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Towards An African Pianism:  Keyboard Music of Africa and the Diaspora

Volume One - Essays
Volume Two - Music Scores - CDs

Edited by Cynthia Tse Kimberlin and Akin Euba 
Published by the MRI Press 2005

422 pages, 35 photographs, numerous music examples and other illustrative material.  ISBN  0-9627473-6-X

Editors' Note

Table of Contents - Volume One  
Table of Contents - Volume Two  

Table of Contents - CD One  
Table of Contents - CD Two

$ 85.00 per set plus shipping 

Towards an African Pianism:  Keyboard Music of Africa and the Diaspora

Edited by Cynthia Tse Kimberlin and Akin Euba

Editors' Note

This 2-volume work (1) provides a multifaceted study that underscores the significance of the Western acoustic piano in Africa and the Diaspora; (2) presents a basis for African pianism from an historical perspective; (3) introduces proponents of African pianism, not only from West Africa where its genesis appears to have been set in motion, but also by those from other regions of Africa and the Diaspora; (4) offers commentary on the situation in the arts in general and examination of African pianism in particular; (5) puts forth arguments about why African pianism should exist on its own terms and not as an extension or imitation of piano music in the Euro-American mode; and (6) demonstrates the indigenization of the piano in Africa, just as the violin and the guitar have been transformed, where they no longer ‘belong’ to any one culture or country since their integration into the artistic practices of local communities.

Volume One consists of essays never before published and is complemented by 35 black and white photographs. Volume Two contains music scores along with a companion 2-CD set of live and recorded performances. The presentations and music performances at the inaugural “Towards An African Pianism: Keyboard Music of Africa and Its Diaspora” event on October 7-9, 1999 at the University of Pittsburgh, USA form the basis of this publication.

The essays, compositions, and recordings are widely divergent in terms of thematic materials, techniques, methodologies, and aesthetics. Collectively they capture the excitement and intensity of music creativity that has been taking place in Africa and the Diaspora since the 20th into the 21st century.

Table of Contents - Volume One

Volume One - Essays

  • Dedication  


  • Acknowledgments

  • Introduction

  • PHOTOGRAPHS Nos. 2-3

  • The Concept of African Pianism 

    • Kofi Agawu - Is African Pianism Possible?

    • Paul Konye - Conceptualizing 'African Pianism'

    • Halim El-Dabh - Halim El-Dabh on African Pianism

  • PHOTOGRAPHS Nos. 4-10 

  • North African and South African Pianism 

    • Linda Burman-Hall - Introducing al-Biyanu: A First Survey of Oral Tradition Pianism in North Africa

    • Christine Lucia - Abdullah Ibrahim and 'African Pianism' in South Africa

  • Commentary 

    • Ed Bland - An African American Composer's View of African Connections

    • Mike Wright - Is it the Right Pitch or the Right Temperament? "Comments from Ed Bland"

  • Compositional Approaches to African Pianism:The Composer Discusses His Work 

    • Justinian Tamusuza - African Pianism in Abakadde Abaagalana be Balima Akambugu

  • PHOTOGRAPHS Nos. 11-17 

    • Michael Blake - Some Comments on my Piano Piece French Suite 

    • Joshua Uzoigwe - African Pianism: The Problem of Tonality and Atonality

    • Akin Euba - Themes from Chaka No.1: A Pianistic Realization of African Polyrhythm

  • Compositional Approaches to African Pianism:Other Perspectives 

    • Bode Omojola - Towards a Theory of African Pianism: A Study of the Piano Works of Akin Euba

  • PHOTOGRAPHS Nos. 18-24 

    • George Dor - National Identity Through 'African Pianism': The Works of Kwabena Nketia and Gyimah Labi of Ghana

    • Denise Seachrist - The Microcosm of the Macrocosm Depicted in Halim El-Dabh's 'Mekta in the Art of Kita'

    • Martin Scherzinger - The Form is/in the Function: Situating the African Keyboard Music of Kevin Volans

  • PHOTOGRAPHS Nos. 25-35 

  • Index

  • Contributors: Volume One and Volume Two

Table of Contents - Volume Two

Volume Two - Music Scores - CDs

  • Halim El-Dabh - Spectrum no.1: Symphonies in Sonic Vibration (1957) (piano and derabucca version)

  • Michael Blake - French Suite (1994)

  • Justinian Tamusuza - Abakadde Abaagalana Be Balima Akambugu (1995) (Mutual Lovers are Always Successful) (for soprano, tenor, and piano)

  • Akin Euba - Themes from Chaka No. 1 (1996)

  • Amy Rubin - Hallelujah Games for piano 4 hands (1997)

  • Martin Scherzinger - Masanga for two pianos (1998)

  • Eric Moe - Dance of the Honey Monkey (1999)

  • Paul Konye - African Miniature Songs Without Words I & II For Piano (2003)

  • Amy Rubin - American Progressions (2003)


Table of Contents - CD One

  • Track            Title                                     Composer                        Time

  • 1          Dagarti Work Song                     J. H. Kwabena Nketia           1'19"

  • 2          Builsa Work Song                       J. H. Kwabena Nketia           1'11"

  • 3          Dagomba                                    J. H. Kwabena Nketia           2'06"

  • 4          Libation                                       J. H. Kwabena Nketia          1'37"

  • 5          Volta Fantasy                              J. H. Kwabena Nketia          2'23"

  • 6          Themes from Chaka 1                 Akin Euba                             7'36"

  • 7          Dance of the Honey Monkey       Eric Moe                               5'00"

  • 8          Lustra Variations                         Joshua Uzoigwe                    7'21"

  • 9          Homage a Scriabin                      Andres Wheatley                  1'18"

  • 10        Sharpeville 1960                         Andres Wheatley                   2'03"

  • 11        Duo Napolitain (Naples Street)   Andres Wheatley                   1'38"

  • 12        Valse Musette                            Andres Wheatley                   2'21"

  • 13        Last Spring                                 Andres Wheatley                   4'15"

  • 14        Scherzino                                   Andres Wheatley                   1'26"

  • 15        Anger and Jubilation                   Mark Boozer                         2'55"

  • 16        The Village Children at Play        Nkeiru Okoye                       0'55"

  • 17        Dusk                                          Nkeiru Okoye                       3'26"

  • 18-20  American Progressions               Amy Rubin                            12'26'

Pianists: Eric Moe (1-7), Glen Inanga (8), Lorna Young-Wright (9-14),
Mark Boozer (15-17), Amy Rubin (18-20). 

Table of Contents - CD Two

  • Track     Title                                                           Composer                           Time

  • 1-3       African Miniature Songs Without Words        Paul Konye                           5'20"

  • 4-6       Three Preludes                                              Wallace Cheatham               5'35"

  • 7           Themes from Chaka 2                                   Akin Euba                            10'34"

  • 8-9       Three Magnolia Fantasies                              Gary Nash 

    • (i)         Buddy's Path                                                                                     7'39"

    • (ii)         Fast Blues on the Wall                                                                       5'20"

  • 10         Piano Piece No. 6                                         Robert Kwami                      1'07"

  • 11         January Dance                                              Robert Kwami                       2'34"

  • 12         Agbigbo                                                        Joshua Uzoigwe                   11'41"

Pianist:        Darryl Hollister    


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