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(b Feodosia, Sept 25, 1916). French composer of Russian descent . He studied at the Marseilles Conservatory and then in Paris with Laloy and Leibowitz. Subsequently he held posts with Radio Morocco (1950–55) and the ORTF (1969–75); he was also active as an ethnomusicologist. He composed two operas. The ...

Article

Andrew L. Kaye

[Amponsah, Daniel Kwabena; Boah-Amponsem, Kwabena; Ko Nimo, Konimo]

(b Ofoase, Asante District, Gold Coast, Oct 3, 1934). Ghanaian musician . He moved to the Asante court in Kumasi when his sister married into the royal family in 1941. He attended Adisadel College in Cape Coast, and in 1954 moved to Accra to study medical technology and play guitar in a highlife group, I.E.’s Band. Returning to Kumasi in 1955, he performed on GBC radio where he was assigned his stage name, began songwriting and married. In 1962–5 he studied biochemistry and music in England. His début recordings as ‘Koo Nimo’ were released in 1966. His songs are typically scored for male vocals, one or two acoustic guitars, bass mbira and struck idiophone. His songs in highlife style, such as Aburokyiri Abrabo (‘Overseas Life’) display Western-influenced harmony and guitar styling, whereas songs in indigenous forms such as odonson and kurunku are more traditional. His thumb-and-forefinger guitar-picking style has been referred to as palm wine guitar. A storyteller in song, his Asante-Twi lyrics comprise traditional proverbs. Themes include village life, marital problems, Asante history, philosophical reflection and modern life. He has toured the USA, the UK, Australia and the Caribbean. He is the subject of several films and the recipient of numerous awards including the Grand Medal for lifetime service to Ghana in ...

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Nkanika  

Article

Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje

(b Mampong, June 22, 1921). Ghanaian ethnomusicologist and composer. He was educated at the Presbyterian Training College in Akropong (1937–41) and later studied linguistics and social anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (1944–6). He gained music degrees from Trinity College of Music and Birkbeck College, London (BA 1949). Nketia has worked in a variety of positions at universities in Ghana and the United States. He was a lecturer at the Presbyterian Training College in Akropong (1942–4, 1949–52); a research fellow in African Studies at the University College of Ghana (1952–9); a senior research fellow at University College of Ghana (1959–61); an associate professor and professor at the University of Ghana, Legon (1962–3); the director of the School of Music, Dance and Drama at the University of Ghana, Legon (1963–79...

Article

Nkoni  

Lucy Durán and Aurelia W. Hartenberger

[ngoni]

Plucked half-spike lute of the Manding people of West Africa. Ibn Battūta, who visited the Mali Empire in 1353, described the nkoni, and Mungo Park wrote about it in the late 18th century. These wooden lutes with a trough-like resonator and fan-shaped bridge were probably the oldest melody instruments used by jeliya (griot, professional court musicians), who did not play hunters’ harps. After the decline of the Mali empire in the 15th century the Manding moved westward into Guinea, Senegal, and the Gambia, creating a linguistic and cultural Mande diaspora reflected in various griot names for the nkoni: koni (Maninka and Xasonka); kontingo/konting (Mandinka); ngoni (Bamana, Bambara), and so on.

Nkoni have one to seven strings, most commonly four (two long and two short). The strings are knotted at one end with leather tuning strips to a dowel-like, unfretted neck, and pass over a bridge on the skin soundtable and through a sound hole to be attached at the opposite end to the exposed end of the neck, which terminates at that point within the resonator....

Article

Darius Brubeck

[Isaac Ben; Zakes]

(b Ingogo, near Newcastle, South Africa, 1918; d Johannesburg, 1980). South African alto saxophonist and clarinetist. His family moved to Alexandra township and he attended Holy Cross Catholic School. Having received basic instruction in piano and organ at the age of nine, by the time he was 15 he was playing accordion, violin, and clarinet, and he soon took up alto saxophone to play with such local bands as the Blue Diamonds, the Jazz Havanas (also known as the Havana Swingsters), and, eventually, the well-known Jazz Maniacs, top-rated interpreters of American swing whose playing moved towards a township jazz style in the 1940s. During the golden era of South African jazz, from the 1950s into the 1960s, Nkosi made many recordings as a freelance with the African Swingsters (including Swazi Stomp, 1952, HMV JP133) and as the leader of the City Jazz Nine and Zacks and the Sextet. His first album, ...

Article

George Leotsakos

(b Ibrik-Tepe, nr Adrianople, Jan 6, 1882; d Fort Lauderdale, FL, March 13, 1965). Albanian composer, writer and politician. His early energies were directed towards the Albanian independence movement. He championed its cause first in Egypt and then in the USA, where he became a priest (1908) and later a bishop (1919) in the Albanian Orthodox Church. In 1920 he headed the delegation which successfully gained admittance for Albania to the League of Nations. He served briefly as foreign minister in the Albanian government of Xhafer Ypi in 1922 and, after the overthrow of the Ahmed Zogu regime in 1924, was prime minister for six months. After Zogu’s return to power, he went into exile, settling in 1932 in the USA, where he became head of the Albanian Orthodox Church. In 1935–7 he studied composition at the New England Conservatory.

