Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Joshua Uzoigwe's 'Talking Drums' on 'Senku' by Pianist William Chapman Nyaho

[Senku: Piano Music by Composers of African Descent; William Chapman Nyaho, piano; Musicians Showcase 1091 (2003); Joshua Uzoigwe (1946-2005)] 

Dr. William Chapman Nyaho has made it his mission to publish, record and perform classical music by composers of African descent from throughout the Diaspora. He has recorded two compilations of such works, Senku MSR MS 1242 (2003) and ASA MSR MS 1091 (2008). Senku opens with three movements of Talking Drums, a five-movement piece by the Nigerian composer Joshua Uzoigwe (1946-2005). The movements are Ukom (6:49), Lulu (2:45) and Egwu Amala (5:22).

Nyaho wrote the liner notes before the composer's death: “Josua Uzoigwe is considered one of Nigeria's most important composers. He studied composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London, and received his Ph.D. In ethnomusicology from the Queen's University of Belfast. Uzoigwe has taught at the Universities of Ife, Uyo, and the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He is presently on the faculty at Maseno University in Kenya. Uzoigwe's compositions include several works for piano, voice, chamber ensembles and orchestra. His music can be characterized as a skillful juxtaposition of African musical traditions and those of Western classical musical traditions. Talking Drums, which comprises five pieces is influenced by the rhythmic and melodic characteristics found in African master drumming on the Ukom, Iyala and small slit-drums.” [William Chapman Nyaho is profiled at His own website is]

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