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TTU News

The master drummer from Ghana who’ll take the stage with Abusua at its final show of the semester is more than just a special guest of the Tennessee Tech University West African drum and dance ensemble.

Emmanuel Agbeli has a family history with Abusua that dates back to the group’s very beginning, and he will be featured in the TTU student ensemble’s performance set for 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, in Derryberry Hall Auditorium.

Agbeli’s late father, Godwin, in fact, was a teacher of the late Joseph Rasmussen, TTU's professor or percussion who founded Abusua in 1991.

The Dec. 3 show, in fact, will be dedicated to the memory of Rasmussen.

During his month-long residency at TTU, Agbeli will also provide workshops and seminars and visit classes across campus. He will address the topics of West African music and art in two sessions set for 11 a.m. on Nov. 14 and 16 respectively in the reception room of the Bryan Fine Arts Building.

All three appearances are Center Stage events that are free and open to the public.

Abusua, which means ‘family’ in Twi — a major language in Ghana — is a university club open to students who have taken classes in West African drumming and/or dance.
The group has performed extensively in the Putnam County school system and at festivals in Middle and East Tennessee.

It has been invited to perform at conferences of the Tennessee Music Educator’s Association, International Convention of the Percussive Arts Society and African Studies Association, all in Nashville, and the Music Educator’s National Conference in Cincinnati.

Agbeli is director of the Dagbe School of Cultural Arts in Kopeyia, Ghana, and this isn’t his first residency at TTU. He spent a month here in 2000 as well.

For more information, visit or call Cale Koester at 931/372-3988.