World Music at Kent State

The music of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Beyond.

The World Music Ensembles are a vital and integral part of the Glauser School's academic and performance programs. Each ensemble provides extensive opportunities to explore new music and dance forms as well as experience different cultures on the Kent Campus. They are open to all students regardless of music experience or skill.

About the African Ensemble

The Kent State University African Ensemble was created in the 1980s by University Professor Halim El-Dabh. The repertoire of the African Ensemble includes traditional and modern drumming, dancing, and singing from various cultural groups in Africa and its diaspora.

The group’s 1998 album, "Mchanganyiko wa Muziki wa ki Afrika" (Medley of African Music) includes traditional instrumental pieces from several countries in Africa, a capella music, multilingual songs, and urban pieces using guitar, trumpet, double bass, flute, and saxophone.


Opportunities are given to both undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of major or musical background.


The African Ensemble has performed for events on campus such as the KSU Folk Festival, Festival of Nations, African Night, May 4 Memorial Celebration, Fall for the Arts and the Kent State University African Studies Program Conference. The Ensemble has also performed for events off campus including the Chicago Festival of African Arts, Ohio Music Education Association conference, and the International Society for Music Education conference in Glasgow, Scotland. 


Dr. Janine Tiffe | 330-672-4545




About the Thai Ensemble

Founded by Terry E. Miller, Ph.D., in 1978, the Kent State Thai Ensemble is one of the few Thai ensembles present in the American academic system.


Opportunities are given to both undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of major or musical background, for the study of traditional Thai music.

No audition required.


This ensemble focuses on piphat music, a classical Thai genre that incorporates xylophones, gong circles, quadruple-reed oboes, and various types of percussion; other traditional Thai genres are offered to students interested in further study of Thai musical culture.


Students in Thai Ensemble perform in Kent State's World Music Concert organized by the Ethnomusicology program each semester, as well as other concerts on and off campus.


Dr. Priwan Nanongkham

About the Caribbean Steelband

In the mid-1990s, steelpans were purchased by percussion professor Michael Burritt to complement the Kent State University percussion program. From 1995 to 2016, Flash in the Pan was directed by Ted & Tyler Rounds as an accompaniment to the percussion studio’s activities. In 2016 the KSU Steelband became a curricular ensemble and the newest of the Glauser School’s world music ensembles. The band primarily performs on campus, has participated in the Virtual Steelband II project, and works to bring a sense of Caribbean culture to the university community. The repertoire of the steel band includes numerous forms of Trinidadian music and music from the U.S.


  • Open to all students at Kent State University—undergraduate and graduate alike. 
  • No musical background is required to join the ensemble. 


Dr. Janine Tiffe | 330-672-4545