Although Noli’s literary output has been amply studied, his work as a composer is less well known: his secular compositions were not performed or recorded in Albania until the 1980s. Nonetheless, works such as ...

Article

Nsaasi  

Peter Cooke

Ganda name for the vessel rattle ubiquitous in Uganda. It is made from a gourd (calabash), the narrow neck of which serves as a handle, the spherical part as a container for seeds or stones. They are usually used in pairs (pl. ensaasi) in many dance music ensembles and play an important part in spirit rituals. In northern Uganda they are often given incised or burned decoration. In Nkore a common term for this is oburengo. Variants of the word (isaasi, etc.) occur as well as for other types of rattle, for example the flattened tin box rattle commonly used in Busoga and the metal rattle (esaasi) of Nkole, which is made from a tin can approximately 8 cm long and 6 cm in diameter, hammered into an hourglass shape and perforated all over by a nail, with loose pebbles inside.

M. Trowell and K.P. Wachsmann...

Article

Nswezi  

Peter Hoesing

[eŋoma dh’enswezi]

Term referring to drums associated with nswezi rituals among the Soga people of southeastern Uganda. These rituals feature a type of spirit possession called kusamira or kubandwa in which participants use music to facilitate and maintain connections with ancestral spirits. So central is this activity to possession ritual that the Lusoga verb for performing such a function is okukubira enswezi, literally ‘to beat the nswezi.’ Nswezi practitioners (baswezi) use these drums, along with gourd idiophones (ennengo) and buzzing aerophones (bugwala), to accompany ritual songs.

Nswezi drums, like the ubiquitous Uganda drum, have hide bottom heads, thinner skin batter heads, and twisted hide tension cords that bind the heads tightly over open-ended cylindrical-conical shells. Tuning is effected by adjusting the cords. A nswezi drum differs from a typical Uganda drum in that the lower, conoidal portion of the shell is concave rather than convex. As a result, these drums sound different from drums of neighbouring areas (e.g., Buganda)....

Article

Lars Rasmussen and Gary W. Kennedy

[Makhaya]

(b Cape Town, Oct 29, 1939). South African drummer. In Cape Town in 1958 he was a member of the trio led by Dollar Brand (later known as Abdullah Ibrahim). He recorded in Johannesburg in September 1959 in a sextet, alongside Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Kippie Moeketsi, and the double bass player Johnny Gertze, under the leadership of the visiting American pianist John Mehegan. Later that same month, or in the next, he joined the Jazz Epistles, in which Brand replaced Mehegan (who had returned to the USA), and early in 1960 the group recorded the seminal South African hard-bop album Jazz Epistle: Verse I. It disbanded soon thereafter, and Ntshoko returned home to Cape Town, where he formed his own group, the Jazz Giants. In 1962 he recorded the album Jazz Fantasia in a quintet consisting of Moeketsi, Dudu Pukwana, the pianist Gideon Nxumalo, and the double bass player Martin Mgijima....

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Article

Obaka  

Ferdinand J. de Hen

Article

Gregory F. Barz

[Chief Commander Ebenezer ]

(b Idogo, 1942). Nigerian performer . At the forefront of the modernization of Jùjú music in Nigeria. Obey joined the Fatai Rolling Dollars band in 1958. He made his first recordings in Lagos in 1963 and since then has made over 90 commercially released recordings and singles. Similar in style and influence to ‘King’ Sunny Adé, Obey has an instrumentarium that includes Hawaiian steel guitar and is generally thicker, drawing on vocal call-and-response forms, reflecting his personal miliki (enjoyment) style, a combination of African and Western musical materials. Obey introduced three guitars (tenor, lead and rhythm) to the typical juju ensemble. He first appeared with his International Brothers band in 1964, introducing a slower music rooted in Yoruba drumming traditions. An accomplished guitarist, Obey long performed within the tradition of praise-singing, drawing on Christian values as well as economic and political issues. He became an international success in the 1980s with his Inter-Reformers Band which has consisted of up to 20 musicians at any given time; Obey remains the best-selling musician of modern ...

Article

Ogene  

[ogele, ugele, ogenni]

Clapperless forged iron bell of the Igbo people of Nigeria. It is about 30 cm long and is beaten with a hardwood stick, which may have soft padding at the end. Bells are single, double (ogene mkpi nabo), or triple (ogene mkpi ito). They are used for signalling (e.g. announcing the appearance of a mask), with slit drums and rattles in divination, and as rhythm instruments during dancing. ...

Article

Caroline Rae

(b Casablanca, June 12, 1913; d Paris, Nov 13, 1992). French composer of Spanish descent. One of the leading independent figures in French music during the second half of the 20th century.

