Ghana 2013 syllabi

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Academic leader: Professor Michael Frishkopf
Tel. in Ghana TBA; Skype: (617) 275-2589
Office hours TBA.

Ghana Coordinator: Prof. Nathan Bampo Damptey (Institute for African Studies)

Other faculty: See below.


Course schedules

General calendar (flip to July and August)

West African Music Ensemble (Music 144/544)

This course focuses on several traditional (not European, not mediated, not Christian or Muslim) styles of Ghanaian music, song, and dance, through listening, watching, and doing.

July 5 - 18: Traditional music, song, and dance of Ghana, at the University of Ghana's Legon campus. We meet just outside the department of music, in the open air. Instructors: Johnson Kemeh (drumming, dancing, singing), Aaron Sukura (gyil xylophones), Kofi Atenteben (atenteben flute). Final campus performance:  Aug 18.

July 19 - 21: Ga music, song, and dance workshops in Kokrobite, with Mustapha Tettey Addy, Okoe Ardifyo, and others

July 22 - 24: Fante music, song, and dance

July 25 - 27: Asante music, song, and dance workshop in Kumasi.

July 28 - July 31: Dagomba music, song, and dance workshop in Tamale

August 2 - 11: Ewe music, song, and dance study in Dagbamete (field school). Instructor: Prof. Kwasi Dunyo.

Final performances: Saturday, Aug 10 (Dagbamete).

Introduction to Ethnomusicology: The ethnomusicology of West Africa (Music 365/565)

July 5-19, University of Ghana's Legon campus.

Lectures, workshops, and performances from:

  • Prof. J.H. Kwabena Nketia, Introduction to Music of Ghana
  • Prof. John Collins: The history of Popular Music in Ghana
  • Prof. Daniel Avorgbedor: Ewe music
  • Prof. Patience Kwakwa: The study of West African Dance
  • Mr. T.V.O Lamptey: Ghana's recording industry
  • Prof. Michael Frishkopf, fieldwork in Ghana

July 19-21 (Kokrobite)

  • Kokrobite Dance Ensemble
  • Mustapha Tettey Addy, master drummer

July 22-24 (Cape Coast)

  • Prof. Zabana Kongo: Congolese popular music
  • Mr. Senyo Adzei: West African rhythm
  • Ms. Antoinette Kuduto: Fanti Music

July 25-27 (Kumasi):

  • Prof. Koo Nimo (Dr Daniel Amponsah): Asante music and culture, and the palmwine guitar tradition (Kumasi)

July  28-31 (Tamale)

  • Mr. Fuzzy Kombat: Music in Dagbon

Aug 2 - Aug 11 (Dagbamete village):

  • Prof. Michael Frishkopf: fieldwork component
  • Prof. Kwasi Dunyo (master drummer/dancer): Ewe musical and cultural traditions

West African culture, language, and society (Middle Eastern and African Studies 300/500)

July 5-19, University of Ghana's Legon campus.

Lectures from:

  • Prof. Paul Agbedor: Ewe language and linguistics
  • Prof. Robert Addo-Fenning: The history of Ghana
  • Rev. Prof. Elorm Dovlo: Religion in Ghana
  • Prof. Akosua Perbi: indigenous slavery in Ghana
  • Rev. Dr Elias Asiama:  Theatre in Ghana.
  • Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy: Women and gender
  • Prof. Kofi Anyidoho:  Oral literature

July 22-24: Cape Coast

  • Rabbi Kohain Ha Levi:  the trans-Atlantic slave trade
  • TBA:  Fante culture

Aug 2-11 (Dagbamete village):

  • Prof. Frishkopf: fieldwork and oral history supervision
  • Prof. Kwasi Dunyo: Ewe culture

Preparation and Resources

See Preparing for the Ghana program.

On that page, required and optional course resources (books, articles, music, video, etc.) are listed here.

Assignments and grading



In order to learn, it is essential to participate fully in the program. Beyond completing reading and writing assignments, you must attend every class (this means arriving to class on time!), take notes, engage in discussion or play/sing/dance (as appropriate), as well as attend every mandatory activity, except in cases of dire illness. It is equally important to make every effort to engage yourself with life in Ghana beyond the classroom.


