“Giving Voice to Hope: Music of Liberian Refugees”—Teaching about the West African conflict through musicNovember 8, 2009 # 11:42 am # Armed Conflict, Foreign Policy, Human Rights # No Comment
Over the past two years, in collaboration with others at the University of Alberta, I’ve been working with Liberian musicians living in Buduburam, a refugee camp near the Ghanaian capital, Accra, to produce a benefit CD representing music of camp residents.
The Buduburam camp was established in 1990 (with support from the UN High Commission for Refugees) to shelter Liberians fleeing a terrible civil conflict that continued, on and off, for some 15 years, devastating their country, and so many lives.
When I first visited Buduburam, I was surprised to find there a wonderfully vibrant musical scene, despite the squalid conditions of camp life. Some enterprising musicians had even put together a simple but effective recording studio. Working in concert with a camp NGO (Center for Youth Empowerment), we collected 16 tracks composed, performed and recorded by camp residents, representing a wide variety of West African popular music styles, and signed the artists for this compilation CD, which also includes extensive liner notes on the history of the conflict, the camp, the music, and the musicians themselves.
Our immediate aim is to bring some modest support and — more importantly –recognition to these young musicians and the NGO, as well as to raise public consciousness about problems of conflict, forced migration, and refugees in West Africa, and globally. Beyond its great music, the CD is designed to be useful for teaching at the high school and university levels, in a variety of fields: music of Africa, ethnomusicology, African history and politics, forced migration studies, development studies, etc.
The CD, entitled Giving Voice to Hope: Music of Liberian Refugees, is now available via our websites:
For purchase or inquiries, contact:
University of Alberta International
Phone: +1 (780) 492-6040
Fax: +1 (780) 492-6213I think this CD will be a wonderful teaching resource. Please help support our efforts.
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Dr. Michael Frishkopf
Associate Professor, Department of Music (www.music.ualberta.ca)
Associate Director, Canadian Centre for Ethnomusicology (www.fwalive.ualberta.ca)
Mailing address: Michael Frishkopf, Department of Music, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta, 3-82 Fine Arts Building, Edmonton, AB CANADA T6G 2C9
Office: 334D Arts, (780) 492-0670; 3-47 Arts, tel: (780) 492-0225, or
Electronic: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.arts.ualberta.ca/~michaelf/
Music Department tel: (780) 492-3263; fax: (780) 492-9246
CCE fax (780) 492-0242
Giving Voice to Hope: Music of Liberian Refugees: http://tinyurl.com/ott3w3
This looks like a fascinating approach to teaching about the conflict.
(HT: SocioLingo Africa)