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To learn more about the people & culture of West Africa, browse through these excerpts from the Songs of West Africa songbook by Dan Gorlin. Also be sure to visit our links page for other great resources.

To preserve spelling and formatting, I've posted these in Adobe PDF format only. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read them - it's free. All materials Copyright © 2000 by Dan Gorlin. Reproduction without written approval is prohibited.

History & Religion History and Religion (65K). A brief introduction to the Anlo-Ewe people of West Africa; where they come from, how they live, and what they believe.
Dance-Drumming Dance-Drumming (67K). What is dance-drumming, anyway? How is it different from a bunch of people dancing to music? An African perspective on what it means to dance, drum, and sing at the same time - and some tips on getting started.
Dance Clubs Dance Clubs (62K). Alokli is loosely modeled on the traditional dance clubs of West Africa. Find out what they are and why they're important.
Composers & Songs Composers and Songs (71K). Music is easily the most important medium of communication in West Africa, which makes composers very important people. Learn more about the songs and the people who write them.
Music Fundamentals Music Fundamentals (219K). African music is a vast topic, but ya gotta start somewhere. Here's a primer that covers basic musical techniques in the region that we focus on, including important bell patterns and an introduction to the instruments.
Pronunciation Guide Pronunciation Guide (122K). Starting to wonder how all those African terms are pronounced? Thanks to Indiana University's African Studies Program, you can learn the fundamentals with this handy guide (reprinted by permission in the songbook).

Other Authors

Contributions from friends and colleagues (more to come).

HTML Imported Authenticity; A Study of American-African Music. In 1987, Ruth Charloff was a musicology student at UC Berkeley. She became interested in Alokli as a social phenomenon, and came to live among us for a while to soak up the native culture. She wrote this paper (reprinted by permission), which I've always enjoyed. Thanks Ruth, for letting us post an "early work". You can contact Ruth here.

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Songs of West Africa Songbook/CD
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