University of Pittsburgh

African Music and Dance Ensemble

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Audio excerpt: Pitt's African Music and Dance Ensemble.

Yamoussa Camara is currently leading the African Music and Dance Ensemble.

The Pitt African Ensemble was founded in 1983 by Ghanaian ethnomusicologist Willie O. Anku as an African drumming ensemble. Presently directed by Gavin Steingo, the ensemble is now known as the Pitt African Music and Dance Ensemble (PAMDE) and specializes in music and dance from Africa. It introduces students to various techniques of drumming, dancing, and other artistic expressions of Africa. Through drumming, voice, dance, and other musical and visual art forms, this ensemble brings to the stage a unique African theatrical experience. PAMDE is also associated with a recognized student organization known as the Pitt African Drumming Club, in which members of various departments come together to share and celebrate the performing arts and cultures of Africa.

For concert information and tickets, call 412-624-4125, or visit our Events Calendar.

African Music and Dance Ensemble Goals

  1. Learn and perform African music through hands-on experience with a variety of instruments from around the continent.
  2. Help students gain a broader understanding of traditional and contemporary life in Africa through music and dance.
  3. Create new forms of African and African-derived presentations in a theatrical context.
  4. Create opportunities for students and other interested people to experience the music and dance of Africa.
  5. Explore the connections between expressive practices in Africa and in the African diaspora.
  6. Promote the study of Africa in global perspective through collaborations with other area-studies programs, international centers, professional institutions, departments, organizations, and public schools.
  7. Create an environment of cooperation and collaboration among students, faculty, the University, and the larger Pittsburgh community that will lead to increased opportunities for research, teaching, and learning.

List of Past Directors

Dr. Willie O. Anku: Founder and First Director: 1983-July 1988

Damien Pwono: August 1988-December 1990

Anicet Mundundu: January 1991-December 1996

Sylvia Nanyonga-Tamusuza: January 1997-December 1999

Prof. Akin Euba: January-July 2000

Sylvia Nanyonga-Tamusuza: August 2000–April 2001

Dr. Paschal Yao Younge: May 2001–December 2002

Anicet Mundundu: January 2003–April 2005

J. S. Kofi Gbolonyo: May 2005–09

Charles Lwanga: September 2009–2012

Notes prepared by J. S. Kofi Gbolonyo, edited and revised by Gavin Steingo (2/12/2016)

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