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Article

Laurence Libin

(b Jirapa, Ghana, June 22, 1958). Ghanaian xylophone maker, player, and teacher. Born into a family of gyilli makers and players in northwest Ghana, Doozie began playing at six years of age. When he was 12 his father taught him to make his first gyilli and he was a practised maker by age 15. After secondary school Doozie moved to Accra to become a xylophonist with the Ghana Dance Ensemble. He was also an instructor at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon. Among other appointments, he has performed with the National SO Ghana and has been associated with the Institute of African Studies and the music and performing arts departments of the University of Ghana. In 1990 he established a workshop to produce xylophones; he made the xylophones used in the Broadway production of The Lion King. He has also restored instruments in museum collections. He continues to teach and perform and is managing director of Dagarti Arts and Music in Accra and a member of the Arts Council of Ghana. He is also involved in promoting fair trade practices. Doozie’s xylophone bars—from eight to 18 for each instrument—are made of aged, fire-dried planks of wood from male shea trees. Gourd resonators are affixed under the bars, which are tied to the curved frame. The tips of the wooden beaters are padded with rubber recycled from tyres....

Article

(b El Carnero, CO, Sept 12, 1880; d Palo Alto, CA, Sept 4, 1958). American folklorist and educator. Born in the San Luis Valley of southern Colorado to a prominent Hispano family with deep roots in New Mexico, Espinosa was one of the first US- born Latinos to earn a teaching post at an American university. Although folklorists without formal training such as Charles Fletcher Lummis and Eleanor Hague studied Spanish-language folksongs of the Southwest, Espinosa made the folksongs of Spanish-speaking peoples a legitimate area for scholarly research at a time when individuals of Hispano, Mexican, or Latino heritage were generally discouraged from pursuing higher education. Like Lummis and Hague, Espinosa viewed this repertory as Spanish American rather than Mexican and believed that New Mexican folksong had more in common with Spanish antecedents than with traditional Mexican song. Espinosa was the New Mexican analogue to Francis James Child. Unlike Child, he collected folk ballads from local people in person, although, like Child, he did not study the music that went with the texts he gathered. Espinosa published more than 175 scholarly articles and about a dozen longer monographs, as well as 30 Spanish textbooks. He served as associate editor of the ...

Article

Greg Downey

[Mestre João Grande; dos Santos, João Olivera]

(b Itají, Bahia, Brazil, Jan 15, 1933). Brazilian teacher and master practitioner of capoeira angola. After migrating from rural Bahia to Salvador, he learned capoeira in the Centro Esportivo de Capoeira Angola under the legendary mestre Vicente Ferreira Pastinha. Influenced also by such veteran practitioners as Cobrinha Verde and Barbosa, he became a widely respected capoeirista, adept at the art’s movements, songs, and instrumental music, especially that of the berimbau, a musical bow. João Grande and three other students accompanied Pastinha to Senegal for the first World Festival of Black Arts in 1966. He later joined Viva Bahia, a folk dance troupe directed by Emília Biancardi, touring Europe in 1976 and was publicly recognized as a successor by Pastinha. In 1990 he moved to New York, where he established the Capoeira Angola Center of João Grande. He has received a medal from the Brazilian ministry of sports (...

Article

Sisters Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele (b Keaukaha, HI, 14 Sept 1937), writer, teacher, and producer, and Nalani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele (b Hawaii, 19 March 1946), choreographer and teacher, are the daughters of Edith Kanaka‘ole, famed chanter and kumu hula (master teacher) of Hilo, Hawaii. After Edith’s death in 1979, they inherited her hula school, Halau o Kekuhi, and became respected elders and teachers in their own right. The sisters continue the legacy of their mother by preserving ancient practices while incorporating innovations into their hula presentations. They codirected and coproduced the hula drama, Holo Mai Pele, the epic tale of the goddess of fire, Pele, and Hi‘iaka, the patron goddess of hula dancers. The production blends traditional hula and oli (chant) with narration and modern stagecraft into a theatrical performance. Pualani and Nalani have created other experimental hula performances that utilize new or non-Hawaiian influences, while maintaining a strong classical hula tradition....

Article

Vera H. Flaig

(b Balandugu, Guinea, West Africa, 1950). Drummer, director, and teacher of Guinean birth. Mamady Keïta began his official apprenticeship with the village djembéfola at the age of eight. By his late teens, he was lead drummer of Ballet D’Joliba. By 22 he became the company’s first drummer to act as artistic director. Upon his retirement from the ballet in 1986, Keïta played briefly for the national ballet in Côte D’Ivoire before settling in Belgium where he founded an international djembé school called Tam Tam Mandingue.

Keïta came to live in the United States in 2004. At his first official workshop as an American resident, Keïta announced: “I spent fifteen years cleaning up the djembé drumming in Europe. Now it is time to do the same in America.” Despite the growing popularity of the djembé, Keïta was surprised by the lack of understanding about its history and music within American drum circles. Keïta, together with six other ...

Article

Laura Otilia Vasiliu

(b Reuseni, Suceava county, Romania, May 2, 1944). Romanian composer, musicologist, and teacher . Rooted in the folklore of Bukovina and in Byzantine liturgical music, furthering the musical environment of his predecessors Ciprian Porumbescu and George Enescu, his works stand at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, having become established through their authentic expression and mastery of form. His personality has been influential in the musical life of Iaşi and the George Enescu University of Arts, which he served as a professor, dean, and rector.

He studied at the George Enescu Conservatory in Iaşi. He graduated in pedagogy and composition under Vasile Spătărelu. He attended composition classes led by Ştefan Niculescu, Aurel Stroe, and Anatol Vieru at the Vacanţele muzicale de la Piatra Neamt (‘Musical Holidays of Piatra Neamţ’, 1972–80), and then he studied with Roman Vlad at the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome (1980). Up until ...

Article

Laura Otilia Vasiliu

(b Sibiu, Romania, March 27, 1940). Romanian composer, professor, and musicologist of German ancestry. His works are inspired by the folklore and academic art of the Transylvanian Saxons, while also manifesting a moderate tendency to assimilate modern idioms. Published especially by German and Swiss houses, his compositions gained him international prestige within German-language circles. Additionally, he pursued his vocation as a researcher by analysing the works of J.S. Bach and of Transylvanian musicians, especially Gabriel Reilich and Paul Richter. He studied at the Conservatory of Cluj (1959–65) with Sigismund Toduţă (composition), Cornel Tăranu (harmony), and Vasile Herman (musical forms). He took the Ph.D. in musicology from the Music Academy of Cluj-Napoca (1978) with a thesis called Contradominanta în creaţia lui W.A. Mozart (‘The Counter-Dominant in the Works of W.A. Mozart’). As a professor in the harmony/composition department of the Cluj-Napoca Conservatory, Türk developed significant treatises and courses, including the book ...