Blog November 5, 2015
Abraham Adzenyah: Revered Wesleyan Professor Retires
Master drummer Abraham Adzenyah from Ghana is retiring after 46 years of teaching at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. Abraham changed the lives of thousands of students, myself included, inspiring me to go to Ghana in 1985 to do original research on local music for what was to become Afropop Worldwide on public radio. Abraham not only shared polyrhythmic drumming techniques but he gave us deep insights about how beautifully integrated the music was with rites of passage in Ghana as well as in exuberant social gatherings. Abraham got us to hear the conversationality of the traditional music, designating different drums as "mother," "father," "son" and "daughter." He taught us to pay special attention to the centrality of the bell in African music. His mantra was "Listen to the bell. The bell is the invisible connector." Thank you Abraham! Go well! More information on Prof. Adzenyah, and reminiscences of students and colleagues here, and the Abraham Adzenyah Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship here.
For those within a couple hours driving time from Middletown, CT (between New Haven and Hartford) you can participate in a workshop and see a concert featuring Abraham and his students, past and present, on Sat., Nov. 7, at Crowell Concert Hall. WESEMINAR West African Drumming and Dance Workshop: Adjunct Professor of Music Abraham Adzenyah and Artist in Residence Iddi Saaka teach a joyful and engaging workshop in Ghanaian drumming and dance. No experience necessary. Students are encouraged to bring their families and friends. 7:30-8:30 p.m. WESEMINAR West African Drumming and Dance Share: Students from the workshop give an informal performance of what they have learned, joined by Adzenyah and alums on drums. Followed by a performance by current Wesleyan students. 9-10 p.m.