Minstrel Choir - Vienna is but one of the most natural acts
of African communities in the Diaspora: to organize, study, promote
and preserve their cultural heritage in a foreign environment which
is always ready to deny their specific identity and to make irrelevant
their most basic human needs.
Ghanaian community in Vienna, though not extremely large, is
definitely one of the most active foreign groups in Vienna that
is well-known for its activities in the area of culture and the
various events organized by the Union of Ghanaian Nationals in Austria,
such as the Ghana Cultural Day, the Republican Day Celebration or
the Independence Day Celebration form an essential part of cultural
life in Vienna - at least among the foreigners. The Ghana Minstrel
Choir - Vienna is an integral part of these events.
and dances constitute indispensable elements in African cultural
life and reflect the dynamics of the African society. There are
songs for war, recreation, festivals or other ceremonies, work songs,
fertility songs, harvest songs, historical songs that tell the history
of kings and courts, a function typically performed by griots in
some West African Societies, with an accompanying balafon or kora.
to the songs of the Ghana Minstrel Choir - Vienna may remind
some of the better known American Gospel Singers, especially by
the call and response patterns of some of the songs. But one must
not lose the historical perspective and misunderstand the African
contribution to world culture: these traditions which have been
popularized by the African-Americans are basically African traditions
which have been brought to the Americas by Africans transported
there during the nefarious and wicked slave trade. They are not
America's gift to Africa!
Short History of the Ghana Minstrel Choir - Vienna
The idea of a Ghana Minstrel Choir - Vienna, was born on
31 December 1992 when a few persons, Joe and Akossiwa Taylor, Jeanette
Owusu, Sam Yeboah, Margareth Yeboah, Mary Nuwordu and Evelyne Oduro-Kwanteng
started singing that night "Afe ako apro" and "Afehyapa
ato hen bio!" to say farewell to the passing year and welcome
to the new year.
persons at Joe Taylor's house on that evening were so happy
with the singing that they decided, with the support of other Ghanaians
contacted later, to form a choir, which was eventually named the
Ghana Minstrel Choir - Vienna.
first rehearsal of the choir took place on 13 February 1993
at the "Pfarrgemeinde Ottakring" in order to rehearse
for the Ghana Independence Day celebration of the Union of Ghanaian
Nationals in Austria, on 6 March 1993 in the Audimax of the Technical
choir also performed during the Ghana Cultural Day in November 1993
and during the Republic Day Celebration in July 1994 in Vienna.
the increasing popularity of the choir, invitations have come
from outside the Ghanaian community. For example, the choir was
invited to sing in a Catholic church in St. Corona during a celebration.
It has often sung in churches although it is by no means a religious
choir. The choir has sung on different occasions at weddings, outdooring
ceremonies, baptism and thanksgiving services. It sings both traditional
songs and popular songs from Ghana. Coming from a multinational
country, the songs of Ghana reflect the various cultural and linguistic
groups that exist in the country. Most of the songs are composed
by members of the choir.
The officers of the choir at the moment are:
President: Godwin Nuwordu
Secretary: Evelyn Oduro Kwateng
Organizing Sec: Joseph Akumasi
Treasurer: Jeanette Owusu
Choir Master: Kojo Taylor
Asst. Choir Master: James Cobbina
Committee: Stephen Opoku Takyi, Nana Apraku Oppong,
The Ghana Minstrel Choir - Vienna was formally inaugurated on 22
March 1997 on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of Ghana's Independence
Day celebrated by the Union of Ghanaian Nationals in Austria in
the Palais Eschenbach, Vienna.