Readings include (1) scholarly articles, (2) scholarly book chapters, (3) textbooks; (4) literature (novels, short stories, poems, plays)

Some readings are optional, while others are required. I try to assign at least one reading to accompany every lecture in Music 365/565 and MEAS 300/500, providing you with research by the lecturer whenever possible.

Bear in mind that you do not need to read every word of every reading - rather your aim is to locate and absorb the main points of each. If you encounter something you do not understand, try to move on, and ask.

Some of the required readings are marked with an asterisk (*). These are the readings for which everyone (undergraduate and graduate students) must prepare a one-notecard reading review (see writing assignments below).

Other readings are marked with a dollar sign ($). Graduate students must prepare reading reviews for these readings as well. Undergraduates can do so for extra credit.

Just because you're not preparing a reading review doesn't mean you shouldn't do the reading! Your papers should cite as many readings as possible. In any case, your education is in your own hands...

Listening, viewing

I've included also a selection of listenings and viewings, some required, others optional, often linked to the various lectures or professors from whom you'll be learning. You can listen online, usually for free (but better do so in advance of travel); most materials can also be downloaded, and heard/watched in Ghana if you bring a laptop.


These short assignments are designed to encourage reflection, analytical thinking, and synthesis, drawing on both academic work and experience. Page lengths refer to 1.5 spaced pages, 12 pt font, 1 inch margins. You may use 4x6 notecards for the reading reviews (see below), or submit them as computer files of equivalent length.

Papers will be due August 30, giving you a chance to digest information and reflect after you return home; writing more than notecards and fieldnotes in the field will be difficult due to environment, and time constraints. Notecards (lecture notes, reading reviews) are due by Monday evening following the week in which they're assigned. Fieldnotes will be graded towards the end of our stay in Dagbamete. Papers and the blog's URL can be submitted by email.

Click here for general Guidelines. Click links provided below for additional detail and resources relevant to each assignment.

Standards for graduate students will be higher (in length, and in sophistication) than for undergraduates; please see me for clarification. Some readings which are optional for undergrads may be mandatory for grads.

