Today in West Africa, a study tour is taking place that immerses its students in the culture, tradition and lifestyle of the native people, by way of music and drumming.
The Kusun Study Tour kicked off on August 13, 2010 and continues through September 13, 2010, challenging its students to learn the traditions and cultural diversity of Ghana, Africa, and benefiting the community as a whole. Ghana Drum School explains, “The aim of these tours is to establish and operate a cultural centre which would employ dancers, drummers, drum makers and artisans on a permanent basis as well as educating and training local kids in cultural pursuits.” With over 300 students since 1998, this internationally-known tour is doing just that, in a fun and educational way.
The instruments used in the tour include the Djembe, Kpanlogo, Gome, and Djun Djun drums as well as other percussion instruments such as the Aslatua (originally a snuff holder!), Atatente-Ben (bamboo flute), Shekere (think “maraca”), Balafon (African xylophone) and Gongon (bells). Each of these instruments has an important history in Ghana and by using these traditional instruments to teach, the tour is bridging the gap between African heritage and the modern world. You can see a performance of a previous tour on the tour website to get a feel for how the tour comes together and integrates itself within the community.
Nii Tettey Tetteh founded The Kusun (meaning, “tradition”) Ensemble “to bring the traditions of African life to the world through music and dance.” As this tour grows, there is little doubt that the impact of the music will create change in the music world, and help the very same people who help to keep their traditional music alive.