Life, Death, and Music in West Africa

  title={Life, Death, and Music in West Africa},
  author={Colter Harper},
  pages={44 - 51}
  • C. Harper
  • Published 1 February 2008
  • History
  • Contexts
In the summer of 2005 I traveled to Africa to study funeral music in Ghana’s northwestern region. For much of the trip I lived in the capital of Accra, a sprawling home to immigrants from all regions of West Africa. My room, in a complex inhabited by three Ghanaian families, was worlds away from the villages of the north. In Accra I continued learning the gyil, which I had been introduced to four years earlier while studying at the University of Ghana. The gyil is a 14-key frame xylophone…