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Faith Conant

Director, VOLTA West African Music Ensemble conant

Faith Conant conducted ethnomusicology research in Togo, West Africa, where she studied the musical poetry of  Adjogbo as a Fulbright scholar with master drummer Gadji Folly and performed with the Adjogbo Habobo of the Adjigo of Lomé. She learned, performed and taught Ewe music and dance in the Boston-based Agbekor Society led by Dr. David Locke for over twenty years.

In addition to her work with her main teachers Dr. David Locke, Gadji Folly, and Nani Agbeli, Ms. Conant studied with Abraham Adzenyah, Professor Torgbui Gideon Foli Alorwoyie, and the late Godwin Agbeli. Since she began teaching more than a decade ago, she has collaborated with renowned musicians including Nani Agbeli, Saeed Abbas, the late Nii Yartey, Elikem Nyamuame, Kwabena Boateng, Francis Akotuah, and the Gnonlonfoun musical family to create student ensemble concerts in university settings.

Ms. Conant is interested in intersections of music and language. In addition to an M.A. in Ethnomusicology from Tufts University, she has a B.A. in Classics (Latin and Greek) from Wesleyan University, has worked as an interpreter in Haitian Creole, and has taught both music and language classes in Italian. She is especially interested in the Gbe languages of Ghana, Togo, and Benin. She has given talks on  vugbe (drum language) and Fon and French  Adjogbo poetry at Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts, and in Europe.

Ms. Conant has led ensemble courses at Stanford University, Brandeis University and continues to lead the Five College West African Music Ensemble based at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA, where she has taught for over a decade. She has been invited as a guest instructor at New England Conservatory, Berklee School of Music, and the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence, Italy. In addition to work with public school students and music teachers, she has conducted African music workshops with students at summer chamber music camps including Strings at Smith, Point Counterpoint, and Greenwood Summer Music Camp.  Recently she co-taught a course and performed with Nani Agbeli at the Bang on A Can music festival in North Adams, MA. She has performed for the last several years with the Nocal Ghana All-Stars in Vieques, Puerto Rico and Nevada City, CA.

In her previous work in education research, Conant co-authored a much-cited paper proposing guiding principles for fostering productive disciplinary engagement in classroom settings (Cognition and Instruction, Vol. 20, No. 4 (2002), pp. 399-483).

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