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Dr. J. S. Kofi Gbolonyo, a Ghanaian musician and educator, grew up in some of the remote villages along the Ghana-Togo border in West Africa where he learned the traditional songs and dances of the Ewe and Fon people. He is now a Visiting Assistant Professor of Music (Ethnomusicology) and the Director of UBC African Ensemble at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. He holds a Ph.D. (2009) and an MA (2005) in Ethnomusicology and a Graduate Certificate in African Studies (2009) from the University of Pittsburgh, an Orff-Schulwerk Certificate Level III (2008) from San Francisco Orff Course, a BA (Hons. 2002) in Linguistics and Music from the University of Ghana, Legon, and a Professional Dip. Ed (1997) in Ewe Language and Music Education from the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana. His primary research and educational interests are in West African music, dance, culture, and Orff-Afrique Pedagogy. His scholarly research focuses on indigenous knowledge and cultural values in the musical practices of the Ewe and Fon of West Africa. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in ethnomusicology and African music.
Prior to his appointment at the University of British Columbia, Gbolonyo was the director of the University of Pittsburgh African Music and Dance Ensemble (2005-2009), taught as a part-time instructor (2008-2009), and as a teaching fellow (2005-2008) at the Department of Music, University of Pittsburgh. He served as a production assistant at the School of Performing Arts, University of Ghana, worked with Abibigromma, the resident theater company of the university (2002-2003), and was the director of the University of Ghana’s African Brass Ensemble (1999-2001). He was also the site coordinator of the Annual International Summer Course in African Music and Dance organized by the World Music Center, West Virginia University in Ghana (1995-2003).
Dr. Gbolonyo is a performer and clinician in African music and dance, Orff-Schulwerk, and Multicultural Music Education. He has taught at different levels of education in Ghana, Togo, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, Germany, Austria, and in many States in the United State of America. He has presented numerous workshops and scholarly papers at annual meetings of many professional associations including the American Orff-Schulwerk Association (AOSA), Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), East Asian Regional Council of Overseas Schools (EARCOS), European Council of International Schools (ECIS), Associacion Orff Espana, MENC: National Music Educators Association, International Society for Music Education (ISME), International Orff-Schulwerk Associations, and at many other international arenas in West Africa, North America, Europe, and Asia. His research and educational publications appeared in The Orff Echo and a chapter contribution in Kaleidoscope of Cultures: A Celebration of Multicultural Research and Practice, edited by Marvelene Moore and Philip Ewell. Lanham, MD: R&L Education/MENC, 2009.