  • Reading review cards. For each required reading (article or book chapter) marked by an asterisk (*) you will prepare one 4x6 notecard (or computer file of relevant length) with your name and the title of the reading on the top line (name at the left, title to the right). Below, you will provide a succinct summary and critique of the reading. In your summary, indicate coverage and main points; in your critique, indicate limitations, authorial biases and implicit assumptions. These are very short writing assignments. I will return cards to you for use in other assignments. Again, prepare reviews only for readings followed by an asterisk (*), below. Grad students must also prepare review cards for readings marked with a dollar sign ($).
  • Grad students only: Book report on Steven M. Friedson's Remains of Ritual: Northern Gods in a Southern Land $. (required for grad students, extra credit for others). Grad students will read this book about religious culture of the Ewe people, and write a book report about it, summarizing and critiquing its logic, with reference to your own fieldwork in the Ewe area (note: unlike other reading reviews, this report should be at least 2 pages in length and will count for three ordinary notecard reviews). For undergraduates, this is an extra-credit assignment.
  • Fieldnotes and blog. You will take daily fieldnotes in a journal, in which you record your experiences in Ghana, particularly while traveling or living in the village (but also on campus), reflecting on the relations between music, culture, society, and history. Write about music, people you see, hear, or meet, conversations, sights and sounds and smells, behaviors, food, dress, language, TV programs. Note that this is not a diary in which you list the day's events!  Rather, good fieldnotes demonstrate your powers of observation, synthesis, and interpretation:  record, gather, interpret and assess your experiences; compare them and interpret differences. Pose questions to yourself, and answer them ("why are things this way here, that way there?"). Reflexivity - training your observation on yourself,  your own position in the field, and your relation to others, is helpful (but don't include very personal comments you don't wish me to read). Whenever possible, make comparative references to course readings, lectures, videos, and audio recordings - does your experience accord with what you have read or heard, or not? How can your experience be interpreted in light of coursework? 10-15 minutes daily--a couple of solid pages-- is all that is required, though some of you may wish to write more. Very Important: Do not wait to write - good fieldnotes are written daily, preferably just before sleep (which causes more forgetting that you may imagine). Common practice is to carry a tiny notebook with you, where you can jot ideas and observations you may otherwise forget.  Then in the evening expand these jottings for the day's fieldnotes entry.  Your notes can be supplemented with documented audio-visual recordings (photographs, sounds, video) - you may need to establish a system for connecting various media (which photo was taken at which event?). When you return home (or from Ghana if possible) you'll create a multimedia blog, using these materials selectively. Your fieldnotes will be handed in and then returned to you, and your blog will be public:  therefore please do not write anything in the journal you do not want me to read, or include anything in the blog you don't want the world to see! (You may wish to keep a second private journal as well, a diary, which need not be handed in.)
  • Pan-Africanism and West African literature. You'll each read one West African novel (your choice--there are plenty to choose from in the University of Ghana campus bookstore - many not readily available outside Ghana, particularly Ghanaian literature), as well as Prof. Kofi Anyidoho's essay The Pan African Ideal in Literatures of the Black World (online), and prepare an essay about these works (reading review cards are not required). Interpret the novel as a social statement, drawing on critical perspectives of history, politics, linguistics, religious studies, oral tradition, and other fields as presented in MEAS 300/500 readings and lectures. 
  • Interpreting “music in Ghana” for North Americans. Using everything that you've learned in Music 365/565, Music 144/544, MEAS 300/500, and via other experiences traveling and living in Ghana, you'll write an essay explaining the diversity of music in Ghana (relating this diversity to both social and historical factors), for a North American audience. Discuss linkages--historical and present--between music in Ghana and music of West Africa, North and South America, Europe, and elsewhere.
  • Music and language. Using your knowledge of ethnomusicology, sociolinguistics, music, and language, augmented by your knowledge of other fields, you'll compare music and language as social systems -- and the related ways of studying them.
  • Fieldwork projects: In preparation for these projects, which will unfold across the program, I will deliver several lectures on ethnographic fieldwork, with attention to both technical and ethical issues, focussing on various techniques, including interview, participant-observation, fieldnotes, AV recording.
    • Interview projects . There will be two collaborative class fieldwork projects drawing on interviews, one centered on  life in Ghana, the other on musical change: (1) Working in Ghana. Transposing Studs Terkel's famous book about American workers to Ghana, we'll compile a set of interviews documenting work Ghanaians do, including domestic work, and professions ranging from minister to fisherman. What do people do all day, and how do they feel about it?  (2) Musical change in Dagbamete. During our two week stay in Dagbamete we'll conduct a collaborative oral history about socio-musical change in the southern Volta region, and the factors (social, political, technological...) underlying such change. Everyone will conduct as many interviews as possible, and hand in transcripts, summaries, photos, and analyses. After returning home we'll add these materials to a website dedicated to the topic. You'll writeup both projects as ethnographic reports, to be submitted along with your other assignments.
    • Ethnography of ritual performance . A description and analysis of the Dagbamete Apetorku shrine ritual (to take place all day on Sunday August 4th). In this assignment you'll deploy your participant-observation skills.

All papers should cite course materials: assignments (readings and audio-visual materials) and lectures (by lecturer and date), as well as drawing on primary field experience; include a "references cited" section at the end of your paper. Your grade will depend in part on how thoroughly you can integrate these materials into your argument. Expectations for graduate students will be considerably higher in this regard.

Detailed instructions and requirements for a number of these assignments are available here.


These assignments are not handed in, and thus are not graded. But that doesn't mean they aren't important! Remember: "practice makes perfect!". You learn both music and language in similar ways: by doing.

  • Ewe language. Practice Ewe lessons, by listening and repeating phrases. Audio recordings are essential for learning any modern language, but especially for a tonal language such as Ewe. Ideally you should try to bring a recording device to class.
  • Music x44. You must practice music presented in Music x44, by reviewing drumming patterns, practicing with your colleagues, and listening (if possible try to record your lessons). I suggest you purchase a drum; everyone will purchase drum sticks.

Evaluated performance

  • Music and dancing. I will receive feedback from music and dance instructors in x44. Here what counts is dedication and progress, not level - you don't have to be musically gifted to do well in this course!


All coursework will be graded on a scale from 1-4 points. These grades will be combined (according to the percentage weights given below), then rounded to the nearest value in the following table, in order to arrive at a final grade for each course. Unexcused late assignments will be downgraded one quarter point per day.


