Africa Meets North America, 3rd International Festival and Symposium, a major success

Published: December 8, 2009

The "Dialogue in Music Project: Africa Meets North America (AMNA), 3rd International Symposium and Festival," held on October 22-25, 2009 at UCLA's Schoenberg Music Building, was hailed as a "major success" by those in attendance. The event was hosted by the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Department of Ethnomusicology, along with Azusa Pacific University, Music Research Institute (MRI), and the Center for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College, Cambridge (CIMACC).

The Dialogue in Music Project focuses on intercultural relations between Africa and North America through performances, lectures, workshops by composers and performers, and scholarly papers and panels on the music of Africa and the African diaspora.

The Project was established in 1990 as a biennial international symposium and festival at The Center for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK (CIMACC), under the direction of Akin Euba, Nigerian composer, musicologist, and pianist. Symposia and festivals have been held in several locations around the globe, including Beijing, China ("Dialogue Between China and Africa in Music") and India ("Africa Meets Asia in Bangalore, India"). Each symposium and festival contribute to Euba's idea of "intercultural musicology," which encourages creativity between cultures and within all musical expressions. As UCLA Professor of Ethnomusicology, Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje states, the Dialogue in Music Project in Los Angeles provides an opportunity for "different cultures and people performing and discussing various musical traditions—roots music, blues, jazz, gospel, art music, and popular music—to come together and create something new, something innovative."

In attendance were scholars and musicians from all over the world, including Ghana, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ethiopia, as well as from all over the U.S. Highlights included keynote speeches by distinguished Nigerian scholar Mosunmola Omibiyi-Obidike and renowned Ghanaian scholar, composer and UCLA Professor Emeritus J. H. Kwabena Nketia, and a session with Olly Wilson, well-known composer and Professor Emeritus of Music from University of California, Berkeley.