on African Culture
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 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 (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 (62K). Alokli is loosely modeled on the traditional dance
clubs of West Africa. Find out what they are and why they're important.
||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 (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
||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).
Contributions from friends and colleagues (more to come).
||Imported Authenticity; A Study of American-African Music. In 1987,
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.