Dwenesie Music Institute


As I take a historical approach to understand the ways that music has impacted Ghana’s history and culture: socially, politically, and economically, a major aspect of my contemporary focus will be the infrastructure in place for today’s youth to learn music. My focus on music education will hopefully culminate with enabling youth who lack access to music instruction opportunities to begin to learn music. One of my first stops in Accra’s scholastic landscape was the Dwenesie Music Institute (DWI), home of Dinah Reindorf.

When Dinah attended Achimota Secondary School , music education was compulsory for three years before the musicians could move on to higher levels, and those who weren’t inclined could drop it. However that is no longer the case. Dinah explained that the music theory and composition classes begin at very high levels which have two negative effects on the education of their students. It can discourage students who may be naturally talented in music but not at the academic level required of their grade level. On the other hand, it can lower the standards of schools in order to accommodate these same students and in turn potentially devalue the certificates they receive, especially on the international scale.
› Continue reading

Monday, March 16th, 2015 Thoughts, Video No Comments

Sabolai Music Festival


The music of Ghana fills the air, and I experienced it live at the Sabolai Music Festival. In the words of the concert producer, Accra[dot]Alt, is about “good music, art, food, fashion and fun,” promotes public space, and provides “a wicked day + night concert with live performances that will keep you in high spirits.” I was not disappointed.
› Continue reading

Thursday, March 12th, 2015 Slideshow, Thoughts, Video No Comments

After-race Arabic night

Crowd Concert

Abu Dhabi was full of high profile concerts during the Formula One race weekend, November 20-23. The concerts were part of an entertainment festival called Yasalam, organized by the Abu Dhabi-based live events company, Flash Entertainment. The festival culminated during the race weekend with huge, simultaneous concerts in different parts of Abu Dhabi. I went to the opening Arabic night of the after-race concert series at du Arena on Yas Island (where the race circuit is also located), a half hour drive from downtown Abu Dhabi. The Arabic night featured four singers—Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf, Lebanese artist Carole Samaha, Emirati Fayez AlSaeed, and Egyptian Tamer Hosny.
› Continue reading

Friday, February 27th, 2015 Thoughts, Video No Comments

Saga Fest Update

The Sagas of Icelanders are narratives about 10th and 11th century Iceland, when communities would gather around winter fires to share stories and music.


FTER A PERSPECTIVE-CHANGING TRIP TO PETRA, Jordan, I started to learn as much as I could about the Sagas of Icelanders. I spent my free time researching facts about the country and even started attending an Icelandic language MeetUp group at a library an hour away from my house. Given my background, I was specifically fascinated by the country’s vibrant music scene. I discovered dozens of festivals that took place in Iceland each year, a surprising finding given the country’s population is barely over 320,000 people.

But even with such a saturated market, I couldn’t find a festival that combined music with the Sagas.
› Continue reading

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 Thoughts, Video No Comments

Journeys Underground with Ryo Kuramoto of DREAMPV$HER

Since embarking on this journey into Tokyo’s underground, the experimental electronic duo DREAMPV$HER kept appearing in my orbit. To recap, DREAMPV$HER is Ryo Kuramoto on synthesizer, and Michael Suwa on an 80’s-era beat maker. I first saw them perform back in September and briefly wrote about them in a previous post as a group whose sound challenges notions of a generically bound underground. At that point in my fieldwork, though, having only been in Japan for about a month, I was still trying to figure out where — and what — the heart of Tokyo’s underground music was. I was essentially a total newbie, going to any show that seemed promising on fliers I gathered at venues around town. There were many nights where I struck out, having paid upwards of 3000 yen to enter the club only to immediately realize that it was absolutely not the kind of music I was hoping to hear (I’m talking trite EDM remixes of top-forty from the States). When I heard DREAMPV$HER for the first time, though, I was literally stunned: their sound jolted me out of my consciousness into an uncharted, alternate sonic universe that was so fresh, yet somehow familiar. It also marked a turning point because I instinctively understood at that moment that this was the music I had been looking for.
› Continue reading

Monday, February 2nd, 2015 Audio, Thoughts, Video No Comments


In partnership with Fulbright