A group of UA music students has ambitious plans to travel to the West African nation of Ghana this summer. Fellow music student and percussionist Dan Kruse will aid the group to help them make their dream a reality.
The students are members of the School of Music's World Music Gang (WMG), a highlyskilled 20-member ensemble specializing in the music of several Ghanaian ethnic groups.
They are planning a nearly three-week excursion to Ghana this May and June that has been dubbed Project Ghana 2006, and will include extensive travel around the country of Ghana and studies with some of the region's best-known artists and musicians.
WMG member Dan Kruse, who visited Ghana in the summer of 2004, has devised a special fund-raising effort to help make this summer's trip possible.
When Kruse, an experienced media producer, visited Ghana, he made extensive audio recordings of music and sound effects, and interviewed nearly two-dozen members of the group he traveled with.
The experience of visiting the region for the first time was so moving that he committed himself to helping others to do so.
This spring, for his UA senior honors thesis, Kruse edited the recordings into a 51-minute audio documentary about the experience, titled "You Have Sweet Ears" which is now available to the public as a fundraising tool for the World Music Gang student travelers.
The packaged CD is offered in return for donations to a travel scholarship fund that Kruse has established to benefit the students who will travel to Ghana this summer.
"I've always loved sound, and worked in sound, whether producing audio tracks for filmsand videos in my previous career, or studying percussion and music here at the UA School of Music," said Kruse. "This project was an opportunity to present a kind of documentary in words and sounds of the very moving experience of visiting West Africa.
"It's my hope that the piece will both raise some money for these student travelers, and also encourage others to consider visiting West Africa themselves."
The CD features extensive sounds from Ghana, excerpts from traditional West African musical performances and interviews with fellow participants in the 2004 trip, as well as Kruse's impressions and reflections on the cultural experience.
Among the interview subjects featured on the CD is Bernard Woma, a world-renowned percussionist and lead drummer and xylophonist with the Ghanaian National Dance Company.
Both Dan Kruse and Mike Vercelli, leader of the World Music Gang and a UA doctoral student in percussion and ethnomusicology, studied with Woma while in Africa.
The CD documentary produced by Kruse is available via e-mail or phone orders through the month of April.
For more information, contact Dan Kruse at (520) 661-4742, or firstname.lastname@example.org.