Professor and musician John Collins spoke to the class today on the history of Ghanaian popular music since the late 1800’s. A resident of Ghana since 1952, he has lived, recorded and played a part in the history himself. He packed a lot of fascinating material into his two hours with us. His creative hand drawn timelines and charts (reminiscent of John Cage scores), listening examples and first-hand anecdotes were so interesting to the whole group, and accompanied by the guitar when he played some palm wine music for us. He wove the history and music together in such a way that all of us were transfixed….he really is a living legend. I met him briefly more than twenty years ago in Toronto and was so very pleased and honoured when he agreed to come to present to us.
At dinner later tonight, we had an animated conversation around the table about the dots that were connected for all of us whether our fields were Music, Gender Studies, Political Science or African Studies. See one below….
Today I was able to apply Jazz lectures with Mark Ferguson from Carleton to the lecture presented to us today by John Collins at Ghana University. Being able to indulge in further knowledge of early music of the 20th century was fascinating! There were several strong comparisons as well as actual personal connections between Ghanaian musicians and American musicians. It was a new experience to realize that the friendship between musicians worldwide has been a part of tradition for many years; John Collins is an incredible scholar and performer. Most definitely an experience I will never forget.