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Wesleyan University’s West African Drumming and Dance Concert was held March 12 in the Center for the Arts Green. The event featured master drummer and visiting artist in residence Attah Poku and choreographer and artist in residence Iddi Saaka, joined by their 72 students, guest artists and 16 student drummers. This annual performance showcases the vibrancy of West African cultures through music and dance forms.

On March 6, 2017, Ghana celebrated its 60th independence anniversary from British colonial rule. This spring’s West African Drumming and Dance concert was held in honor of Ghana’s 60th independence anniversary. Apart from the usual traditional dances, students also dressed as Ghanaian chiefs and queen mothers. In addition, a Wesleyan band performed live Ghanaian highlife music and a Ghanaian church based in Worcester, Mass. provided live choral music. 

Local artist Pierre Sylvain recently painted a portrait of Abraham Adzenyah MA ’79, master drummer and adjunct professor of music, emeritus. The painting is hung inside the Abraham Adzenyah Rehearsal Hall at Wesleyan University. Adzenyah taught West African drumming and dance at Wesleyan for 46 years.

Sylvain first met Adzenyah 20 years ago, and painting his portrait gave them a chance to reconnect.

“The painting was truly inspired by him and the generous person he is. I felt his spirit coming out of my brush strokes,” Sylvain said.

The Center for the Arts hosted a West African Drumming and Dance Concert Dec. 2 at Crowell Concert Hall. The performance featured master drummer Emmanuel Attah Poku; choreographer and artist-in-residence Iddi Saaka; and more than 90 Wesleyan students. In addition, the Kiniwe African Dance Ensemble from Tufts University also performed at the concert. The event showcased the vibrancy of West African cultures through their music and dance forms. 

On Nov. 7, retiring Adjunct Professor of Music Abraham Adzenyah and Artist in Residence Iddi Saaka taught a joint Homecoming/Family Weekend workshop for students, families and friends in Crowell Concert Hall on Ghanian drumming and dance. 

On May 8, members of the Wesleyan community gathered in the CFA Courtyard for an invigorating performance filled with the rhythms of West Africa. Performing were choreographer Iddi Saaka, artist in residence in the dance department, and master drummer Abraham Adzenyah, adjunct professor of music, together with their students in three levels of West African dance courses, plus guest artists. 

Backstage at Crowell Concert Hall, South African trumpeter, composer, producer, and activist Hugh Masekela holds his BECAUSE poster following a performance April 19. He’s accompanied by, from left, Provost Rob Rosenthal, Wesleyan President Michael Ro…

Students enrolled in West African Drumming and West African Dance courses practiced outside on April 17. Choreographer Iddi Saaka and Master Drummer Abraham Adzenyah will perform with their students in a West African Drumming and Dance performance…