Throughout his life Ohana claimed to have been born in 1914. By his own declaration he was plagued by superstitions, particularly concerning the number 13: there is a certain irony, therefore, in the date of his death.

Ohana was described by Gide as a French Joseph Conrad. The intriguing parallel highlights the unusual complexity of Ohana’s cultural origins which, like those of the Ukrainian-born Pole, were different from his bureaucratic national identity. Both Ohana and Conrad were British citizens. (Ohana took French nationality in 1976.) Born in French, colonial Morocco into a family of Spanish origins (Gibraltarian-Andalusian on his father’s side and Andalusian-Castilian on his mother’s), Ohana inherited his British citizenship from his father. The southern culture from which he stemmed reaches beyond the political boundaries of any one country; hence in later life he spoke more of cultural roots and geographical influence than of nationality. As in many Gibraltarian families, English was spoken in the Ohana household, as well as Spanish, while French was, by necessity, Ohana’s language of education and training. He remained trilingual, publishing writings and conducting interviews in all three languages. Describing himself as Spanish by birth and upbringing but French by training and adoption, he had much in common with the stream of Spanish musicians, artists and writers who migrated north to Paris to exploit their cultural heritage. His cultural complexity contributed to the relative neglect of his music in the Anglo-Saxon world. In France, where fascination with the exotic and acceptance of the eclectic are long established, his music has enjoyed a position of eminence since his emergence as a composer in the 1950s. He received numerous prizes and distinctions throughout his lifetime....

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Okoco  

Peter Cooke

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Kazunori Sugiyama

(b Tokyo, Aug 11, 1966). Japanese drummer and leader. He started playing drums at the age of three, when he was given a miniature set as a birthday gift. While living in Kenya from ages five to eight he worked professionally as a musician at the Nairobi National Theater for a month. After returning to Japan he studied drums privately (1975–8). He was featured on various radio and TV programs as a child prodigy and gave his first recital in Tokyo when he was 11; that same year he recorded his first album as a leader. In 1978 he accompanied Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt at the Monterey Jazz Festival in Japan. He then worked with Toshiyuki Honda (1978–84), Mikio Masuda (1984–7), and Fumio Karashima (1987–91). Having graduated from Hosei University in 1987, he moved in 1991 to New York, where he later performed with Kenny Garrett, Don Friedman, and Ron McClure, among many others. Okudaira became a member of Carlos Garnett’s quartet in ...

Article

Lucie Middlemiss

(b 1844; d Paris, Sept 12, 1906). French composer, novelist, poet and singer. She began her musical life as a singer at the Théâtre des Variétées in Paris, leaving to travel to Egypt with her husband Eugène Olagnier. Possibly while abroad she wrote both words and music of an exotic opera in four acts, Le Saïs, which was staged at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris on 18 December 1881. Later in life she directed her own company, the Théâtre de l'Oratorio, in weekly performances of 18th- and 19th-century oratorios. Two more operas, Le Persan and Lilipa, were never performed, and a novel remains unpublished. Olagnier also wrote a number of songs.

Le Saïs is, in form and genre, a hybrid of late 19th-century operetta and grand opéra, comprising short, strophic numbers and longer, complex forms. The work also draws on traditions of French exotic opera composition: in the Scène du Hachich (1.v), as the cast sit at the foot of a pyramid drinking hashish, chant-like vocal lines, repetitive rhythms and drones conjure an image of the orient. Critics of the time saw ...

Article

Gregory F. Barz

[Michael Babatunde ]

(b Ajido-Badacry, Nigeria, c1920; d Sabinas, CA, April 6, 2003). Nigerian drummer, composer and music organizer and promoter . Educated at the Baptist Academy in Lagos, he moved to the USA in 1950 where he took the BA at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1954. He settled in New York in 1954, enrolling in a graduate programme at New York University, and later established the Center of African Culture in Harlem in the 1960s, a cultural performing arts school. He collaborated with artists such as John Coltrane, Max Roach, Yusef Lateef, Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart. His recordings and touring ensemble introduced countless audiences throughout North America and the world to West African performance traditions. In addition, he wrote about African music and composed several film scores. His association with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart led to several recording projects and further performing opportunities....

Article

Olubeye  

Peter Cooke

Stick rattle of Uganda. Among the Banyole people it is a stick approximately 100 cm long on which are threaded 20 or more dry oncoba fruit shells, each speared through the middle and each with slits cut into the shell to improve the sound. In Bunyoro, Toro, and Nkore, several short sticks, each with three or four fruit shells, are held parallel by thongs attached at each end; these rattles, called ebinyege, are tied around the calves of dancers for performing the orunyege dance.

Wachsmann recorded but obtained no name for a stick rattle with a tang; it was tapped rhythmically on the soundtable of the rare Soga kimasa harp by an assistant while the harpist played. In south-western Uganda and Rwanda he also noted stick rattles consisting of a small branch with three or four forks each threaded with oncoba fruits and secured at the extremities of the forks by a noose. They were rare and used at spirit rituals....