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1379244_10202035106221447_704507478_nChristian Kofi Mawuko, a native of Ghana, performs Ghanaian drum and vocal music throughout the Southeast with his group Mawre & Co.  He plans to teach Ewe drums (kangahu, kidi, kroboto), Kpanlogo drums (mei), cowbells (gakokui) and shakers (ahatse) to his African American apprentice, who currently plays the drum set for Mawre & Co.  Mawuko explains, “The Ewe paople are spread along the coastal areas of Ghana, Benin and Togo. I am going to teach Gota rhythm, which is used for social dances that are performed at wedding, parties, funerals and social gatherings.  The Ga people are the natives of Accra, the capital of Ghana.  My apprentice will learn the Kpanlogo rhythms of the Ga tribe, as well as the history of these two tribes and the background of their rhythms.”  Demarland Dean, the apprentice, already has a deep familiarity with Ghanaian music. He notes, “I’ve always wanted to learn the African drums since I first started playing with Kofi over 10 years ago.  He is by far the best person I’ve seen – and you may as well learn from the best. African music is important to preserve and pass on because it’s the basis for all other music.” West African music, especially percussion, is the founding bedrock for many musical forms that developed in Tennessee including blues, gospel, rhythm and blues, soul, rock and roll, and influencing old-time, bluegrass and country as well. Mawuko and Dean plan a public performance at the Bessie Smith Culture Center towards the end of their work together.

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