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Dr. Paschal Yao Younge

Athens Musician, Composer, and Professor Paschal Yao Younge Awarded 2020 Ohio Heritage Fellowship

Dr. Paschal Yao Younge received the 2020 Ohio Heritage  Fellowship Award for Performing Arts. Photo Credit: Neketa Forde.Dr. Paschal Yao Younge, a master artist specializing in African Traditional Musical Arts, has been awarded the 2020 Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award for Performing Arts from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC).

Ohio Heritage Fellowships are awarded in recognition of the significant impact an individual or group has had on the people and communities of the state through their advancement and preservation of the folk or traditional arts. The award, which is $5,000, is given in one of three categories: Performing Arts, Material Culture, or Community Leadership.
Younge is a professor of music education at Ohio University, where he also serves as director of the annual International Summer Program in African Interdisciplinary Arts and co-artistic director of the African Ensemble. A musician, composer, scholar, and author, Younge is a specialist in African choral and brass music and a clinician in sub-Saharan African musical arts. His research focuses on topics such as intercultural and multicultural music education and fine arts curricula, creative performance issues and practices in music and dance, and world percussion. Younge also directs Azaguno, an Ohio-based performance group focusing on the “research, preservation, and performance of African, African-American, Caribbean, and Latin American music and dance,” according to its website.


Video courtesy of Azaguno on YouTube
Through Azaguno, as well as his career as a solo artist and teacher, Younge has performed and taught traditional African Musical Arts throughout Ohio and abroad. As part of this work, Younge has created opportunities for children, university students, academics, and professional artists to engage, study, and perform African music.
Younge said he is “delighted and humbled” to be selected for the 2020 Ohio Heritage Fellowship Award.
"My heritage and identity are intricately tied to Ghanaian (African) history, culture, and the arts, which I have been performing and promoting from an early age of 8,” Younge said. “I am forever thankful to the Ohio Heritage Fellowship Committee and the Ohio Arts Council’s board for this prestigious honor. What a privilege to be joining the exclusive group of past awardees. A country, a state, a town, or a village without a conscious mechanism put in place to promote the arts is undoubtedly a society without a soul."
Rising to the level of traditional master artist through years of study and practice, Younge acquired the skill, techniques, and knowledge of traditional African Musical Arts and Culture from the Republic of Ghana and in other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Throughout his career, he has worked closely with nearly 100 traditional masters and performance groups and has presented and performed in more than 16 countries.

Video courtesy of TEDx Talks on YouTube

The Ohio Heritage Fellowship program supports artists who are not only masters of their chosen art form, but who also contribute to the public visibility of the folk and traditional arts in Ohio as practitioners, mentors, or community leaders.
OAC Executive Director Donna S. Collins said Younge routinely occupies all three of these roles at once.
“Paschal’s passion for his life’s work is evident in his performances and compositions, as well as his experience as an educator,” she said. “The devotion with which he approaches his art and research inspires others to deepen their awareness of the artistic and cultural traditions that flourish throughout Ohio. The OAC is pleased to present Dr. Younge with this award in honor of his continued exemplary accomplishments.”
To learn more about the Ohio Heritage Fellowship program and Ohio folk and traditional arts, visit
The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook
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Article by Amanda Etchison, Communications Strategist
Featured Image Photo Credit: Kelly O'Quinn

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