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From the Archives - Musical heritage and connections

Composers Fela Sowande (left) and William Levi Dawson (right).
Composers Fela Sowande (left) and William Levi Dawson (right).

Two composers — one American and one Nigerian American — explore their African heritage through orchestral music. Each finds connections and expressions that are authentic and artistic. There’s even a Kansas City connection with one of the composers!

Compositions and Recordings

Negro Folk Symphony
by William Levi Dawson
Neeme Järvi and the Detroit Symphony

African Suite
by Fela Sowande
Mario Bernardi and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra

Frank Byrne is the host of From the Archives on 91.9 Classical KC.
Brooke Knoll is the digital audience specialist and afternoon host for Classical KC. You can reach her at