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Press Release

Barbara Laskin

African Music Ensemble Concerts
Tuesday, Jan. 16 –Thursday, Jan.18, 2007

St. Paul, Minn. –Macalester College's African Music Ensemble will perform two one-hour performances to introduce schoolchildren to African music, at 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.,
Tuesday, Jan. 16 – Thursday, Jan. 18, at Macalester College, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Concert Hall, 1600 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, Minn. 

The Macalester College African Music Ensemble is a 40-piece group directed by Macalester College Music Department faculty member Sowah Mensah, an ethnomusicologist, composer, and master drummer from Ghana, West Africa. The Ensemble performs traditional African music using a variety of authentic instruments brought from Africa.

These instruments include various drums in many sizes and shapes, horns or Mmenson, flutes or Atenteben, various bells, rattles, mbiras, gourds and a Xylophone or Gyil.

The concert series, now in its tenth year, introduces children to music that performs a variety of cultural functions, including music for royalty, children's games, funerals, social commentary, daily life and more.

During the program, the Ensemble may perform dances and folk tales, teach songs and games, and interact with the audience.

The group, which tours nationally, has been to Seattle, Wash., Santa Barbara, Calif., Kansas, and Michigan and at colleges and universities in the Upper Midwest.  They’ve been featured on Minnesota Public Radio's "Morning Show" and performed for the opening ceremony at a Music Educators National Conference in Minneapolis, Minn. 

The Ensemble will also be giving a free concert on campus at 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007, in the Concert Hall of the Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center.

Macalester College, founded in 1874, is a national liberal arts college with a full-time enrollment of 1,884 students.  Macalester is nationally recognized for its long-standing commitment to academic excellence, internationalism, diversity and civic engagement.