By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
US based Ghanaian artist / academic, Dr. Paschal Yao Younge, has been awarded the 2020 Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award for Performing Arts from the Ohio Arts Council (USA).
Ohio Heritage Fellowships are awarded in recognition of the significant impact an individual or group has had on the people and communities of the state through their advancement and preservation of folk or traditional arts.
A master artist specializing in African Traditional Musical Arts, Younge is a professor of music education at Ohio University, where he also serves as director of the annual International Summer Program in African Interdisciplinary Arts.
Also a musician, composer and author, he is a specialist in African choral and brass music and a clinician in sub-Saharan African musical arts. His research focuses on topics such as intercultural and multicultural music education / fine arts curricula, creative performance issues and practices in music and dance and world percussion.
The astute performer also directs Azaguno, an Ohio-based performance group focusing on the research, preservation and performance of African, African-American, Caribbean and Latin American music and dance. Indeed, the group has performed a number of times at the National Theatre in Accra alongside local and other foreign artistes.
Through Azaguno, as well as his career as a solo artist and teacher, Younge has performed and taught traditional African Musical Arts throughout Ohio and abroad. As part of this work, Younge has created opportunities for children, university students, academics, and professional artists to engage, study and perform African music.
A co-artistic director of an African Ensemble in Ohio, Younge is the author of several publications. These include “Music and Dance Traditions of Ghana: History, Performance and Teaching”, “Dance-Drumming Ceremonies of Ghana”, “Ghana: Rhythms of the People”, “Traditional music and Dance of the Ewe, Dagbamba, Fante and Ga People”, “Mano Efe Dusime”, “ Yeve: Ritual Music and Dance of a Secret Society” and “Four Choruses from Ghana”.
Younge, who acquired the skill, techniques and knowledge of traditional African Musical Arts and Culture from Ghana and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, has worked closely with nearly one hundred traditional masters and performance groups and has presented and performed in over sixteen countries.
Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically while the Ohio Heritage Fellowship program assists artists who are masters of their chosen art form and contribute to public visibility of folk and traditional arts in Ohio.
The USD 5,000 award is given in one of three categories – Performing Arts, Material Culture or Community Leadership.