African Drumming

Department: Music

Contact

Office: Bixler 104
Phone: 207-859-5670
Fax: 207-859-5635
Email: jmbeniss@colby.edu

Mailing Address

5670 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, Maine 04901-8856

Education

B.M., Institut des Sciences Commerciales, 1979

Areas of Expertise

  • Master drummer of Ewe people of West Africa
  • Renowned for complex cross-rhythms
  • Ashanti and Ga music

Professional Information

Jordan Messan Benissan, a native of Togo, West Africa, received a B.A. from the Institut des Sciences Commerciales in Lome, Togo. A member of the Ewe people, he was introduced to music and dance at an early age through ceremonies and rituals. He received his traditional music training from several West African master drummers. He has taught and performed for all levels, from elementary school through college level. His first CD, Drumming Through the Spirit of my Ancestors, has been widely distributed and was adopted by the Hennepin County Library (Minneapolis) as a teaching resource. Some of his performances include an opening show for the West African Drummer Babatunde Olatunji, a performance for the national NAACP Conference and performances for Mayo Clinic’s Multicultural Program.  His World Music Band was featured as the official band for Béla Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart concert in Waterville, Maine.

CDs:

  • Let Me Play My Music, 2004
  • Beautiful Music from West Africa, 2003
  • Fame Without Fortune, 2006

Press:

  • He was recently featured in Highlight Magazine for children, September 2004; their website featured three of his songs from “Beautiful Music from West Africa”
  • His song “Let Me Play My Music” was selected by NPR to be featured on their online radio program, All Songs Considered, September 2004
  • Phoenix Magazine selected his CD “Beautiful Music from West Africa” as best world music album, May 2004

Courses Currently Teaching 2013-2014

MU093 F Applied Music: Ensemble, Noncredit (African Drumming)
MU193 F Applied Music: Ensemble, Credit (African Drumming)