The Kent State University African Ensemble was created in the 1980s by University Professor Halim El-Dabh. Upon joining the faculty in 1989, Dr. Kazadi wa Mukuna, Professor of Ethnomusicology, assumed the directorship of the group. 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.