The University Record, December 11, 2000

Learning at the side of the master

Koo Nimo (shown at left in both photos), artist-in-residence at the Center for World Performance Studies, is teaching a course in two Ghanaian musical styles at the Residential College this term and will continue teaching there next term. Shortly after his course was announced last April, it was wait-listed with 30 students enrolled.

Nimo was selected from numerous applicants in the recently founded Center’s first annual competition for the residency. According to Frank Gunderson, program associate at the Center, Nimo is well known in his native Ghana and throughout the world for his recordings and skill as a musician of palm-wine guitar music and Ashanti drumming.

Nimo has experience as an artist-in-residence at other institutions, employing a unique teaching approach to Ghanaian music. Nimo believes two very different musical styles—palm-wine guitar music and Ashanti drumming—should be taught side-by-side because they complement each other. Rhythms learned from drumming facilitate the palm-wine guitar style and vice versa. Nimo teaches students guitar and drum in one-on-one lessons and meets with the student ensemble once a week.

Photos by Martin Vloet, U-M Photo Services