  • A: 4.0
  • A-: 3.7
  • B+: 3.3
  • B: 3.0
  • B-: 2.7
  • C+: 2.3
  • C: 2.0
  • C-: 1.7
  • D+: 1.3
  • D: 1.0
  • F: 0.0


  • Music 144/544: Participation (70%); music and language (15%); interpreting music in Ghana (15%). Your final grade will depend primarily on active participation, not on proficiency in music and dance sessions. However it is essential to practice and participate actively in all domains--singing, percussion, dancing--to the best of your ability.
  • Music 365/565: Reading review cards for required Music 365 readings marked with an asterisk (all) or dollar sign (grad only) (15%); fieldnotes/blog (15%); interview projects (15%); ethnography of ritual performance (10%); music and language (15%); interpreting music in Ghana (15%); participation (15%)
  • MEAS 300/500: Reading review cards for required MEAS 300 readings marked with an asterisk (all) and dollar sign (grad only) (15%); fieldnotes/blog (15%); interview projects (15%); music and language (20%); Pan-Africanism and West African literature (15%); map quiz (5%); participation (15%)

Academic integrity

The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University. (GFC 29 SEP 2003)

On plagiarism see also:

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.” (GFC 29 SEP 2003).

Assignments: Readings, listenings, watchings

Course materials are listed below, grouped with the corresponding course segment. Most materials must be acquired in advance - either purchased, or downloaded. Many readings are available online, but your Internet access in Ghana will be a bit sporadic, so don't count on acquiring materials there. You can download/print the essentials, or bring an electronic device (laptop or kindle or...) allowing you to read without printing.

Assignments are listed in three groups:

  1. Before arriving in Ghana: please do these before your departure
  2. Associated with specific teachers: please do these before meeting the teacher. I've tried not only to provide relevant assignments, but also the teacher's own works.
  3. Associated with travel: please do these before we arrive at the stated destination

For course materials, see Preparing for the Ghana Program

Before arriving in Ghana please read, listen, and watch as follows:

Music 365/565 pre-program assignments


Required readings:

J. H. Kwabena Nketia - The Music of Africa (Norton, 1974). Prof. Nketia is the foremost living ethnomusicologist of African music, as well as one of the most important ethnomusicologists in the history of the field, and one of Ghana's foremost composers. This is his classic work. Please read chapters 1-4,10,20-21. Skim Section 2 (chapters 5-9). He's one of our teachers at Legon, so please save up your questions and ask him in person.

African Music, African Sensibility, by John Miller Chernoff (University Of Chicago Press, 1981). Chapters 1 & also 2, if you can. (I do recommend this book for purchase; it's a classic.)

Popular Music in Africa, by Angela Impey

Required to listen/read:

Listen to two CDs we helped produce, and read the notes:

  • Kinka: Traditional songs from Avenorpedo*. Please purchase this CD with accompanying liner notes, as explained in the preparation section.
  • Giving Voice to Hope: Music of Liberian Refugees In the past we visited the Buduburam camp where this music was produced. Now the camp has been closed. Please order the album to learn about the project, and help support these refugee musicians. Minimally, listen to the exerpts online at the above link, and read notes. See Giving Voice to Hope for the subsequent evolution of this project. Think about what music (ethnomusicology?) can do to change the world for the better...

Listen to required audio from both Smithsonian Folkways and Contemporary World Music series, and read their liner notes.

You can read the liner notes anytime, but may not be able to access the internet in order to listen while in Ghana. You don't necessarily have to listen to every track in full, but get a sense of the music. You can find all materials online via our Library, but if you'd like to purchase you may also do so via and other web retail services.

Smithsonian Folkways:

Contemporary World Music:

Required to Watch:

Listening to the Silence: African Cross Rhythms* (featuring Ewe music, Prof. John Collins, and many other wonderful things)

Highlife: Ghana's Musical Soul (History of Highlife)

Optional readings:

Music in Africa. Read Overview by Gerhard Kubik (which will work well with the opening chapters of Shillington); skim the rest for whatever interests you.

West African Music, by Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje. Skim for gist, linking to your historical readings.

Other materials can be read/watched in Ghana (listed below by instructor and location).

