana Karenga http://www.maulanakarenga.org/
Cheikh Anta Diop http://www.gambia.dk/antadiop.html
Note: Some of these links may not work without logging in first. For Films on Demand (http://digital.films.com) you can access from anywhere by visiting the UofA Library site and searching for database: "Films on Demand", then search for the title you wish to screen. You can also create an account allowing you to login directly to digital.films.com. All titles are provided below.
Overviews of African history
Basil Davidson's acclaimed BBC Africa series
Dark passages (Slave trade)
Door of no return (slave trade)
Berlin 1885, la ruée sur l'Afrique 1/6 (other parts present also; in French)
Africa: States of independence - the scramble for Africa. al-Jazeera special on 17 African nations independent for 50 years in 2010.
African society, culture, music, religion, and politics
Paper Gods: Aspects of Religion in Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Mali. See section 10 on a witchcraft village in northern Ghana.
Reel African. Collection of online video content. May not all be accessible from your location.
Africa: who is to blame? A film featuring Ghana's former President J.J. Rawlings
- President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana (04:33)
- Slavery, Colonialism, and Corrupt Democracy (05:06)
- Visions for Africa's Future (02:01)
West Africa generally
Short videos about West Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana...)
Nollywood Babylon, on the Nigerian film industry (from the National Film Board of Canada)
Jean Rouch: seminal French documentary filmmaker-anthropologist, who developed a style of reflexive documentary filmmaking called "cinéma-vérité", blurring boundaries ordinarily separating subject and observer, as well as those separating fiction and non-fiction genres. Rouch is well known for representing West Africa in his films.
- Jean Rouch's classic "Les Maîtres Fous"
- Circoncision - Jean Rouch
- Screening Room with Jean Rouch, by Gardner Robert (Documentary Educational Resources (DER), 1980) 78 minutes.
- See: http://www.maitres-fous.net/home.html
Art (see #10-13)
West Africa—Ghana and the Ivory Coast: Globe Trekker. Typical cheerily youth-oriented TV documentary, following the backpacker route and reveling in its culture more than cultural empathy or interpretation... but of our destinations are highlighted in parts 1-12.
Ghana, its history, culture, and music
Ghana's history, in 3 parts (1. See esp. 26:45 Nkrumah's speech and E.T. Mensah on his highlife song, "Freedom". 2,3) Collage of documentaries and news reels - some great footage. Also [www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=lC8JU6jxHgw].
Dr Kwame Nkrumah (short piece from History Channel)
Colonial Film: Moving Images of the British Empire, containing many online films about the Gold Coast, e.g. Gold Coast Police Band's visit to London in 1947, Prince of Wales in Gold Coast,colonialism
Culture and Society
Environment, entertainment, health, economy...
Changing Nature: Population and Environment at a Crossroads. A view of Ghana's environmental issues, especially the rain forests, and their relation to human health and economic welfare...
- Ghana's Threatened Spirit (04:48)
- Exploitation and Sustainability in Ghana (02:50)
- Ghana's mining camps (04:18)
- Ghana's Public Health Efforts (03:54)
Salt Harvesters of Ghana (Filmakers Library) 18 minutes. Focus on women's roles in traditional salt production in Ada, near the Volta river.
Dreams of Catches Unlimited, in Riches from the Deep 2 (Nordic World) 52 minutes. NB: Fast forward to 22:00 and watch to 35:15. Centered on fish production near Tema. Includes fishermen's work songs, and focusses on women's roles. We will see lots of fishing villages in Ghana.
A Fresh Look at Mali, Ghana, and Nigeria. Watch especially parts 5-8 on Ghana (plus #11, on hip-hop in Lagos).
Ghana: TV in Africa. This documentary studies the cultural landscape of Ghana through the lens of that country’s television programming.
Healers of Ghana. (A traditional voiceover style documentary, a bit dated in some ways, but providing some unique views...) This program explores the traditional medical practices of the Bono people of central Ghana and how their healers are cooperating with Western doctors, using herbs and spiritualism to improve health-care delivery in rural areas. Traditionally, Bono tribal priests undergo a painful spiritual possession, during which deities reveal to them the causes of illnesses, which plants to use to treat them, who is perpetrating witchcraft, and which villagers might be endangering society through improper behavior. The program features vibrant dance and possession ceremonies, set against the backdrop of the Bono villages, which are awash with color. (58 minutes)
Dying in Africa: Perspectives on the End of Life in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, and South Africa. Watch first three segments (on Ghana), and final segment on funeral music (in Burkina Faso)
A Mysterious Death, by Bulmer John and Errington Sarah, in Under the Sun (British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 1999) 49 minutes.
Asante Market Women: Disappearing World. Focus on Kumasi's enormous central market, and the role there of women. Fascinating documentary.
The Interconnected World: An Inside Look at the IMF and Its Impact (45:00). See segments 9-11, with focus on Ghana's emerging oil economy. This program guides viewers through the history, mission, and real-world impact of the International Monetary Fund. Topics include...Ghana’s challenges in ensuring that oil revenues benefit the country.
Highlife: Ghana's Musical Soul (History of Highlife)
Could Ghana's new Azonto dance craze take over the world?. Azonto is Ghana's latest dance style, and it's spread like wildfire, even to London, Scandinavia, and Canada, far from its roots lie in inner-city Jamestown.
Passing Girl: Riverside An Essay On Camera Work, by Braun Kwame (Documentary Educational Resources (DER), 1998) 24 minutes.
The African Diaspora: history, culture, music
Linking Africa to the New World...and back again
Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North. Katrina Browne was shocked to discover that her distinguished Rhode Island forebears had been part of the largest slave-trading dynasty in American history. Once she started digging, Browne found the evidence everywhere—in ledgers, ships’ logs, letters, and even in a local nursery rhyme. This film documents one family’s painful confrontation with their ancestors’ involvement in the slave trade, and in so doing reveals the pivotal role slavery played in the growth of the American economy.
Joy Uspeakable (Pentecostals in Indiana)
The Land Where Blues Began, by Alan Lomax
- World Maps (Oxford)
- Google Map showing locations we'll likely visit on the summer program
- Historical maps
- Modern maps
- West Africa maps
- Ghana maps
- Harvard's Africa Map project
- interactive map quiz for countries
- interactive map quiz for capitals
- African geography as a network
- 1820 Map of Africa
- 1889 Trading Routes of the Sahara
- Guinea Itself, as Well as the Greatest Portion of Nigritia or the Land of the Blacks, the One Called Ethiopia Inferior by Modern Geographers, the Other Southern Ethiopia
- Ency. of Africa
- World Maps (Oxford)
- Oxford Music Online
- Garland Ency. of World Music
- Int'l Ency. of Dance
- Int'l Ency. of Linguistics
- Oxford Companion to Theatre and Performance
See reference works above. Also:
Brown University, bibliography on Ghanaian music