Course number: Music 148
Instructor: C. K. Ladzekpo
The African Music Ensemble has flourished since its first year in 1972-73 under the direction of master Ghanian musician C.K. Ladzekpo. Recruited by Professor Olly Wilson (composer and specialist in African American music), Ladzekpo took leave from his position at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana to join the Berkeley faculty for one year. A music ensemble course was begun in the Department of Music, and an African dance course in the Department of African American Studies; the two student groups joined for concerts. In l974, lured by the community activity of the non-profit East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in offering free music lessons for “kids who couldn’t pay,” Ladzekpo began teaching there as well. As his ties in the Bay Area strengthened, one year led to another and the University has benefited from his presence for over three decades. When asked why he chose to remain in the United States, C.K. responds that he enjoys the new challenges of representing West African music to American students and audiences. Deeply interested in developing teaching methods to effectively communicate his music to foreign students, he has mapped out a process that involves lots of transcriptions of traditional repertoire from which new pieces for presentation can be created. For a number of years the African Music Ensemble in the Department of Music has encompassed both musical and dance instruction and all students do both. There is generally one concert each year in spring semester.
From the April 28, 2007 concert in Hertz Hall:
- Kpalango, performed by Music 148 Students
- Music graduate student, Allan Mugishagwe, sings “Man about lazy wife” with ammaddinda (Ugandan xylophone).