Department of Music

Ghanaian Drumming

Ghanaian Drumming and Dancing (MUSC0640) is a dynamic course in the performance of contemporary drumming and dancing styles of West Africa.

There are no prerequisites and the class may be repeated for credit. Enrollment is limited to 15. Advanced Ghanaian Drumming and Dancing (MUSC1960) builds on the knowledge and skills learned in MUSC 0640. Prerequisite: MUSC 0640 or permission of instructor. The class may be repeated for credit and the enrollment is limited to 15.


  • MUSC 0640
  • MUSC 1960


Kwaku Kwaakye Obeng

Kwaku Kwaakye (Martin) Obeng is a composer, master drummer, dancer and educator who has worked internationally for the past 25 years. Born in Ghana, West Africa, Kwaku began drumming at the age of five, and by seventeen he was appointed Royal Court Drummer to the high chief of the Aburi-Akuapim region of Eastern Ghana. He toured as a drummer and dancer with Ghana's National Arts Council Folkloric Company, and in 181 relocated to the U.S. where he joined the New England based Talking Drum Ensemble. He has taught drumming at Brown since 1988.

In the entry level Ghanaian Drumming class, students learn to perform diverse ceremonial and recreational music from Ghana through rehearsals, discussions, readings and listening. Obeng teaches the ceremonial songs and dances of Ghana, West Africa to both beginners and experienced percussionists. Students come together each semester to learn the music of various West African ethnic groups using African drums, bells, and shakers. The ensemble presents their work in a celebratory concert at the end of each semester, which often features visiting performers and communal dancing.

At the advanced level, students learn to perform a more challenging and specialized repertoire of contemporary drumming and dancing styles of West Africa, through more advanced rehearsals, discussions, readings and listening.


  • MUSC 0640: Wednesdays, 12:30-2:50pm in Lindemann 301 (Riley Hall)
  • MUSC 1960: Wednesdays, 3:30-5:50pm in Lindemann 301 (Riley Hall)




Kinka is a recreational genre from Ewe communities. It's set in duple meter and uses a recurring rhythmic pattern on the iron double bell (gankogui).



Kpanlogo is a traditional Ga dance-drumming genre from the capital region of Accra in southern Ghana in West Africa.

West African Rhythms


The piece includes the iron double bell (gankogui), hand drums (oprenten), and stick drums (kaganu & kidi).



Adowa is a popular Akan dance-drumming genre from Ghana. The atumpan (talking drum) serves as the master drum in the ensemble.

West African Hand Drum Improv.


Brown University students showcase their improvisational skills in this fun hand drum piece.

Additional Music Making Opportunities

Students may choose to join one of the department's many performing groups
Students seeking to improve their playing or singing ability have the option of taking individual private lessons with about thirty professional musicians from the greater Boston-Providence area.