Research and Impact

Life and legacy of celebrated African composer, A.K. Younge, chronicled in new book by Paschal Younge

"Revitalization and Africanization of the Catholic Liturgy and Mass in Ghana" delves into the background story of the individual who started a revolution in the Church’s music in Ghana by initially replacing the “Old Latin Hymns” with traditional tunes accompanied by African percussion instruments.

The book recounts the life of Augustine Kwasiga (A.K.) Younge, who in the late 1950s, became concerned about the general Catholic congregations’ aspirations, with many drifting away into other churches because of the non–appealing nature of hymns and other songs performed during Mass. He began to inject more African Culture into Catholic worship in an effort to revitalize the Liturgy and Mass.

As his determination persisted, he found himself at odds with some church elders and musicians, while also finding encouragement by an Apostolic Constitution decree from Rome to fit and blend other non–Latin traditions, cultures, and music into liturgical reforms.

A. K. Younge, a celebrated composer in his own right, forged a legacy few people fully comprehend. When traditional Ghanaian instruments are heard in Catholic churches today, we should consider Master Younge’s pioneering influence.

This summer, Paschal Younge enjoyed a multi-stop book tour through the Greater Accra and Volta regions of Ghana, sharing his late father’s story with colleagues, friends, and communities interested in this celebrated history.


Paschal Younge with his book

A launch of Paschal Younge's book "Augustine Kwasiga Younge: the Pioneer in the Revitalization & Africanization of the Catholic Liturgy and Mass in Ghana," will take place on Oct. 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Multicultural Center on the second floor of Baker University Center, room 219. The event will be hosted by Steve Howard, Ph.D.

Paschal Younge, Ed.D., a specialist in African choral and brass band music, a clinician in other sub-Saharan African musical arts, and world percussion, is a long time advocate of intercultural, interdisciplinary, and multicultural music. Younge with co-director Zelma Badu-Younge, created the annual World Music and Dance Concert at Ohio University, bringing celebrated performing artists and ensembles to the Athens region. In 2019, they expanded the events to become the Global Arts Festival at Ohio University, encompassing all creative arts forms including scholarship and research.

October 4, 2022
Staff reports