Ambassador James Victor Gbeho
Ambassador James Victor Gbeho

The Family of Philip Gbeho, the composer of Ghana?s National Anthem have announced that plans are far advanced to launch a foundation in his honor.

Ambassador James Victor Gbeho
Ambassador James Victor Gbeho

The Foundation which will be called the Philip Gbeho Foundation will also immortalise great Ghanaians and other outstanding contributors to Ghanaian and African Traditional Music.
The foundation which will have a secretariat and museum at the hometown of Philip Gbeho, Vodza in the Keta Municipality of the Volta Region will also serve as a learning centre for the youth to acquire practical knowledge and skills in traditional music and arts.
This was made known by Ambassador Victor Gbeho, at a bi-annual Musical Arts Festival held in Vodza recently. In all, four Choral Groups, four cultural troupes and three brass bands participated in the festivals. The first edition was held in 2004 at Dzodze in the Ketu North District.
IMG_20150627_140017Mr. Stephen Ocloo, a nephew of Philip Gbeho and interim Chairman of the Foundation noted that plans were far advanced for the takeoff of the foundation. He said the foundation is duly registered and certified to commence operations.
He therefore appealed to the Keta Municipal Assembly to assist them with a parcel of Land to establish a Foundation Secretariat and Museum to compile and the works of Gbeho and other renowned musicians from the area. The facility will also host annual music and arts festival.
This year?s festival which was christened; ?Augustine-Cather0ine Younge Musical Arts Festival? (ACYMAFEST) was organised by Azaguno Inc., a US based multi-ethnic drumming and dance ensemble. According to the Executive Director of the Ensemble, Professor Pascal Younge, the festival has been instituted to honour illustrious composers and contributors to African traditional music.
Antichrist Musicians
This year?s festival focused on Professor Younge?s father, Augustine Yao Younge and his wife, Philip Gbeho and one Amegashie. Interestingly, all three were cousins and were instrumental in the introduction of traditional music and drumming into Christian worship in the 1930?s amidst stiff opposition.
He recounted how these persons were seen as antichrists then, for their bold initiative saying ?My father and his brothers were seen as antichrists for introducing traditional music into the Catholic Church.? He however emphasised that drumming and dancing has become instrumental in many churches.
Despite their achievements these illustrious men were not being well celebrated, particularly Younge and Gbeho. He said ?My uncle (Philip Gbeho) not being celebrated, but the national anthem is being played every day.?
He added that it is a ?crime and very painful? that Philip Gbeho and his brothers were not being celebrated.
Music and Arts Falling in Ghana?s Education
Prof. Younge also bemoaned the falling standard of music and arts in the country?s educational system. He noted that in the past arts protecting and preserving the culture and traditions of Ghanaians, but that has now been neglected.
He lamented that ?music, arts and culture is dying in Ghana. The arts are now dying in our schools.? He therefore hoped that the Ghana Education Service and other state agencies will do something to reverse the situation.
The Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Dzifa Gomashie and the Keta Municipal Chief Executive, Sylvester Tornyeava commended the Young-Gbeho and allied families for the initiatives. They pledged the support of their two outfits to sustain the festival and the Foundation.
By Kwadwo Duodu

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