J.H. Kwabena Nketia

June 22, 1921 – March 13, 2019

Modern Period

Born in Ghana

During his lifetime, musicologist and composer J.H. Kwabena Nketia was the most published and best known expert on African music. He wrote more than 80 compositions and 200 publications, including the book, The Music of Africa, which was translated into German, Italian, Chinese and Japanese.

At age 23, with a scholarship from the government of Ghana, Nketia studied in London. He also studied in the United States before returning to Ghana to become a professor of music at the University of Ghana in Legon.

He was a leader in African musical traditions and composed for both African, as well as Western instruments. His work with African folk sings was revolutionary and set the standard for researchers around the world.