Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Black History Month Resource: Samuel Ekpe Akpabot (1932-2000), Nigerian Composer

[Three Nigerian Dances (8:34); National Symphony Orchestra of the South African Broadcasting Corporation; Richard Cock, Conductor; Marco Polo 8.223832 (1995)]

Samuel Ekpe Akpabot (1932-2000) was a Nigerian composer, professor and author. AfriClassical Blog posted a birthday tribute to him. The composer's page at features an audio sample from his composition Three Nigerian Dances. The essay opens with this paragraph:

Pittsburgh 1963
In the year before Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Nigerian composer Samuel Ekpe Akpabot and Cynthia Boudreau, the 16-year-old White woman with whom he was sitting, were denied service at the restaurant of the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Pittsburgh, on the basis of his race. The young woman expressed her outrage and fled the scene in tears. The incident was not an uncommon occurrence in the U.S. at the time, and would in most cases have passed unnoticed by the rest of the world. The composer resolved on the spot, however, to memorialize it, and later did so in a tone poem which came to be called Cynthia's Lament.” Full page

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