Music 300/500 pre-program assignments

Required to read:

  • History of Africa, 3rd edition - Shillington. Read these chapters--providing a background to modern West Africa--now. Other chapters--from nationalism to the present--will be read in Ghana. The publisher's website  for this book contains some additional materials you may like to browse or download. Note: No reading cards are required for Shillington, however I expect you to draw on this material in your final essays - and to cite it!
    • Prehistory: read chapters 1 and chapter 2, pp. 22-30
    • The Iron Age in West Africa: read chapter 3, pp.43-46,54-56, map 3.1
    • Background on North Africa and Islam: read chapter 5, pp. 69-75, 79-84
    • Trans-Saharan trade and medieval West African state of Ghana, Mali, Songhay: chapters 6, 7 (read in full)
    • Atlantic slave trade: chapters 12, 13 (read in full)
    • West-central Africa to the 18th century: read chapter 14, pp. 203-207
    • West African in the 19th century: chapter 16 (read in full)
  • Ghana: An Oxfam Country Profile, by Julie Naylor. A wonderful, readable overview, and a free download from Oxfam. (Optionally you can also read chapter 1 and skim chapter 2 in the thoroughly excellent Library of Congress Ghana country study. I used to assign this book, but it's seriously out of date, and a bit dry...)
  • History of the Ewes, by Dr. Wisdom Agorde, along with Hogbetsotso: celebration and songs of the Ewe migration story
  • The Pan African Ideal in Literature of the Black World (Anyidoho).  Background for your literature projects.

Required to watch:

Please watch the latter six parts from Basil Davidson's acclaimed BBC Africa series (first two parts optional), created in 1984. Though dated in some ways, they're outstanding. Far more than an academic observer, Davidson, who passed away only recently, in 2010, at the age of 95 (see this obituary in The Guardian ), was an activist journalist and historian, a charismatic, outstanding, and scathing critic of Europe's colonial history and imperial present, and a prolific writer. A white British citizen, he traveled throughout Africa, at the cusp of independence, where he got to know its people from the inside, and participated as an important voice of its nationalist and post-colonial history. Davidson wrote over 30 books, including histories and novels. These films will stick with you.


Browse the Ethnologue's Languages of Ghana, and note the distribution of languages on a map.

Note the position of Ewe within the Niger-Congo family.

Browse The souls of black folk, by W.E.B Dubois (optional). We will visit the Dubois Center in Accra. You don't have to read this long work, but simply try to develop an appreciation for the tremendous importance of his writings for modern pan-African history.

Browse Maps.

Study geography:

Also please learn to locate all the countries of Africa (and, optionally, their capitals) using this interactive map quiz for countries, and this one for capitals. I will give you a map quiz at some point during the course, and you can study again in Ghana. But the online materials make studying easier -- dare I say fun?

Optional reading: you may like to get a start on your West African literature assignment. At the University of Ghana you can browse a large collection of novels and plays, but you can also order a novel in advance. See some suggestions here.

Other materials can be read/watched in Ghana (listed below by instructor and location).

Music 144/544: Johnson Kemeh, Aaron Sukura, Kofi Atenteben, Kwasi Dunyo

Johnson and Kwasi

Handouts from Johnson Kemeh , our teacher at Legon, containing background on dance pieces, and song texts: 2007, 2008. Please download these though we may tackle different pieces this year.

Read chapters 1 & 2 from African Music, African Sensibility*, by John Miller Chernoff.

Recommended: David Locke - Drum Gahu: An Introduction to African Rhythm, listen to the examples, and try some of the exercises. If you have trouble with music notation, ask me for help.

Listen to Kinka: Traditional Songs from Avenorpedo and read the notes.

Listen to Ewe music of Ghana and read the notes.

Aaron Bebe Sukura and Kofi Atenteben

Aaron Bebe is a master xylophonist and seprewa player. Kofi Atenteben is a master of the atenteben, an Akan  flute adapted by the famous Ghanaian composer Ephraim Amu

Read Documenting spoken and sung texts of the Dagaaba*

Bewaare: They Are Coming - Degaare Songs and Dances from Nandom, Ghana (Pan (Netherlands), PAN 2052CD, 1995); listen and read notes

Seprewa Kasa performed by Korankye, Osei; Kyerematen, Baffour & Banaman, Alfred Kari (Riverboat, 330051); listen and read notes.

Music 365/565

The following readings are required, except as marked. Please complete each reading prior to the lecture by the professor under whose name it appears.

