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Ethnomusicologist & Composer Prof. Kwabena Nketia passes on

botchway March 14, 2019


Ghanaian ethnomusicologist and composer, Emeritus Professor Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia has died.
The renowned writer died at the Legon Hospital in Accra, Wednesday morning after short illness, asempanews.com can confirm. He was 97.
Kwabena Nketia was born (June 22, 1921) at Mampong, then a little town in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. He received his first musical education, and eventually trained as a teacher at the Presbyterian Training College, Akropong Akwapin – where he later taught and was appointed Acting Principal in 1952.
At 23, a very young age to go abroad in those days, Kwabena, through a Ghanaian government scholarship went to the University of London to study for a Certificate of Phonetics at the School of Oriental and African Studies.
He went on (1949) to Birkeck College, University of London, and Trinity College of Music, London, to obtain his Bachelor of Arts degree.
In 1958 he went to the United States, attending Columbia University, Juliard School of Music, and Northwestern University to do courses in musicology and composition.
After a year in the United States, he returned to Ghana where he rapidly rose through the ranks at the University of Ghana, Legon – from Senior Research Fellow (1962), to Associate Professor, and finally a full professor in 1963. Two years later, he was appointed Director of the Institute of African Studies.
Prof. Nketia is world-renowned as musicologist and composer. His concept and interpretation of time and rhythmic patterns in Ghanaian and other African folk music were revolutionary, and became standard for researchers and scholars around the world.
Prof. Nketia’s work to reconcile the melodic and rhythmic elements of folk music with contemporary music spurred a new kind of compositional technique for African musicians and academics worldwide.
Some of his well-known choral works include Adanse Kronkron, Morbid Asem, Monna N’Ase and Monkafo No. Other vocal works with piano accompaniment include Yaanom Montie, Onipa Dasani Nni Aye, Onipa Beyee Bi, Yiadom Heneba, Mekae Na Woantie, Maforo Pata Hunu, Obarima Nifahene and Asuo Meresen.
He also wrote extensively for Western orchestral instruments like the flute, violin, cello, percussion and piano. But it is through Nketia’s pace-setting works for traditional African instruments that his genius is acclaimed.
He wrote for a variety of combinations of modern and local African instruments. Works in this category include the Builsa Work Song (1960), Dagarti Work Song (1961), At the Cross Roads (1961), Owora (1961), Volta Fantasy (1961) and Contemplation (1961).
Ace rapper M.anifest is a grandson of Prof. Nketia.
Source: asemapanews.com

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