Dr. Paschal Yao Younge is an internationally known performer, teacher, scholar, and tradition bearer of African traditional musical arts. His musical education began at the age of 3, when his mother, the leader of a music and dance group in Dzodze, Ghana, began involving him in all aspects of traditional musical culture. His father was a renowned local master in choral and organ music and a leader in Africanizing Ghana’s Catholic church. Younge’s childhood home was filled with instruments used in traditional, popular, and contemporary African music. By the age of 8 he had learned to play them all, and he began accompanying local church choirs and participating in traditional cultural groups.

Younge pursued music education, research, and performance at the National Academy of Music and the University of Ghana. He then moved to the United States to serve as the director of the World Music Center at West Virginia University, where he received his doctorate. In 2005 Dr. Younge joined the faculty of Ohio University as a professor of music education. There he serves as director of the International Summer Program in African Interdisciplinary Arts and as the co-artistic director of the African Ensemble with his wife, Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge. He also directs Azaguno, an Ohio-based performance group focusing on African, African-American, Caribbean, and Latin American music and dance.

Through a career spanning six decades, Dr. Younge has worked closely with nearly 100 traditional masters and performance groups to develop and share knowledge around sub-Saharan African music and dance traditions. He teaches African traditional arts to students of all cultural backgrounds by maintaining a strong focus on practicing, learning, and embracing traditional aesthetics—from instruments and attire to performance and language. Dr. Younge is the author of Music and Dance Traditions of Ghana: History, Performance, and Teaching, which incorporates performance concepts, cultural perspectives, teaching methods, and curriculum development for 22 performance traditions from Ghana’s four main ethnic groups.

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