Professor J. H. Kwabena Nketia (Legon)

Professor Patience Kwakwa (Legon)


Professor Daniel Avorgbedor (Legon)

  • Read: African Music, African Sensibility*, by John Miller Chernoff (University of Chicago Press, 1981). Chapter 2 (review - you should have already read this; if you haven't, read it!)
  • Listen: Ewe music of Ghana. Also read the liner notes. (You should already have read this.)

Professor John Collins (Legon)

Many of Prof Collins' articles are available on his website. Note that many of the following assignments were completed pre-trip:

The following should already have been completed pre-trip:

T.V.O Lamptey (Accra)

Mr Senyo Adzei (Cape Coast)

Professor Zabana Kongo (Cape Coast)

Mr Fuzzy Kumbat (Tamale)

MEAS 300/500

Note that in addition to the following readings, you'll each read one novel by a West African author (your choice--there are plenty to choose from in the campus bookstore), as well as Kofi Anyidoho's essay The Pan African Ideal in Literatures of the Black World.

Professor Paul Agbedor (Legon)

We will be studying structure and vocabulary of basic Ewe, and situating the language within the broader context of West African languages. The goal is not to master Ewe (!) but rather to get a taste of West African language structure, along with a few useful phrases. If there's time we'll also take up basic phrases in Akan or Ga.

Review the following:

Ethnologue report for Ghana and Language map of Ghana (browse)

Your Ewe textbook is: Basic Ewe for Foreign Students . Browse for now; Prof. Agbedor will make specific assignments. Unfortunately there are no audio examples, but the text is clear and recently revised; you can record audio in class.  Supplementally you may like to browse Ewe Basic Course; the latter comes with audio examples. Treat these works as providing general linguistic background and a taste of West African languages, opening avenues for possible future study; we will have only limited time to study the Ewe language in depth. From a structural linguistic perspective, you will find it quite interesting to browse. They also contain vocabulary lists that you can put to good use. And you may like to load the audio on your ipod.

You will also compile or purchase Ewe and other phrase lists in Ghana.

Note: a portable recording device will be very useful in order to get the most out of language training sessions.

You may also like to browse this Akan training course

Professor Robert Addo-Fenning (Legon)

  • Read: Shillington on modern West African history: chapter 20 (focus on West Africa), ch. 21 (pp. 311-324), ch. 22 (fig. 22.3 on p. 334), ch. 23 (pp. 343-349, 353-360), ch. 24, ch. 25, ch. 26 (p. 389-396), ch. 29 (pp. 433-443), ch. 30, ch. 31 (pp. 458-460, 464-469), ch. 32 (pp. 479-481)
  • Optionally examine Ghana country study Chapter 1, sections 7.1 - 7.4 (Browse according to your interests. This work is dated but informative.)

Reverend Professor Elom Dovlo (Legon)

Read his article: Return home movements in Ghana*

Rev. Dr Elias Asiama (Legon)

Read his Story-telling: A crossroad to interdisciplinary Pedagogy and National Development*

Professor Akosua Perbi (Legon)

Review: Shillington, chapters 12, 16 

Read: A History of Indigenous Slavery in Ghana*, by Prof. Akosua Perbi, Introduction and Chapter 1. (A wonderful book, available for purchase in Ghana.)

Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy (Legon)

Read her Women Writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel* (Introduction) A rich and extensive treatment of women's writing in the region, with attention to "orature" - skim, then focus on what interests you the most.

Professor Kofi Anyidoho (Legon)

Browse: Ewe stories and storytellers

Watch: interviews with Professor Anyidoho


Optional: Oral literature of Mali - the Griot

Mr. Alhassan Sulemana Anamzoya (Legon)

Rabbi Kohain Ha Levi (Cape Coast)

  • Review Shillington chapters 12 & 16 on the trans-Atlantic slave trade

Other materials associated with particular places

Accra and environs (July 4-18)

Accra (Saturday, July 6)

Ashaiman (Sunday, July 7)

We will attend a funeral performance on Sunday July 7, in Ashaiman.

  • Read: Ewe rural-urban interchange*, by Professor Daniel Avorgbedor (on funeral societies). You'll be reviewing it again prior to Prof. Avorgbedor's lecture.

Also see this recent article from the Globe and Mail

Aburi (Sunday, July 14)

Kokrobite (July 19-21)

Kokrobite is a Ga fishing village, and tourist retreat, for Ghanaians and foreigners alike. It's also a center for music and dance.


