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Asante Court Music and Verbal Arts in Ghana: The Porcupine and the Gold Stool (Soas Studies in Music) Paperback, Feb. 2022. Kwasi Ampene (Author).

Asante Court Music and Verbal Arts in Ghana is a comprehensive portrait of Asante court musical arts. Weaving together historical narratives with analyses of texts performed on drums, ivory trumpets, and a cane flute, the book includes a critical assembly of ancient song texts, the poetry of bards (kwadwom), and referential poetry performed by members of the constabulary (apae). The focus is on the intersections between lived experience, music, and values, and refers to musical examples drawn from court ceremonies, rituals, festivals, as well as casual performances elicited in the course of fieldwork.

For the Asante, the performing arts are complex sites for recording and storing personal experiences, and they have done so for centuries with remarkable consistency and self-consciousness. This book draws on archaeological, archival, historical, ethnographical and analytical sources to craft a view of the Asante experience as manifested in its musical and allied arts. Its goal is to privilege the voices of the Asante and how they express their history, religious philosophy, social values, economic, and political experiences through the musical and allied arts. The author’s theoretical formulation includes the concept of value, referring to ideas, worldview concepts, beliefs, and social relationships that inform musical practices and choices in Asante.

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