Bridging Cultures Through Music – Instruments of Africa

“Africans view musical instruments as people,” said Mark Stone, who teaches percussion and world music at Oakland University, MI. He was a guest speaker in my class at Ahmedabad University. He made this observation in response to a student’s question about standardization of instruments and added “Each instrument is considered unique.” He showcased a wide range of instruments from the Marimba (similar to xylophone), Gyil (an ancient instrument from west Africa), Kalimba and Akogo from Uganda talking about them and playing them. “Drums are oral historians” he said showing us a drum that was similar to ones we have seen in India used to announce or celebrate events.  He spoke of his musical journey beginning with his training which in many ways reminded us of India music’s gurukul system.
It was a truly enriching musical experience and demonstrated to the students how music acts as a bridge between different cultures.

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