Publications

A complete and updated list of my publications can be found on my Google Scholar profile. Full-text versions are also available through the University of Cape Coast Institutional Repository. If you are interested in any of my publications but can’t find them online, please send me a request through the contact form on this website and I’ll be happy to share them with you.


Music, Health and Wellbeing: African Perspectives

Knowledge about the relationship between music, health and wellbeing is probably as old as humanity itself. Ritual specialists across the African continent and elsewhere have been making use of the therapeutic and curative potential of music and dance for millennia. More recent research in musicology, dance and performance studies, psychology, neuroscience and medicine has added much to our understanding of the sociocultural, psychological as well as biological foundations of human-music interaction. While there is growing consensus that music can have a transformative impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities, this special issue investigates this phenomenon more systematically in African cultural contexts. The contributing authors explore the transformative potential of music and cognate creative performances by investigating their role in formal and informal health care as well as the promotion of individual and collective wellbeing.

The idea for this Special Issue of the Legon Journal of Humanities grew out of collaborative research in the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Cape Coast. It was guest-edited by Florian Carl and Eric Debrah Otchere.

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  • Format: e-journal, 189 pages
  • Publisher: College of Humanities, University of Ghana
  • Language: English
  • E-ISSN: 2458-746X
  • ISSN: 0855-1502

Dagaaba Xylophone: Daga-Gyil Making in Ghana

The daga-gyil (xylophone) is the most important musical instrument of the Dagaaba people of northern Ghana and neighboring Burkina Faso. It is played in recreational as well as ritual contexts, most importantly as part of traditional funeral ceremonies where the instrument takes on a central role both in announcing a person’s death and accompanying the transition of the deceased into the ancestral world. More recently, the daga-gyil has also been adopted as the major instrument in the celebration of the Ordinary of the Mass by the Catholic Church in Ghana’s Upper West Region. Additionally, the instrument has been introduced into formal music education in Ghana. In traditional contexts the instrument has a close connection to the spiritual world, which is why its players are highly respected. Master xylophonists undergo years of training, requiring not only a high level of technical versatility on their instrument but also in-depth knowledge of the repertoire and its requisite performance contexts.

The material for this documentary film was shot by the ethnomusicologists John Wesley Dankwa and Florian Carl in and around Nandom in Ghana’s Upper West Region. It documents the construction of a daga-gyil and some of its performance contexts.

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  • Format: documentary film (DVD), ca. 60 min.
  • Publisher: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Ethnologisches Museum (December 2016)
  • Language: English (subtitles)
  • Order number:1557354

Berlin/Accra: Music, Travel, and the Production of Space

From ethnographic shows in the nineteenth century to “African markets” in zoos today; from funeral celebrations in urban settings in Ghana to workshops and world music festivals in Germany; from televised Independence Day celebrations in Africa to musical scenes and the nightlife in European cities – the contexts for the performance of African music could hardly be more diverse. This ethnography explores the production of social space and the negotiation of culture, ethnicity, and race through musical performance in the transnational field between Berlin and Accra.

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  • Format: paperback, 208 pages
  • Publisher: LIT Verlag (October 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3825819051
  • ISBN-13: 978-3825819057

Was bedeutet uns Afrika? Zur Darstellung afrikanischer Musik im deutschsprachigen Diskurs des 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhunderts

Schon im 19. Jahrhundert hatte afrikanische Musik den Status eines modernen Mythos. Vor allem Berichte von Afrikareisenden nährten die europäische Imagination. Mit den Völkerschauen und Kolonialausstellungen sowie vor allem der gegen Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts entwickelten Aufnahmentechnologie gewinnt der Mythos afrikanischer Musik in Europa gleichsam physische Realität. Dieses Buch verfolgt die Geschichte des kolonialen Diskurses über afrikanische Musik, der ihr Bild noch heute prägt, in den Texten deutschen Reisender, Ethnologen und Musikwissenschaftler vom 19. bis ins frühe 20. Jahrhundert.

This book traces the history of the colonial discourse about African music, which still influences its image today, in the writings of German travellers, anthropologists, and musicologists from the nineteenth to the early twentieth century.

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  • Format: paperback, 184 pages
  • Publisher: LIT Verlag (June 2004)
  • Language: German
  • ISBN-10: 3825871533
  • ISBN-13: 978-3825871536