Talk:Ephraim Amu

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Long time ago someone sent me an English version of this same article. I'm pasting it here for reference; as it is not my work (and unsourced), I am not going to post it at the English Wikipedia. It's interesting that the Ewe and English versions at some points deviate quite much. — mark 11:08, 12 Adeɛmekpɔxe 2007 (UTC)Reply[donu]

Ephraim Amu (13 September1899 - 1995) was a Ghanaian composer, musicologist and teacher.

A male child was born on Wednesday 13 September, 1899 at Peki-Avetile also called Abenase in the Peki traditional area of the Volta Region . As a Ghanaian born on Wednesday, he was called Kɔku. His father was Stephen Amuyaa, a wood carver and popularly called Papa Stefano. His mother was Sarah Akoram Ama. Ephraim Kɔku Amu was baptised by the Rev. Rudolf Mallet on 22nd October, 1899. Kɔku Ephraim went to school in May 1906. At about age 12, Tata Amu enterred the Peki-Blengo E.P. Boarding Middle School. Kɔku Ephraim showed much interest and love for music and agriculture. According to him, he enjoyed the music teacher, Mr Karl Ntem's music during church collections when he plays soul moving renditions on the organ. Amu and his music teacher Karl Ntem struck a mutual agreement. Ephraim Amu requested to be taught the skills of organ playing and in return Mr Karl Theodore Ntem asked Amu to work on his farm on Saturdays. In 1915, amu passed the standard 7 school leaving certificate examination and also passed the Abetifi teachers Seminary Examination. In 1916 amu and two other colleagues had to walk 150 miles from Peki to Abetifi with their boxes on their heads to start teacher training education. Along their journey, Amu and his colleagues had to rest at several points including Koforidua, Nkawkaw, Asubone and Obomen. Amu joined other 25 newcomers at the college. While at the college, amu realised that some of the students including his classmates owned steel bicyces so he set himself the task to build his own bicycle from wood. He carved this from a wood slab in the bush near the college. Students who discovered his handiwork brought it into the open and named it Amu. It is on record that even the son of the Swiss Principal, Stern, enjoyed many rides on the Amu wooden cycle. Amu also used his ingenuity and creativity to carve wooden balls for the school games. These repalced the imported balls used at the time at the seminary. Amu completed his four-year teacher-catechist training in 1919. Newly graduating teacher-catechist Ephraim Amu was one of the two preachers selected to mount the pulpit on behalf of their fellow mates as was customary to preach and to express their appreciation to their tutors and townsfolk. The sermon also served as an assessment of the quality of theological training offered and learnt by the students. Amu chose the sermon text from Matthew 25:40 on this occasion. Amu's theme was “ the Lord will thank you for all the good you have done for his little ones”. Amu used both Twi and Ewe in his short sermon. By the time Amu completed his training, motor vehicles were more common so he could travel from Abetifi to Osino and travel by train to Koforidua then took a motor vehicle to Frankadua. He made the remaining journey on foot from Frankadua to Peki, a distance of 18 miles. From 1st January, 1920 Amu started work as a teacher at Peki-Blengo E.P. Middle Boarding School . On taking his appointment, Mr Amu taught songs and was keen on making his pupils able to read music well. He went to Koforidua to buy a five octave Henry Riley folding organ for the school. He faced the problem of carrying the organ to Peki. After succesfully reaching Frankadua by a motor vehicle, he had to carry the organ on his head and walk the distance all-night and arrived at Peki the following morning. Eager to master his skilss in music, Amu took music lessons with Rev. Allotey-Pappoe who was a Methodist Minister stationed at Peki Avetile.

Amu composed several musical pieces. Some of these are: i. Fare thee well ii. Mawɔ dɔ na Yesu iii. Nkwagye Dwom iv. Dwonto v.Yetu Osa vi. Israel Hene vii. Onipa da wo ho so viii. Yaanom Abibirimma ix. Yen Ara Asase Ni

Of these, Yen ara Asase Ni has become a nationally acclaimed patriotic song performed at national functions. From 1926 Ephraim Kɔku Amu was transferred on promotion to Presbyterian Mission Seminary at Akropong on the recommendation of the Synod Committee of the Eʋe Presbyteria Hame . At Akropong, Amu was seen in his actions and ideas as unorthodox. As a tutor in charge of gardening he requested students to use night soil to manure the college farm. The students found this unpleasant since it was a taboo for an educated man to carry human excreta. To prove that example was better than precept he would carry the excreta to the college farm himself ahead of the unwilling students. Dr. Ephraim Amu employed no one to sweep his rooms, wash his plates or run errands for him. No manual work was too menial or hard for him. He believed in using African cultural artefacts and good African technological and social inventions. Dr, Amu preferred the title Owura to 'mister' as a prefix to his name . Dr Kɔku Ephraim Amu selected Twi African names for the four new college dormitories which were completed in 1929. Upon request from Mr Ferguson, the Principal of Akropong Training college, Dr Amu came out with a solfa and notation of the street song “Yaa Amponsa” set to his own chaste words. His students enjoyed the new song, melody and the new words. 'The street ballard Yaa Amponsa had new clothes ' and was popular with great appeal and appreciation.

Dr Amu learnt to speak correct Akuapem Twi from members of his singing band. The Akropong Church singing Band specialised in Amu's type of African music during the period he led and taught the group. In 1927, inspired by the contents of the WASU magazine, Amu decided that he would wear African dress with pride. Amu decided not to wear warm unsuitable European clothes in tropical Africa. Amu made efforts to make christian church worship more meaningful to African worshipers who were ashamed of their African clothing, language, music and even their African names. Amu as part of his ingenuity and creativity introduced bamboo lutes- odurogyaba, odurogya and atɛtɛnbɛn. In 1965 Ephraim Kɔku Amu was awarded the honorary doctorate degree. In 1931 after Amu preached wearing his African attire on Sunday, he was summoned to appear before the church court. The Rev. Peter Hall told Amu, ' we were taken aback to see you conduct Sunday service in a native cloth. We hope you will not do this again.' Amu therefore in his polite manner took leave of the church session but decided in his heart to continue to work in the church as a catechist and music teacher rather than to become a minister of the Gospel to accept wearing unsuitable European dress. In June 1942, Dr Amu married Beatrice Yao . Dr Amu presented a wooden box made of the finest wood instead of an imported steel trunk to his bride. Dr Amu married at the ripe age of 43 on 3rd September, 1942. On Saturday, 27 March, 1965 the University of Ghana conferred the degree of Doctor of Music on Ephraim Kɔku Amu at the University of Ghana, Legon.