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Ephraim Amu: birth and first education Ephraim Amu Ephraim Amu was born on 13th September, 1899, in the village of Peki-Avetile alias Peki Abenase, in.

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Presentation on theme: "Ephraim Amu: birth and first education Ephraim Amu Ephraim Amu was born on 13th September, 1899, in the village of Peki-Avetile alias Peki Abenase, in."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ephraim Amu: birth and first education Ephraim Amu Ephraim Amu was born on 13th September, 1899, in the village of Peki-Avetile alias Peki Abenase, in the Volta Region of Ghana. He was the last of eight children. He received his first education at Peki Avetile and later at Basel Missionary Seminary at Abetifi where he was trained as a teacher- catechist between 1916 and 1919, for a period of four years.

2 Ephraim Amu first exposure to music His first exposure to music was from his father who was a traditional drummer, singer and carver.

3 Ephraim Amu early compositions In 1921, at Peki Blengo, he met a musician and Minister called Rev. Allotey Pappoe from whom he studied some theory and harmony. This marked the beginning of the composition-career of Ephraim Amu. His early compositions, 1.Mawo do na Yesu (I shall work for Jesus), 2.Hadzidzi amefe gbogbo (Singing, the soul of man) and 3.Yehowa enyesitsofe (The Lord is my refuge) have strong European melodic and harmonic flavour.

4 Ephraim Amu: The Akropong period: Amu the teacher, the composer and the Africanist militant (1) At Akropong when he was asked to transcribe and teach the traditional song, "Yaa Amponsah", he came face to face with his own marginalisation in translating African polyrhythmic music with Western notation. He attributed this incident to an inadequacy of Western notation.translating African polyrhythmic music with Western notation This set him on the trial of researching into African music, and writing in that idiom.

5 Ephraim Amu: The Akropong period: Amu the teacher, the composer and the Africanist militant (2) The result of this period of musical activities crystalised in such songs as Onipa, da wo so, Yen ara asase ni and Yaanom Abibirimma among others. Simultaneously his researches yielded good knowledge about the atenteben and odurugya flutes whose music he taught to his students. This he did with the encouragement of Rev. Thomas Beveridge the then Principal of Presbyterian Training College at Akropong.

6 Ephraim Amu: The Akropong period: Amu the teacher, the composer and the Africanist militant (3) Amu, the staunch Africanist, was not only so musical but he was also a living personification of Africanism. His life style, thoughts and outlook emphasized the capabilities and beauty in the Culture and Church that he was propagating.

7 Ephraim Amu: The Akropong period: Amu the teacher, the composer and the Africanist militant (4) A practical expression of his love for African culture was the composition of Ame wo dzife nyiba, translated into "Yen ara asase ni", an alternative to God save the queen, and Land of our birth which used to be sung at the colonial Empire Day celebrations."Yen ara asase ni",

8 Ephraim Amu: The Akropong period: Amu the teacher, the composer and the Africanist militant (5) The strain between Amu and the Church authorities on his Africanist tendencies resulted finally in his dismissal from Akropong in At his farewell ceremony the students sang his composition, Nkradi - Abosomakotre nam brebre.Nkradi - Abosomakotre nam brebre.

9 Ephraim Amu: The Achimota period: Amu the teacher and composer Immediately after his dismissal he was invited to teach music at Achimota School and Training College by Rev. A.G. Fraser, Principal of the School/College. In Achimota he taught Music, Scriptures and Agriculture

10 Ephraim Amu The second phase of his composer’s career In 1937 he went to London where he studied music theory at the Royal College of Music. He returned to Achimota College in In 1949 he established and directed what was intended to become the National Academy of Music, then known simply as School of Music at Achimota.

11 Ephraim Amu The second phase of his composer’s career (2) This school as well as the College were transferred from Achimota to form the nucleus of the Kumasi College of Arts, Science and Technology in Here he taught single handed. Occasionally he had one or two of his past students to assist him, till he retired in 1961, after the School had been transferred again to Winneba.

12 Ephraim Amu The composer and the ethnomusicologist (1) As a result of a memorandum he submitted to Dr. Nkrumah, the then Prime Minister of Ghana on invitation, another Music School was established as part of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, under the directorship of Professor Nketia. Ephraim Amu was once more recalled from retirement and attached to the School as a Research Fellow.

13 Ephraim Amu The composer and the ethnomusicologist (2) In 1966, the University of Ghana conferred on him the Honorary Doctorate degree.Doctorate degree

14 Ephraim Amu The composer and the ethnomusicologist (3) The most outstanding and monumental work was the publication of the introduction to his Twenty five African songs. That work can be considered the first musicological study of African Music ever made by an African. In that study Ephraim Amu discusses the theoretical basis of African rhythm - the corner-stone of African Music.

15 Ephraim Amu Recapitulation The first phase of Amu’s life The first phase of Amu's musical life can be dated from his early days to 1937 when he left for London. The body of songs during this period is characterised by a homophonic style while emphasizing African rhythmic texture.

16 Ephraim Amu Recapitulation The first phase of Amu’s life (2) The melody of the music tries to follow the inflection of the spoken words. Yet the block chord nature of the harmony makes it sound in a Western hymn style, typical of the contents of the Twenty five African songs (1930’s).

17 Ephraim Amu The second phase of Amu’s life The second phase of his musical life dates from 1941 when he returned from London. He had been exposed to the technique of contrapuntal writing. And he saw in the technique the African musical element of independent multiple part singing and the complexity of African drum ensembles.

18 Ephraim Amu The second phase of Amu’s life (2) Almost without exception the compositions of this era are contrapuntal in texture, a technique, he explains, that more adequately enables the component voice parts to sing melodies that are based on the tone-tune relationship.

19 Ephraim Amu The second phase of Amu’s life (3) This phenomenon is apparent in both vocal and instrumental pieces including the Atenteben and/or Odurugya flute music. These comprise pieces such as Adawura abo me, Samansuo, Ale-gbegbe or Ale-gbegbe pipe tune No.1. pipe tune

20 Ephraim Amu The second phase of Amu’s life (4) Ephraim Amu died in 1995.


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