Bringing Ghana to Urbana;
Traditional African Xylophone Music
Bernard Woma and Matt Jacklin
4pm lecture / demonstration
Spurlock Museum, 600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana
Music Building Auditorium, 1114 W. Nevada Street, Urbana
Both programs are open to the public, admission free
Learn about the Gyil, a small xylophone indigenous to Ghana that the performer sits on the ground to play. Bernard Woma and Matt Jacklin will visit the Spurlock Museum at 4pm to discuss how this fascinating instrument is made and the history of its development. They will also discuss the rich heritage of the Gyil, how its music has shaped the culture of Ghana, and demonstrate the different styles of Gyil music.
The 8pm performance at the School of Music Building Auditorium provides a special opportunity to fully experience the mesmerizing sound of Bernard Woma. Mr. Woma is quite simply the world’s leading performer of the Gyil. He is a cultural treasure in Ghana, who has performed for many dignitaries including Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela,and Bill Clinton, among others. This performance will be one you will not soon forget.
This performance has been made possible by a generous grant from the Urbana Public Arts Commission, hosted by the Robert E. Brown Center for World Music and Spurlock Museum. Part of the Gateways to World Music series.
Bernard Woma has shared the performance stage with renowned artists such as Maya Angelou, Yo Yo Ma, and Glen Velez. He has performed for international dignitaries and presidents such as U. S. president Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II. He was honored as the cultural resource person for President Barack Obama’s family when they visited Ghana in 2009. He is a true cultural treasure from Ghana who has toured the world as xylophonist and lead drummer of the National Dance Company of Ghana. Bernard is an extremely dynamic artist and deeply experienced educator. His recent appearances in the US include a performance with New York Philharmonic at the Avery Fisher, Lincoln Center, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Albany Symphony Orchestra, New York, Warren Orchestra, Detroit, the Berliner Symphoniker in Berlin Germany, and the KwaZulu-Natal Symphonu Orchestra in Durban South Africa. He has done residencies with many universities and colleges across the United States as well as performances with major performing ensembles such as the Ethos Percussion group, Jumbie Records, The Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), and teaching at New York’s AXF: African Xylophone Festival. The performance of his composition “Gyil Nyog Me Na” in the spring of 2006 at Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall is a testimony of his musicianship. Bernard has also performed and toured with the National Dance Company of Ghana to Britain, Denmark, Germany, The Netherland, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, South America, and many African countries. Since 2008, Bernard’s dance company, The Saakumu Dance Troupe has been touring the United States with captivating performances and educational programs in American schools and public venues. Bernard is Partner and Co-Founder of Jumbie Records; the Artistic Director of Saakumu Dance Troupe, and the founder and director of the Dagara Music and Arts Center in Accra, Ghana.
Dr. Matt Jacklin is an engaging artist and educator. Currently, he is director of percussion studies at Olivet Nazarene University, as an adjunct professor, where he teaches applied percussion lessons, arranges for and teaches the drumline and front ensemble for the marching band, directs the percussion ensemble and is also the music recruiter. He has been featured in concerto and solo recital appearances throughout the United States and abroad. He is also active as an orchestral percussionist, performing most recently with the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, the Heartland Festival Orchestra, and the Sugar Creek Symphony and Song Opera Festival. In addition, Dr. Jacklin performs frequently on steel drums in local venues throughout central Illinois. In 2001, he presented a solo electronic percussion clinic and demonstration at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. Dr. Jacklin has earned degrees from the University of Arizona, the University of Akron, and in 2011, Jacklin completed the Doctoral of Musical Arts in percussion performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.