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News Release

Ananse Ghanaian Drum and Dance at Moravian College – October 2

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) — The Arts and Lectures Series at Moravian College presents a special performance of Ananse Ghanaian Drum & Dance on Wednesday, October 2, at 8 p.m., in Foy Hall. Ananse is a drum and dance ensemble which presents authentic folk music and dances from the various regions of Ghana and some other West African countries, each associated with specific African social events such as coming-of-age rituals, royal ceremonies, funerals or social merry-makings. The artists explain the meaning of the music and dances presented by sharing related folk stories.

Ananse is composed of former members of well-recognized folkloric dance ensembles at the Center for National Culture in Accra, the capital city of Ghana in West Africa. They have gathered from various regions of the United States for this performance. The group has most recently performed at the New York State Fair and Syracuse University.

Ananse is the spider-trickster god of West African folklore, similar to the coyote-trickster of the Indians of the American Southwest. Because all art is a kind of fiction or trickery, Ananse also is the god of stories and entertainment. Hence the use of his name for the dance and drum troupe from Ghana that performs Wednesday at Moravian.

The company is led by David Etse Nyadedzor Brown, who is based in Syracuse, New York. He trained as a drummer with Salamta, based at the Center for National Culture in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. He also has played at the Dance Factory, part of the National Theater in Accra, and was a founding member of the group Aziza, whose other members come from the Pan-African Orchestra. He founded Ananse in 1993, and most of the members emigrated to the United States in 1997, though some still live in Africa.

Patricia A. N. (Trish) Glazebrook, visiting professor of philosophy at Moravian in the 2001-2002 academic year, studies drumming with Nyadedzor and recommended Ananse to Moravian’s Arts and Lectures Committee.

Ananse offers material from several countries of west, central and southern Africa, including a Zulu warriors’ dance from South Africa and ritual drumming patterns of Senegal, Gambia and Guinea. It also represents the rich music and dance heritage of Ghanaian tribal groups: "Sekyie" from the Fante of central Ghana, "Bawa", from the Dagomba of northern Ghana; Kpanlogo, from the Ga fishermen of Accra; and "Fume Fume," commissioned by Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of independent Ghana, to create a national music and dance work for his young country.

Foy Concert Hall is located on the Priscilla Payne Hurd Campus, Main and Church streets in historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 senior citizens, students, and children 12 and under. For more information, call 610-861-1650 or send an email to music@moravian.edu.

The axatse shakers sound out a steady "ckaka-chaka-chaka," while the gakonkoi bells ring out "tin-kon-ko-kon-tin-tin-kon." Meanwhile, the master drum shouts out "gide-gaze-gide-ga-gi-tot," signaling the dancers to walk forward while waving their hands.