This past summer Hannah Hutchins took virtual lessons from master drummers in Ghana, West Africa, thanks to support from the College of Fine Arts’ Medici Circle donors.
Hannah is a third-year DMA student in percussion performance with a doctoal minor in ethnomusicology. She received her drum lessons through the Dagbe Cultural Institute, a multicultural experiential education center in the rural village of Kopeyia, Ghana. The school was founded to educate others about the music and culture of the Ewe people, an ethnic and language group of about 10 million people, and the instructors also have a deep knowledge of music from several other ethnic groups.
The financial support provided through the Medici Award was used to cover travelling and living expenses.
Medici Mondays: Hannah Hutchins
The school is run by Emmanuel Agbeli and the Agbeli family, a legendary line of master musicians who have been practicing and preserving musical cultures for generations. Hannah took lessons in-person in 2018. She returned virtually to learn the master drum rhythms for a social dance piece called “Gahu.”
“This project was extremely enriching for me and a ton of fun, but it also provided support for an amazing group of artists in a developing country. I would love to see a relationship between the University of Arizona percussion studio and the Dagbe Cultural Institute continue to develop in the years to come! I am beyond grateful for Judith and Richard Flynn’s support of the Medici Scholar program and this project, as well as all of the generous donors in the Medici Circle.
Thanks to donations made by the generous Medici Circle members, talented, artist scholars like Hannah are awarded $1,000 to pursue an educational summer project beyond the classroom.
“In the fall I taught the drum parts to a wonderful group of students (and some alumni) at the University of Arizona and shared some of the cultural context and knowledge that I had learned. We recorded a performance of the drum parts, to be accompanied by a dance video recorded in Ghana by the Dagbe Institute teachers.”