Menu Menu

News Archive

Monday, June 17, 2013 - Summer concert brings African, Caribbean music to OU
By Kathleen Williams, student writer

The Oakland University community is invited to embrace the music and culture of Africa and the Caribbean at the World Music Summer Concert on Thursday, June 20. 

The annual outdoor concert, which will take place on the Oakland Center patio from noon to 1:30 p.m., will feature the African Ensemble Akwaaba and the Steel Band Pan-Jumbies. Admission is free and open to the public. 

Mark Stone, a special instructor of world music, will direct the ensembles. In addition to teaching in Oakland’s music department, Stone has performed in Uganda, Ghana, Trinidad, South Africa and across the United States. 

He hopes audiences can take away a new appreciation for different cultures and a deeper understanding of their own. 

“We live in a globalized society and learning about world music helps gain an understanding of other cultures. With that understanding, respect and appreciation for those cultures can develop,” he said. “I hope the audience can take away the communal aspect of African and Caribbean music. It brings people together and hopefully they can become a part of that.” 

Akwaaba will perform traditional music from two ethic groups, the Ugandan Basoga and the Dagara from Ghana. Their performance will feature a unique set of drums and xylophones, including a gyil and an embaire, which is played by eight percussionists at the same time.
The Pan-Jumbies will play Caribbean and South American music with songs from Jamaica, Brazil and Trinidad. 

Although the performance will focus on world music, Stone said many of the same rhythms heard in American popular music will be present. 

“Audiences will recognize some of the rhythms - reggae, calypso and samba - because those styles have interwoven into more traditional American styles,” Stone said. “Virtually all American popular music has some element of African influence, including jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and modern hip-hop. It helps to hear these roots.” 

View a performance from the 2012 World Music Summer Concert below.