African Music Ensembles

Explore traditional music, Afrobeat, soukous, desert blues and Tuareg rock music from West and Central Africa, led by Olivier Tarpaga.

AME (Traditional and Afrobeat) will meet on Wednesdays from 7:00-10:00PM in Lee.

First meeting: Wednesday September 6. No audition.

Afrobeats Ensemble

In the Afrobeats Ensemble, Princeton University students can explore sounds and rhythms originating from cities across Africa including Bamako and Johannesburg, Kinshasa and Abidjan, Lagos and Nairobi, Ouagadougou and more. From Fela Kuti in Nigeria to Soukous from the Democratic Republic of Congo. From Coupé Décalé in Côte d’Ivoire, to Desert Rock and blues from Mali.

All students are welcome to join the Afrobeats ensemble, a group that includes instruments from a range of times and regions. Instruments from Western rock, jazz and classical contexts combine with traditional West African drums, harps, and wind instruments in an exploration of music, rhythm, movement, and expression. No audition necessary. Registration will be announced at the beginning of each semester.

Traditional Ensemble

In the Traditional Ensemble, Princeton University students learn about and play music from West Africa, focusing mostly Mandé music, plus a wide repertory of rhythms and sounds from Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, The Gambia, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast.

Director Olivier Tarpaga and guest artists share with students the history, cultural significance, and techniques for playing traditional instruments, including the djembe and dundun. Spanning studies in rhythm, timbre, meaning, movement and narrative, the Traditional Ensemble immerses students in the connections of music, dance, and story. Just as with the Afrobeats Ensemble, students in the Traditional Ensemble have opportunities throughout the year to perform in concerts, festivals, and other cross-campus collaborations. All students are welcome to join the traditional ensemble. No audition necessary. Registration will be announced at the beginning of each semester.

All Ensembles