UG: Lecturer highlights the importance of African music in academia

Radio Univers
Radio Univers
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Professor at the School of Performing Arts in the University of Ghana, Prof. John Collins has underlined the relevance of Afro-pop music in academia.

He made this known at his inaugural lecture on the theme “Contribution of African Popular Music Studies to Universities”.

The lecture was delivered at the auditorium of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences on this year’s Africa Union Day, on 25th May, 2023. It was centered on the essence of the infusion of high-life music in Universities.

Prof. Collins, who is one of the people with unflinching support to the introduction of African Popular Music Studies in Universities revealed that the initiative has played very pivotal roles in the lives of students who take these courses offered by the Music department of the School of Performing Arts.

“It provides knowledge and skills that help students find jobs in the popular Entertainment and tourism sector and the Creative Arts industries. It is a course that attracts many foreign students. The other reason is this new university popular music courses continued the pioneering work on high-life which was done in the late 1950s to mid 1960s by the University of Ghana’s African Music Society.”

He however recounted the opposition that african music had faced in the past, with emphasis on what is known as ‘Kpanlogo’.

“We nearly lost Kpanlogo because some people didn’t like it. They said it was too modern. Some children were beaten, [other people) had their instruments confiscated and thrown into prison for solidly standing behind Kpanlogo. The more they beat the children, the more the they played the Kpanlogo.”

Professor John Collins took the audience through his journey in helping introduce some music courses in the University. He however noted the scarcity of learning materials on the courses at the time, which he said is still presently evident.

“The musical courses Willie and I introduced in the Music department of University of Ghana in the late 1990s trained students to play high-life, supplied pedagogic teaching materials from the schools of local Popular Music because there had been no school books on high-life, even today we don’t have many.”

Story by | Akwasi Gyamfi |

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