World Music Festival Expresses the Diversity Found in York’s Music Department

Courtesy of York University

Today, William Thomas, an associate professor in the department of music, is producing York’s World Musical Festival, a celebration of cross-cultural musical traditions that are represented in York’s world music program.

Thomas explains that, “at the World Music Festival, students and faculty can expect to hear performances by three different world music ensembles, including the West African (Ghanaian) Drum Ensemble, the Escola de Samba, and the Caribbean Music Ensemble.”

While Thomas is currently directing the York Wind Symphony, he is also the coordinator of the world music area within the music program.

“Each of these ensembles is offered as a course here in the department of music and these classes are open to both music majors and non-majors” says Thomas. “The World Music Festival is a showcase of the incredible work our students have done in these classes this year. We are especially proud of their accomplishments as many of the students performing at the festival just started to learn these traditions at the beginning of the fall semester.”

Kwasi Dunyo, a professor in the music department, will be presenting one of the ensembles during the festival, saying that the performance will begin with, “the invocation of the spirit of music by the students, which we call a ‘warm up’, which will be followed by two entertaining, soul-moving, social or recreational dance pieces call Kpanlogo for the Ga people in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana and Bobobo originating from Ewe city of Kpando in the Volta Region of Ghana.”

“I strongly believe that music is a spirit, the most wonderful, precious and happiest spirit. I don’t believe in teaching my students how to play music but helping them to develop what they already have within them,” expresses Dunyo.

The Levitt Foundation finds that culturally diverse music fosters a more inclusive society and increases acceptance of one another. What’s more, Bright Star Musical also explains that diversity in music promotes cultural awareness. It is clear that diversity in music and music presentation is extremely important and to further this value, Thomas shares that for future festivals, there are plans to expand the performances to include Baltic, Celtic, and Klezmer performances. 

This event also includes performances facilitated by Larry Graves, Rick Lazar, and Gareth Burgess at the Tribute Communities Recital Hall. 

To learn more or to get tickets to this event, click here.

About the Author

By Sydney Ewert

Arts Editor

Sydney is in her third year at York University studying Dance. She loves to travel and explore new places. When Sydney is not editing, working, or studying for her classes, she is likely going for walks or learning new recipes.


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