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.

Singing Fishermen of Ghana

listen and read liner notes...

browse this thesis about Kpanlogo, one of the Ga people's important modern social dances, in which Mustapha played a seminal role

Cape Coast/Elmina/Kakum (July 22-24)


Watch the following films:

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...

Dark passages (Slave trade)

Door of no return (Slave trade)

Optional: 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.

Kumasi (July 25-27)

Tamale (July 28-July 31)

Dagbamete (Aug 2 - August 11)

Legon campus schedule

NB: subject to last-minute changes; please check email!
NB: Please see above for readings associated with each event. For instance most lecturers are associated with a reading/viewing/listening.


Mon. July 8th
8.30-10.00 am-Prof. J.H Nketia-Music in Ghana
10.30-12.00 pm.-Prof. R. Addo-Fenning-History of Ghana
12.00pm-2.00pm-Lunch break.
2.00-4.30 pm-Johnson Kemeh- Practicum (1)
Evening-Self structured time.

Tues 9th July
8.30-10.00 am-Prof. Akosua Perbi-Slave Trade in Ghana
10.30-12.00pm-Visit to Vision Audio Lab Recording Studios-Lecture/Demonstration on Recording Industry in Ghana.- Mr T.V.O Lamptey.
12.00-2.00 pm Lunch break
2.30-4.30 pm-Johnson Kemeh-Practicum (2)
Evening-Self structured time.

Wed. July 10th
8.30-10.00am- Free time.
10.30-12.00pm-Ewe Language class (1)-Prof. Paul Agbedor
12.00-2.00pm- Lunch break
2.00-4.30pm-Johnson Kemeh-Practicum (3)
Evening-Self structured time.

Thurs.11th July
8.30-10.00 am-Ewe Language class (2)-Prof. Paul Agbedor.
10.30-12.00 pm African Popular Music (1)-Prof John Collins
12.15pm-1.45pm. African Popular Music (2)-Prof. John Collins
1.45pm-2.15pm-Lunch break
2.15pm-4.45pm Johnson Kemeh-Practicum (4)
Evening: Self structured time.

Fri. 12th July
8.30-10.00am-Sociolinguistics of Ghana-Prof Paul Agbedor.
10.30am-12.00pm- Theatre in Ghana- Rev. Dr Elias Asiama.
12.00 noon-Lunch beak.
Afternoon free.

Evening: optional outing to Chez Afrique or Kuntakinte or +233 for some live music.

(+233: Fri 12th July: AKABLAY & THE ABIZA BAND)

Sat. 13th July.
9.00-12.00pm. Ghanaian Dance demonstration: Hayor Dance Company [bus will pick you up at 8:30 am]
12:00 - 6:00pm:  Visits to various Nkrumah Memorial, Black Star Square, National Theatre, Arts Center for shopping (or tour on your own, revisit JayNii in you wish)

6:00 pm:  meet for ‘Ghana Stands in Worship’ Gospel Music Concert, featuring Donnie McClurkin, (Foreign and Local Artistes) at Accra Sports Stadium. [we'll select a good meeting place] Don't forget your ticket!

Sun. 14th July

Optional activities: let me know if you're interested in either.

8:30 am: Optional excursion to Aburi Botanical Gardens [2[3[4[5] , an utterly spectacular aboretum located along the cool Akwapim ridge north of Accra, including cocoa trees--an aesthetic, scientific, and historical delight-- and Handicraft Village (approx. 30 minutes). Do reading on cocoa (above) prior to the visit, and see above links for history of the gardens. We can also have lunch in the garden restaurant if you'd like. We'll aim to get there by 9 am, spend a few hours there, visit the craft village, and return to campus by about 1pm or in time for you to get to the soccer game if you're game (see below). Approximate cost for trip and entrance fee if everyone goes (more if fewer go):  20 GHC.

3:00 pm:  Accra Stadium - big soccer match between Asante Kotoko and Medeama at the Accra Stadium. Get there by 3 pm, says Nathan, in order to get a ticket.


Mon. 15th July.
8.30-10.00am-  free time.
10.30-12.00- Ewe Language class (3) - Prof. Paul Agbedor
12.00-2.00pm-Lunch break.
2.00-4.30pm-Johmson Kemeh-Practicum(5)
Evening- Self structured time.

