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Drums, Song, and Dance from the Asante Kingdom of Ghan​a


1: 6/26/2023 - 7/9/2023




Immerse yourself in the intricate polyrhythmic drumming and the graceful yet explosive dancing of the Asante Kingdom of Ghana, West Africa. Rehearse daily with master artists and culture-bearers from Ghana as they break down complex drum patterns and accompanying dance movements while demonstrating how the performing arts preserve history and perpetuate living culture. Instruction will accommodate varying learning styles and levels of experience, and students will have the opportunity to learn both drumming and dancing before specializing as we prepare for the student showcase.

Who Should Take This Class

The ideal student for this class will already have a foundation in rhythm and percussion, dance, or both, and an interest in world music generally, if not African music specifically. The class would also be great for students studying African history or language, with a strong sense of rhythm if they aren't already musicians or dancers.

Required Application Materials (please submit materials in a single document)

Personal Statement: Describe your interest in the course, as well as any relevant experience, including course work or extracurricular musical or dance experience. Include the link to your video audition on your personal statement.

Video Audition: For music students, a link to a recording demonstrating a provided foundational rhythmic music. Experienced musicians/percussionists can substitute links to existing videos of themselves playing.

For dance students, a link to a three-minute dance video.

Course Coordinator

Francis Kofi Akotuah is a drummer from Ghana, West Africa. Born and raised in the capital city of Accra, Francis has been steeped in the sounds of Ghana’s many musical cultures since childhood. Francis taught at the University of Ghana School of Performing Arts for 18 years before moving to the U.S. in 2016. He is now based in the Bay Area, teaching students of all ages at the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts as well directing Ghanaian ensembles at UC Santa Cruz, Sacramento State University, and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Guest Artists

Emmanuel Attah Poku

Emmanuel Attah Poku is a born-in-the-tradition expert from the Ashanti ethno-linguistic group in Ghana. Poku is the artistic director in residence and a primary member of the Ashanti King’s Palace and Center for National Culture in Kumasi, Ghana. He teaches all aspects of the music and dance and will direct the Kiniwe Ensemble performances.