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Faculty & Staff Profiles

Kwasi Ampene

Associate Professor of Afroamerican and African Studies in LS&A, Associate Director of the Stearns Collection, Associate Professor of Music


Professor Kwasi Ampene is a scholar and practitioner of ethnomusicology. He specializes in the rich musical traditions of the Akan people of West Africa. His research interests include the performing arts as individually and collectively created and experienced, the performance of historical and social memory, politics, ideologies, values, and religious philosophy in Akan court music. He has disseminated his research in conferences, workshops, and speaking engagements at major universities in the United States and around the world. He has also provided expert advice for public engagement projects on West African culture and music to institutions such as the British Library, Tufts University, and Princeton University.

Ampene is the author of journal articles and books including, Engaging Modernity: Asante in the Twenty-First Century (Michigan, 2016); Discourses in African Musicology: J.H. Kwabena Nketia Festschrift (Michigan, 2015); and Female Song Tradition and the Akan of Ghana: The Creative Process in Nnwonko(Ashgate, 2005).

Ampene is currently working on a monograph entitled Experience and Values in Asante Court Music and Verbal Arts. The work comes out of his extensive field research at the Asante King’s court in Kumasi-Ghana, where since 2009, he has been given rare and unrestricted access to the centuries-old heritage of stool regalia and other heirlooms. He is documenting esoteric song and instrumental texts, as well as texts of referential poetry by bards and members of the constabulary.

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