The chorus has been preparing for our February 20 concert with Sowah Mensah, College of St. Scholastica Percussion Ensemble, Harbor City International School African Music Ensemble and Two Harbors High School Band and African Music Ensemble. This is going to be a very exciting event.
The Ghanaian music we are working on is quite challenging and with the large number of participants in this performance precision is a necessity. It feels good to strive for that high level of music making, and to bring the best we have to this music.
Some of the singers are new to the repertoire and it can be quite intense to take in new languages along with new musical language. The rhythmic organization of music in Ghana is centered around a timeline, a repeated rhythmic figure, rather than a meter or a counted beat. Added to all of this is the musical instrument Adenkum.
Adenkum is a calabash gourd. As an instrument it is played by hitting the gourd on the hands, forearms, and lap to produce a variety of sounds in rhythm. While we sing. The singers most often describe learning Adenkum, the musical style, as akin to rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time – while you sing. Kind of difficult at first, but once you get it, it is so fun to play.
Sowah will be meeting with the chorus this Wednesday to help us get ready. It’s always a pleasure for me to see my old friend, and cherished musical mentor.
Hope to see you at the concert!