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Concert Highlights African Music, Dance

Here is your chance to learn firsthand about African music and dance without having to leave the country. A free concert meant to expand cultural horizons will take place at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Eastern Washington University Music Building in Cheney.

African drumming and dance, along with some contemporary African music, will be performed by the students of Francis Saighoe.

For the past quarter, Saighoe, a visiting professor from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, has been teaching two classes at Eastern: Music of African Cultures and African Drumming. Saighoe is an ethnomusicologist with a doctorate degree from Columbia University in New York.

Saighoe is seeking to replicate an African concert, where the audience is an integral part of the performance.

He says “there is no concept of performer/audience - everyone is a participant.” Dancers in traditional costume will come out into the audience and invite them to join in.

In addition to West African drumming, there will be some contemporary piano music by J.H. Nketia, Atta Annan Mnsah and others.

These works reflect the assimilation of Western music into traditional African folk music.