Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia

J. H. Kwabena Nketia

Joseph Hanson Kwabena Nketia (b. Mampong, Sekyere West District, Ashanti Region, Ghana, June 22, 1921) is a Ghanaian ethnomusicologist and composer.

He studied at the University of London from 1944 to 1949, beginning with two years of study in linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies. In 1949 he began three years' study at Birkbeck College, University of London, and Trinity College of Music, London, obtaining a B.A. degree. In 1958 a Rockefeller Fellowship allowed him to come to the United States, where he attended Columbia University (studying with Henry Cowell), the Juilliard School, and Northwestern University, studying musicology and composition. He is an emeritus professor of music at the University of Ghana, where he began teaching in 1952. He currently directs the International Centre for African Music and Dance (ICAMD).

He has composed for both Western and African instruments.


  • 1974 - The Music of Africa. W. W. Norton. ISBN 0393021777. ISBN 9780393021776.
  • 2004 - African Art Music/The Creative Potential of African Art Music in Ghana. Companion booklet to ICAMD CD recordings (ICAMD - DMVI - ICAMD - DMV4). Accra: Afram Publications (Ghana) Ltd.


  • Akrofi, Eric A. (2003). Sharing Knowledge and Experience: A Profile of Kwabena Nketia. Accra: Afram Publications. ISBN 9789964703424.

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