Tues 16th July
8.30 - 10.00 am-Prof. Daniel Avorgbedor-Ewe Music.
10.30-12.00pm-Prof. Kofi Anyodoho-Traditional and Modern Poetry in Ghana.
12.00-2.00pm-Lunch break
2.00-4.30pm-Johnson Kemeh-Practicum (6).

Wed. 17th July
8.30-10.00am-Nathan Damptey- Music Ethnography among the Akan.
10.30-12.00pm-Prof. Esi Sutherland-Addy-Women and Oral Literature in Ghana.
12.00-2.00pm-Lunch break
2.00-4.30 pm-Aaron Sukura (Xylophone) and Kofi Atenteben (flute). In two groups of 5 each, to switch midway.
Evening-Structured time.

Thurs. July 18th
8.30-10.00 am-Rev. Prof. Dovlo-Traditional and Contemporary Religion in Ghana.
11.00-1.30pm-Aaron Sukura (Xylophone) and Kofi Atenteben (flute). In two groups of 5 each, to switch midway.
1.30pm-Group lunch.
Afternoon: Free (time to pack).  We leave tomorrow morning early for our trip (first stop: Kokrobite!) You should pack light for the next 11 days - we'll return to campus on August 1.  It is possible to store extra bags in the hostel for a nominal fee. When we move on to Dagbamete,  you'll take everything with you.

Ghana tour schedule

See earlier sections for readings, recommended or required.


Friday July 19: Arrive at Kokrobite (Big Milly's) in the morning. Afternoon: Workshop with the Kokrobite Dance Ensemble. Evening performance of traditional music.

Saturday July 20: 2nd workshop with the Kokrobite Dance Ensemble. Evening reggae performance.

Sunday July 21: Optional workshop with the Kokrobite Dance Ensemble, or individual lessons.  Afternoon performance.

Monday July 22: Depart for Cape Coast

Cape Coast

Monday July 22: Noon: arrive at Cape Coast, check into hotel.
1 pm: Tour University of Cape Coast campus
1:30 - 3:00: Lecture from Mr Senyo Adzei (West African rhythm)
3:30 - 5:00: Lecture from Prof. Zabana Kongo (Congolese popular music)

Tuesday July 23:
AEAP (as early as possible): Kakum forest canopy walk & tour
lunch at crocodile pond restaurant (?)
afternoon: Elmina Castle
3:30 - 5:00: Fante music workshop (University of Cape Coast)

Wednesday July 24:
morning: "Anthropology of the Fantes" (lecture)
afternoon: tour of Cape Coast castle, and talk from Rabbi Kohain Ha Levi on the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Thursday July 25: depart for Kumasi


Thursday July 25: arrive in Kumasi by noon, check into hotel. Visit Koo Nimo, craft villages (carving, kente, stamping...)
Friday July 26: visit Asantehene's Palace, Zongo, Kumasi Market, Arts Centre

Saturday July 27: depart for Tamale

Tamale and Mole

Saturday July 27: arrive in Tamale by early evening, check into hotel, dinner out.
Sunday July 28: optional trip to Mole (animal park) and Larabanga. Overnight in Mole.
Monday July 29: return to Tamale. Tour the city.
Tuesday and Wednesday (July 30-31): performances and workshops with Youth Home Cultural Troupe.
Thursday August 1: return to Legon (bus or plane?). Overnight in ISH1.
Friday August 2: early morning departure for Dagbamete, in the Volta Region. Possible stop for festival for Asafotufiami Festival along the way.

Field school: Dagbamete

Friday August 2: arrive in Dagbamete by noon.
Friday August 2 - Sunday August 11: Dagbamete program: drumming, dancing, singing, fieldwork, Ewe practice, and other activities. I will grade your fieldnotebooks if handwritten during this period. We'll also have the map quiz at some point. And at least one excursion to Dzogadze for a huge musical performance just for us, featuring many different youth groups.  If time permits we will also visit Keta Lagoon, and see an old Danish slave castle, Fort Prinzenstein.
August 8: possible participation in Eid festivities.
Saturday August 10: final party and performance in Dagbamete.
Sunday August 11: Ghana program ends. To airport, or other destinations...


Don't forget that all your assignments are due by August 30! Please submit by email attachment. Travel safely!