Andrew Algire

Undergraduate Discipline

Music

Current undergraduate courses

African Classics of the Postcolonial Era

Fall

From highlife and jújù in Nigeria, to soukous and makossa in Congo and Cameroon, to the sounds of Manding music in Guinea and “Swinging Addis” in Ethiopia, the decades following World War II saw an explosion of musical creativity that blossomed across sub-Saharan Africa. Syncretic styles merging African aesthetics with European, Caribbean, and American influences and instruments resulted in vibrant new musical genres that harken back to traditional African sources while exploring bold and original musical forms. As European powers formally withdrew from their former colonies, newly inspired African musicians took advantage of broadened artistic resources and created vital, contemporary musical expressions. This performance course will explore a wide range of African musical styles that emerged in the second half of the 20th century. We will undertake a broad musical history, considering prominent groups and individual musicians during this time period, and perform tightly structured arrangements of some of their most effective and influential pieces. There will be some opportunities for genre-appropriate improvisation and soloing. A wide range of instruments will be welcome, including strings, horns, guitars, keyboards, drums, and various percussion instruments. Basic facility on one’s musical instrument is expected, but prior experience with African musical aesthetics is neither assumed nor required.

Faculty
Related Cross-Discipline Paths

West African Percussion Ensemble Faso Foli

Spring

Faso Foli, a Malinke phrase that translates loosely as “playing to my father’s home,” is the name of our West African performance ensemble. In this class, we will develop the ability to play expressive melodies and intricate polyrhythms in a group context, as we recreate the celebrated musical legacy of the West African Mande Empire. These traditions have been kept alive and vital through creative interpretation and innovation in Africa, in the United States, and in other parts of the
world. Correspondingly, our repertoire will reflect a wide range of expressive practices, both ancient in origin and dynamic in contemporary performance. The instruments we play—balafons, the dun dun drums, and djembe hand drums—were handcrafted for the college in 2006 by master builders in Guinea. Relevant instrumental techniques will be taught in the class.

Faculty
Related Cross-Discipline Paths

Previous courses

African Classics of the Post-Colonial Era

Fall

From highlife and jújù in Nigeria to soukous and makossa in Congo and Cameroon, to the sounds of Manding music in Guinea and “Swinging Addis” in Ethiopia, the decades following World War II saw an explosion of musical creativity that blossomed across sub-Saharan Africa. Syncretic styles merging African aesthetics with European, Caribbean, and American influences and instruments resulted in vibrant new musical genres that harken back to traditional African sources while exploring bold and original musical forms. As European powers formally withdrew from their former colonies, newly inspired African musicians took advantage of broadened artistic resources and created vital, contemporary musical expressions. This performance course will explore a wide range of African musical styles that emerged in the second half of the 20th century. We will undertake a broad musical history, considering prominent groups and individual musicians during this time period, and will perform tightly structured arrangements of some of their most effective and influential pieces. There will be some opportunities for genre-appropriate improvisation and soloing. A wide range of instruments will be welcome, including strings, horns, guitars, keyboards, drums, and various percussion instruments. Basic facility on one's musical instrument is expected, but prior experience with African musical aesthetics is neither assumed nor required.

Faculty

Gamelan Angklung Chandra Buana

Fall

A gamelan angklung is a bronze orchestra that includes four-toned metallophones, gongs, drums, and flutes. Simple patterns played upon the instruments interlock and combine to form large structures of great complexity and beauty. The gamelan angklung that we will play was specially handcrafted in Bali for the College and was named Chandra Buana, or “Moon Earth,” at its dedication on April 16, 2000, in Reisinger Concert Hall.

Faculty

West African Percussion Ensemble: Faso Foli

Spring

Faso Foli, a Malinke phrase that translates loosely as “playing to my father's home,” is the name of our West African performance ensemble. In this class, we will develop the ability to play expressive melodies and intricate polyrhythms in a group context, as we recreate the celebrated musical legacy of the West African Mande Empire. These traditions have been kept alive and vital through creative interpretation and innovation in Africa, the United States and in other parts of the world. Correspondingly, our repertoire will reflect a wide range of expressive practices both ancient in origin and dynamic in contemporary performance. The instruments we play—balafons, dun dun drums, and djembe hand drums—were constructed for the College in 2006, handcrafted by master builders in Guinea. Relevant instrumental techniques will be taught in the class, and no previous experience with African musical practice is assumed; any interested student may join.

Faculty