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Diasporian News of Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Source: Ohio University

OHIO professor Younge awarded 2020 Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award

Dr. Paschal Yao Younge Dr. Paschal Yao Younge

Dr. Paschal Yao Younge has been awarded the 2020 Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award for Performing Arts from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC).

According to the Ohio Arts Council, the Ohio Heritage Fellowships are awarded to recognize an individual or group for the significant impact they have on Ohio’s people and communities, through advancement and preservation of folk or traditional arts. Younge, professor of music education, was awarded $5,000 with the recognition.

“Dr. Younge’s legacy as a master musician, educator, and performer is world-renowned and his performances move audiences far and wide. Through artists like Dr. Younge, who are committed to and passionate about bringing cultural awareness to the public space, we see that the arts live in and through us every day,” said College of Fine Arts Dean Matthew Shaftel.

“The College of Fine Arts at Ohio University celebrates this honor given to Dr. Younge. It’s so well-deserved.”

Younge is a multi-talented artist and has been performing since he was a young boy.

“When I was growing up, I realized that music is life. You celebrate life in the arts – everything you do is artistic celebration,” he said. “In Ghana, we use arts to celebrate everything. You cannot separate art forms. Music is dance, dance is music – those all come together in everything that I do.”

Younge focuses on styles from Africa and The Africa Diaspora in his work of being a musician, scholar, composer, author and performer. He is also the director of the annual International Summer Program in African Interdisciplinary Arts and co-artistic director of the African Ensemble at OHIO.

“This is a wonderful honor for Dr. Younge that recognizes his hard work,” OHIO President Dr. M. Duane Nellis said. “The arts bring people together, and I am very proud of his research and contributions to the performing arts not just here at Ohio University but across the state, nation and world.”

Throughout his life, Younge has studied and taught various western musical instruments as well as various traditional Ghanaian musical types and instruments.

He brings that knowledge of traditional African musical arts and culture from the Republic of Ghana and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa to OHIO, where he also offers expertise in teaching and coordinating in intercultural, interdisciplinary and multicultural music and performance.

He also has various research topics, including intercultural and multicultural music education and curricula issues, music and dance performance practices, creative performance issues and world percussion music.

“My understanding of music is that for you to appreciate it, you can’t separate art forms into dance, art, music, so on. You have to view the whole performance as a whole composition,” Younge said.

Younge also directs an Ohio-based performance group, Azaguno, that focuses on researching, preserving and educating people about the performance of traditional African American, Caribbean and Latin American music and dance, according to its website.

Internationally renowned for his specialties, Younge has performed and presented at multiple festivals, concerts and conferences in over 45 states and 25 countries, and has worked with countless artists.

Recently, Younge was also involved in a project that was selected in the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program. The funds for that project will help Younge and his colleagues travel to Ghana and research African children’s games and how they stimulate creativity and musicality.

The project is currently on pause due to the pandemic, but Younge looks forward to helping teachers utilize these games in their music curriculum.

Younge was nominated for the 2020 Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award by his wife, Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge, professor of dance. She nominated him in order to recognize all the artistic work he does around the world and in Ohio. It was a surprise to Younge, but he was overjoyed when learning he received the award.

“I was shocked, [but also] very happy and very thankful,” Younge said. “The support here for diversity, arts, global arts [has been] a great opportunity for me. I’m thankful for Ohio University providing that environment that allowed me to win this award.”

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