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Maxwell Kofi Donkor

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Sussex County Community College will present Master Drummer, Maxwell Kofi Donkor is an award-winning sculptor and educator, but it is drumming that inspires him. He often says that he benefits from drumming more than his students do. “Drumming is part of me. I love it. I leave strengthened by the spirit of the drum.”

He became a master drummer before he graduated from the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, where his studies focused on his nation’s culture, sculpture, rural art and industry. His educational study, combined with his life-long exposure to the music and culture of his Asante village, gave him a uniquely comprehensive grasp of traditional African daily life.

Donkor’s music creates an atmosphere of an indigenous African village, where everyone gets involved. It celebrates daily life, marriage, initiation, birth of a baby, first sprouts of corn, harvest, the community welcoming of guests, even death. His songs and rhythms are truly indigenous, passed on from generation to generation in an unwritten form. He did not study them. He grew up with them and they have become part of him. Donkor first learned the skills essential to a drummer at his grandfather’s knee, in his native village, Otumi, located in Ghana.

As a teenager Donkor was commissioned like many Ghanaian youths, to carry on the traditions of his ancestors and performed for a number of years with the Folklore Ensemble of Ghana. He has been drumming and performing for over 30 years now, and has played with such nationally known drummers as Babatunde Olatunji, and his Drums of Passion, Mickey Hart, Sikiru and Camara.