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Bring Amu Back 1/28/2007
The President of the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM), Mr. Lupwishi Mbuyamba, has called for the revival of the Amu Choral Festival and for it to be expanded into a Pan-African festival.

He said the annual Amu choral Festival, which was started by some individual Ghanaians with the support of the then Arts Council of Ghana in the early 1970s in honour of Dr Ephraim Amu, the eminent musicologist and educationist, was the first of its kind in Africa and it attracted observers from the sub-region every time it was held.

Mr. Mbuyamba, a Mozambican, was speaking at a reception hosted by the Winneba Youth Choir and the Institute for Music and Development (IMD) at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra over the weekend for a three-member IFCM delegation on a day’s visit to Ghana. Other members of the delegation were the IFCM Secretary-General, Mr. Jean-Claude Wilkens and Mr. Noel Minet, President of the European French-speaking Secretariat of the IFCM.

The IFCM was founded in 1982 to facilitate communication and exchange between choral musicians throughout the world. It is the official representative of choral music at the International Music Council of the UNESCO and has more than 2,000 members divided into four categories: individuals, choirs, organizations and businesses worldwide.

Mr. Mbuyamba said Ghana has been a leader in Africa not only on the political front but also culturally, adding that the first and mot important UNESCO conference on cultural policies for Africa was held in Ghana in 1975.

He stated that though there is a Pan-African music festival in Brazzaville, choral music is not represented there. “The Amu Choral Festival could therefore be our main instrument for showing what we want to show the world in terms of choral music,” the IFCM President said.

Reacting to Mr. Mbuyamba’s comments, Ms Misonu Amu, a musician and daughter of Dr Amu, who was present at the reception, said: “It would have been nice to have the Amu Choral Festival sustained. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. Mr. Mbuyamba mentioning it means people have it at heart. As a member of the family and the Amu Foundation, I think we need to take up the challenge and work at it.”

The internationally renowned musicologist, Prof. J. H. Nketiah also said the idea for a Pan-African choral festival named after Dr Amu is a good one because Amu was a pioneer in the choral area “People in other parts of Africa will welcome it,” he added.

France-based Ghanaian singer, Bibi Brew and Yasmeen Helwani performed a song each at the reception which attracted key music industry players and cultural establishment personalities like Mr. Ebow Hawkson, former Deputy Director of the National Commission on Culture, Ms Korkor Amarteifio of the IMD, music producer Faisal Helwani, musicians Rex Omar, Charles Amoah, Carlos Sekyi, Khodjo Aquai, Jesse Joe, Dr E. Sogah and Stan Plange, Mr. Francis Twum of the Ghana Association of Phonographic Industries (GAPI), Mrs. Elizabeth Mondo of UNESCO Ghana, Francine Meyer of the French Embassy, Messrs Edusei Derkyi and Sackey of the Winneba Youth Choir and several leaders of choral organisations.

Source: Graphic Showbiz

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