African Piano

William Chapman Nyaho
Piano Music by Composers of African Descent


Joshua Uzoigwe (NIGERIA) (1946-)

Talking Drums
1 Ukom (6:49)
2 Ilulu (2:45)
3 Egwu Amala (5:22)

Oswald Russell (JAMAICA) (1939-)

Three Jamaican Dances
4 No. 1 (1:02)
5 No. 2 (2:27)
6 No. 3 (1:56)

Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson (USA) (1932-)

7 Scherzo (9:42)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (ENGLAND) (1875-1912)

8 Deep River (6:20)
from 24 Negro Melodies Op. 59 no. 10

Margaret Bonds (USA) (1913-1972)

9 Troubled Water (4:52)

Gamal Abdel-Rahim (EGYPT) (1924-1988)

10 Variations on
an Egyptian Folksong (6:21)

Robert Nathaniel Dett (USA) (1882-1943)

"In The Bottoms" Suite
11 Prelude: Night (4:25)
12 His Song (3:02)
13 Honey: Humoresque (1:29)
14 Barcarolle: Morning (5:00)
Sample (1:03)
15 Dance: Juba (2:16)

Gyimah Labi (GHANA) (1950-)
16 Earthbeats Op. 22 (9:29)
From Six Dialects in African Pianism
Senku: a Fanti (Ghana) term for a keyboard instrument

Piano Music by Composers of African Descent is extremely varied. The composers show an influence of both African and Western cultures. The African elements may manifest themselves on a melodic, harmonic and rhythmic level, whereas the structure of the work may be more easily identified as Western. On the other hand, composers may use 20th century Western compositional techniques with the general musical aesthetic being African. The melodic, harmonic and percussive qualities of the piano make it the perfect vehicle for the expression of this inter-cultural music.
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William H. Chapman Nyaho, a Ghanaian American, graduated from Achimota School, Ghana. He received his degrees from St. Peter's College, Oxford University (UK), the Eastman School and the University of Texas, Austin and at the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève. Following a four-year residency as a North
Carolina Visiting Artist, Chapman Nyaho taught at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was the recipient of the 1998 University of Southwestern Louisiana Distinguished Professor Award and the 1998 Acadiana Arts Council Distinguished Artist Award, and held the Heymann Endowed Professorship.

Chapman Nyaho's performing experience includes recitals in Africa, Europe, North America and the Caribbean. He has performed as soloist with orchestras across the southern United States. Among his engagements, which include performing chamber music, Nyaho performs regularly as duo pianist with the
Nyaho/Garcia Duo which has released a compact disc titled "Aaron Copland: Music For Two Pianos". Chapman Nyaho has been featured on radio and television broadcasts in Ghana, Switzerland, and US National Public Radio. He developed and hosted The Bach Show for KRVS radio in Louisiana.

Chapman Nyaho is presently an independent scholar, teacher and concert pianist residing in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. He is a regular guest clinician at colleges and universities giving lecture-recitals and holding workshops advocating music by composers of the African Diaspora. He also serves as adjudicator for national and international piano competitions. 

Every now and then a recording comes along that is as important as it is unique.

This is such a recording.

I approached this CD with a desire to explore a back road of art music, in the hopes that I might find a hidden gem of inspiration, or even a piece to perform myself (I am also a pianist). What I found instead was a superhighway of talent and creativity that has somehow remained overlooked by the "mainstream" art music world.

Pianist Nyaho Chapman presents us with an astonishing variety of compositions, ranging from the more conservative "In The Bottoms Suite" of Robert Nathaniel Dett or Margaret Bond's Troubled Water, to the more abstract "Talking Drums" of Joshua Uzoigwe or Earthbeats of Gyimah Labi. Mr. Chapman's performance of Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson's Scherzo surely proves him as one of the more brilliant pianists on the circuit. The piece is as relentless as it is physically demanding. And, like the other works on this disk, it is recorded with clarity and precision.

I highly recommend this CD to anyone wishing to enrich their musical life.

By Bradley Bolen

1 comment:

kokolo said...

Wow, thank you Miguel!