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Dancing Hands, Drumming Feet and Soaring Spirit
MRIC 2014/15

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Dancing Hands, Drumming Feet and Soaring Spirit

Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015
12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
Whitewater Room, Idaho Commons

Barry Bilderback

Lionel Hampton School of Music

Samantha Ramsay

School of Family and Consumer Sciences


Dancing Hands, Drumming Feet, and Soaring Spirits is an overview of the spiritual, cultural, and agricultural practices found during the Ghanaian Ga Homowo (Hooting at Hunger) tradition. This seasonal festival, centered on grains (especially millet) celebrates ancestral history, matriarchal roles, and sustenance. Another theme that defines the festival is the celebration of life for those remaining to experience the festival for yet another year.


Barry Bilderbackis an associate professor of music history and ethnomusicology. Since 2007, he has led seven groups to Ghana. Through the USAC program, he taught at the University of Ghana in 2010. He has published peer-reviewed articles about Ghanaian music and culture. His most recent article, “Saving the Music: Tradition, Institution, and Copyright in 21st Century Ghana,” was published in em>Making Connections: The Journal of Interdisciplinary Approaches to Cultural Diversity.

Samantha Ramsay is an assistant professor of foods and nutrition. Her research expertise is child feeding and child nutrition, particularly from birth to age 8. She studies children’s eating behaviors, parental feeding practices, children’s nutrient needs, and children’s development of food preferences. For the past two years, she has been studying food and mealtime environments as well as the feeding practices of young children across the world. She joined Dr. Bilderback in Africa in June 2014.

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