Berklee Names First Africa Scholar

By 
Margot Edwards
October 6, 2008
Victor "Blue" Dogah
Photo by Margot Edwards

Berklee College of Music, the world's leading institution for the study of contemporary music, has named Victor "Blue" Dogah of Ghana the first recipient of a full-ride scholarship to attend the college through the newly instituted Africa Scholars Program. This award, a four-year scholarship covering full tuition and room and board, is the college's first of its kind specifically targeted towards African musicians. 

Blue, a traditional Ewe drummer, was chosen from among more than 65 musicians who auditioned in Accra, Ghana and Durban, South Africa. Berklee recently held audition and interview events in these cities to launch this groundbreaking program, which provides opportunities for African musicians who lack the financial means to study at Berklee. 

Attending Berklee will fulfill Blue's dream of 12 years. "I want to share and expand my passion and love for music through the educational means that Berklee can provide for me," Blue said. "Learning, teaching, and understanding the world of music resides in my heart, and I know that Berklee will open up a limitless love for music." 

Said Damien Bracken, director of admissions, "Victor is a unique talent and a natural-born musician who will have an immediate impact on Berklee's rich musical diversity and enhance the Berklee experience for our entire community. His focus and determination to absorb everything that Berklee can provide made this a compelling choice. We will continue to search worldwide for other Africa Scholarship candidates."

Already considered a master in the Ewe tradition, Blue has a reputation in Accra as an expert in teaching the different music dialects. He is currently studying music theory in preparation to begin attending Berklee in the summer of 2009.

Michael Shaver, assistant director for international/BIN admissions, who interviewed Blue, said, "Blue has been hearing about Berklee and researching it for a long time even though he comes from a very poor area that didn't have running water until a few years ago. He's very interested in rhythm, and wants to learn to play bass so he can combine African and Western instruments in his music."  

Berklee awarded scholarships valued at $1.4 million to a total of 26 musicians who auditioned in Africa, including six full-tuition scholarships to attend Berklee programs.  Victor Dey of Ghana and Albino Mbie of Mozambique were awarded full-tuition scholarships to attend Berklee full-time. Jaydine Baron of South Africa, N'gaza Kouame Marc-Arnaud of Cote d'Ivoire, Enoch Kujem Abassey of Ghana, and Irvine Mukwere of Zimbabwe were awarded full-tuition scholarships to attend Berklee's Five-Week Summer Performance Program.