Reimagining the Global Music Ensemble (RGME) is a two-year project (2021-2023) that seeks to broaden the artistic vision and leadership of Carleton’s West African Rhythm Ensemble, motivated by current major cultural shifts including the Black Lives Matter movement.  The project gathers together ensemble directors, educators, researchers, faculty, students, musicians, and the general public, to critically examine representation, roles and structures in post-secondary “world music” ensembles.  Through collaborative discussion, interviews, and a pilot year for the new ensemble, we explore established and emerging models towards improving and expanding experiential learning opportunities for students at Carleton.

Carleton’s West African Rhythm Ensemble (WARE) belongs to a tradition of global music ensembles found in many music programs in post-secondary institutions across North America and throughout the world.  While such ensembles offer valuable experiential learning about diverse (often non-Western) music cultures, they can also become a form of cultural tourism that simply reinforces the dominance of Western music and pedagogy in the academy. WARE is founded on professional expertise, teachings of culture bearers, and an ongoing deep relationship with the Ghanaian community, yet events of 2020 produced a major cultural shift and an urgency towards finding new approaches in leadership, repertoire, collaboration and intercultural transmission of knowledge for this ensemble. This project asks: What is a responsible model for a global music ensemble in post-secondary music studies now?

Check out Interviews with Global Music Ensemble Directors on our YouTube channel

RGME Events and Timeline

Opportunities and Challenges of Intercultural Arts Education

November 2021 | Online Forum Discussion
Panel Guest: Brainerd Blyden-Taylor

The Global Music Ensemble: Shifting Models

December 2021 | Online Forum Discussion
Panel Guests: Stacey Can-Tamakloe, Samuel Elikem Nyanuame, Gavin Webb, Sean Williams

Community Consultation-Reimagining the Global Music Ensemble

May  2022 | In-person Discussion at Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre with Ottawa and Carleton community members. Facilitated by Kathy Armstrong and Stacey Can-Tamakloe

Interviews with Global Ensemble Directors

Spring 2022 | Conducted by Stacey Can-Tamakloe with:

  • Kathy Armstrong, Carleton University, ON
  • Kwasi Dunyo, University of Toronto, York University, ON
  • Karen Howard, University of St Thomas, MN
  • Robert Levin, Montclair University, NJ
  • Irene Markoff, York University, ON
  • Samuel Elikem Nyamuame, Binghamton University NY
  • Marissa Silverman, Montclair University, NJ
  • Michael Vercelli, University of Virginia, VA

Pilot year of the West African Rhythm Ensemble September 2022-April 2023

Traditional dance coaching by Stacey Can-Tamakloe, RGME Research Assistant
Public workshop and ensemble coaching by visiting guest artist Benedictus Mattson in Azonto dance; two public performances.

Knowledge Mobilization July 2023

Paper presentation at the International Council for Traditional Musics World Conference, Legon, Ghana. Kathy Armstrong & Stacey Can-Tamakloe

Findings and Recommendations (coming soon)


Collaborators and Funding

Kathy Armstrong, Project Lead
Dr.  Ellen Waterman, Helmut Kallmann Chair for Music in Canada, Director MSSC
Dr. James McGowan, Carleton University Chair in Teaching Innovation
Stacey Can-Tamakloe, Graduate Research Assistant, WARE coach
Sam Dillon, Administrative Assistant and Design
Sergio Parra, Graduate Research Assistant
Baobab Collaborative Arts Fund