Drums Talk in Varner’s Festival of Ideas Event

Dr. Michael Varner (Music)
Dr. Michael Varner (Music)

The rarely heard Nigerian Talking Drum, or “dundun,” will be the focal point of a new lecture and recital Thursday, Sept. 26, in Irons Recital Hall.

Led by Associate Professor Michael Varner, the free recital will begin at 7:30 p.m. It is a Festival of Ideas Global Research Institute event and sponsored by the Department of Music and the College of Liberal Arts.

The dundun has long fascinated musicians around the world, Varner said. The drum is used to mimic words and sounds from the Yoruba language. Varner said he was intrigued by the instrument after travelling to Nigeria and studied the drum’s history and cultural impact.

“The Yoruba believe that you cannot talk fully about their culture without speaking about the talking drum because it is a source of history, poetry, proverbs and daily life,” he said.

The recital, “Skin That Speaks,” will feature an original composition by Varner for talking drum and bassoon. Assistant Professor Scott Pool will perform on bassoon. The two will be accompanied by students from the World Music Ensemble.

Varner also regularly teaches a course that explores African music and Brazilian samba.

The Festival of ideas Global Research Institute began in 2005 through a donation by UT Arlington alumnus Mustaque Ahmed (’81). Each year, the institute supports six events for the university and Arlington communities on a variety of liberal arts topics. To learn more, visit: http://www.uta.edu/libarts/festivalofideas.html.

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