Nate Ash-Morgan

Nate Ash-Morgan

Nate Ash-Morgan started his training in Ghanaian drumming through a West African drumming class at Wesleyan University with Abraham Adzenyah in 2005. He began playing supporting drumming parts for Wesleyan's West African dance classes in 2006 alongside master's student Elikem Nyamuame, who was accompanying Helen Mensah's West African dance classes.

In 2007, he took his first trip to Ghana and studied with master drummer Francis Akotuah, who now teaches Ghanaian drumming at the University of California - Santa Cruz. Ash-Morgan was the accompanist when Nyamuame began teaching the classes, and he returned again to Ghana in 2008, when he was hired to accompany the West African dance classes with a new dance teacher, Iddi Saaka (and for modern and intro to dance classes). He built his repertoire, learning new pieces in which Saaka specialized. Ash-Morgan also accompanied African dance classes at Yale University for Lacina Coulibaly, and regularly performed with dancer Tatchol Camara and drummer Seni Camara, who teach classes at Yale's African-American Cultural Center.

Ash-Morgan returned to Ghana in 2015, determined to have an immersive cultural experience before going to graduate school. He expanded his repertoire, learning from master drummers from various ethnic groups: Mutala Karimu and Mohammed Alidu for Dagomba drumming; Edzi Konu for Ga drumming; Immanuel Avornyo for Ewe drumming; and Nana "KB" Boakye for Ashanti drumming. Ash-Morgan has maintained relationships with all of these drummers, most of whom are members of the Ghana Dance Ensemble. He also studied Ghanaian dance with Christopher Laklivi Ametornyo in 2018, and Ash-Morgan taught African drumming and African dance classes at UNT.

Ash-Morgan studied with professor Alorwoyie since coming to UNT in 2016, learning his repertoire and his style, which he hopes to pass on to Ash-Morgan for future generations. Ash-Morgan performed with him at local events in Denton and across DFW, an annual tour of venues in Kentucky, a performance honors minimalist composer Steve Reich in New York City, and the featured headliner for the "Sacrum Profanum" festival in Krakow, Poland. Ash-Morgan has returned to Ghana seven times in the 15 years. He has played traditional drumming and dance, often in the traditional village setting (e.g., Ewe drumming and dance in the village of Afiadenyigba, Dagomba drumming and dance for chiefs in Tamale), but also in urban (Ga kpanlogo drumming and dance in Accra) and transnational (Dagomba drumming and dance in New Jersey) contexts, where traditional music and dance plays a key function in reflecting and inscribing cultural identity.

Page last updated 11:04 AM, February 10, 2023