Truman Alumnus Presents on African Music Study

Brendan Loula, Truman alumnus, will give two presentations on African music, entitled “The Gambian Music Preservation Project” at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Feb. 17 in Ophelia Parrish 2117. The presentation is sponsored by the Truman Department of Music.

The presentation, a joint endeavor between the National Center for the Arts and Culture in Gambia and the Peace Corps, will focus on Loula’s work to help preserve fading music traditions in Gambia. The project includes recording session and interviews with dozens of musicians, culminating in a wealth of audio and visual materials.

In addition, Loula will present a session entitled “Jaliya,” dealing with the caste of “griots,” or historian-musicians in West African hierarchical societies, at 1:30 p.m. in the Ophelia Parrish Performance Hall. Loula will attempt to give the audience a basic understanding of the complex system of societal structure and music.

At Truman, Loula focused on western music, but incorporated elements of international music in some of his pieces. After graduating, Loula applied for the Peace Corps and was sent to Gambia to serve as a health volunteer for a two-year term. He finished his service working with the Gambian Music Preservation Project, a month-long series of music recording treks. Since returning to the U.S., Loula has been working on securing a place for the recordings in American archives. He plans to pursue a master’s and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology in 2012.

All events are free and open to the public.