Rescheduled Music Research Colloquium: ‘Folk Opera Development & Impact in Ghana: Historical & Cultural Contexts’

  • Date:
  • Time: 13:00-14:00


Ghanaian Folk Opera, arguably one of the country’s most successful musical art forms, was invented by Saka Acquaye (1923-2007) in response to Kwame Nkrumah’s Cultural Renaissance and nation building agenda. Between 1960 and the late 1980s, when the first and last of his 10 operas were written and performed, a number of Saka Acquaye’s operas, including the most popular The Lost Fishermen and Sasabonsam, flourished and functioned as Ghana’s (unofficial) cultural icons as they toured much of the world.


What is folk opera, and what aesthetic, social and political factors precipitated its evolution, popularity and high impact on Ghana’s post-independence socio-cultural landscape? The discussion will address these questions with audio/visual illustrations from Saka Acquaye’s The Lost Fishermen as appropriate.


Introducing our speaker

Dr Moses Nii-Dortey is a Research Fellow and lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana. He was an African Presidential Fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2009), and an African Humanities Programme (AHP) Doctoral Fellow at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2011–2012). Nii-Dortey has published on the histories of Ghanaian Folk Opera and the National Symphony Orchestra, the performativity of insults, and traditional festivals.


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