Master Drummer and troupe coming to Centre April 2

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, March 28, 2019


Centre College

Afrikania Cultural Troupe of Ghana featuring Master Drummer Gideon Alorwoyie will bring their authentic traditional drumming and dance from the Ghana region of West Africa to the Centre College campus Tuesday, April 2. The performance is free and open to the public.

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Tripp Bratton, director of Centre’s African Percussion Ensemble, is responsible for bringing the group to central Kentucky, where they will give performances all over the area during April. Centre’s ensemble will open Tuesday’s show.

Nathan Link, Music program chair at Centre, couldn’t be more pleased that the troupe will be on campus.

“We are as excited as can be to be hosting Gideon Alorwoyie’s drumming and dance troupe. Not only will the college community at large be able to experience this unique, first-rate musician, students in Centre’s own African Percussion Ensemble will have the opportunity to work with him in person, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Bratton notes that Gideon Alorwoyie is regarded in Ghana as a master of traditional music and dance.

“He is a virtuoso instrumentalist who has expanded the range of traditional African drumming and possesses extraordinary control of tonal inflection over a wide dynamic range. When he performs, one senses his total command of the medium,” says Bratton.

Bratton explains that the percussive rhythms and forms Alorwoyie knows are not written down; they’ve been passed from generation to generation through practice and performance.

Alorwoyie (pronounced al-or-WO-yee) has been associate professor of music, principal dancer/choreographer and director of the University of North Texas African Percussion Ensemble since joining the College of Music faculty in 1996. Before starting the Texas professorship, he was chief master drummer of the Ghana National Dance Ensemble, touring Europe, China, the former USSR, the Caribbean, South Korea and Hong Kong.

A recent New York Times article described him as “a rarity in American academia: a master drummer from Africa who is a tenured professor of African drumming and dance, disciplines that are difficult to categorize within Western musical theory. And in his own country, he is one of the few musicians working arduously to pass on traditions in danger of disappearing.”

The performance begins at 7 p.m. at Combs Warehouse, which is located on West Walnut Street near the train depot.

Sallie Bright is the interim performing arts coordinator for Centre College.