The Most Rev. Prof. Peter Sarpong has said the performing arts are relevant to national development. He made this statement while delivering the Ephraim Amu Memorial Lecture organised by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in Accra on the topic “The Performing Arts, Morality and the Ghanaian Identity”. The event happened on Thursday, May 19th, 2022.
He emphasized the importance of different types of music in Ghana, what morality means in Ghana, how music is used to convey various messages, the instruments used, and the role Ephraim Amu played in developing music and the performing arts.
Most Rev. Prof. Peter Sarpong said, “The significance of music can mostly be found in the instrument that is used.” He took the time to show the attendees some traditional instruments and their uses. Together with his choir, he went further to describe some of the songs sung at various events.
He went further to say that in a world of crude individualism, a world of arrogance, greed, avarice, and selfishness, we need the performing arts constantly to remind us that the Ghanaian is by nature gentle, hospitable, friendly, forgiving, compassionate, self-respecting, and welcoming. He added that we need the performing arts to drill into our skulls the powerful message that life is not banal but full of meaning, albeit sometimes cryptic.
The Most Rev. Prof. Peter Sarpong described Ephraim Amu as an extraordinary human being who would not condemn any idea or refuse to utilise any object merely because it was African. He said as a composer, Ephraim Amu gave Ghana some of the most loved tunes and lyrics in our native languages, including some which have played a major and abiding role in the life and ethos of the nation.
He concluded by saying that the message Ephraim Amu sent to his fellow citizens in his great piece of didactic poetry “Asem yi di ka” was that the welfare of society and the greatness of the nation depend equally on the conduct and exertions of individual citizens; and that no citizen, regardless of his or her official or social status, can legitimately pass that responsibility to others or assume that his or her conduct and way of life are unimportant to the destiny of the nation.
The chairman for the lecture was Prof. Kofi Opoku Nti, Vice President of the Arts Session of the Academy. In his closing remarks, he thanked the Most Rev. Prof. Peter Sarpong for his in-depth and interactive presentation. He stressed the need to preserve and promote our traditional music and arts as a great tool for development.
Present the at the lecture were Fellows of the Academy, students from Accra Academy, Accra Technical Training school, Presec Legon, St. Paul’s Catholic Seminary, National Cathedral Seminary, and Don Bosco Institute, and featured traditional music performed by the Archbishop’s musico cultural liturgical troupe at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica, Kumasi Archdiocese.