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Kristofer Olsen
Ohio University


KristKristofer Olsenofer Olsen is a first-year PhD student at Ohio University in the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts studying African Arts and Music, supported by a FLAS Fellowship under which he is studying Twi. Originally from Havre, Montana, he received his BA in Music Education and Mathematics Education from St. Olaf College, where he studied in South Africa, and his MM in Percussion Performance from West Virginia University where he focused on world music.  Prior to coming to Ohio University, he was a band director in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, where he formed and led the Pandemonium! Steel Orchestra to performances from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Virginia Beach, Virginia.  His research interests include both performance and education of West African drum & dance and steel pan and he is currently a member of Azaguno, a multi-ethnic performance ensemble based in Athens, Ohio, and led by Dr. Paschal Yao Younge and Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge.


Akon as a transnational agent for the 2010 World Cup

In May 2009, the Senegalese-American R&B/hiphop artist Akon announced to the media that he had been hired as the official music coordinator of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, where he will produce the official song and oversee all official music. Although the official theme of the tournament will not be released until April or May, recent communication with the Lukas Troxler from FIFA’s Marketing Division revealed that Akon is, in fact, not affiliated with FIFA after all.  He has produced the theme song for Pepsi’s World Cup campaign, Oh Africa, with Keri Hilson and the Soweto Gospel Choir.  When South Africa was announced as the host for the 2010 World Cup, it was touted as a major milestone for the world's most popular sport as it would be the first World Cup hosted on African soil. The host country itself maintains a vibrant music scene, yet Pepsi chose an American artist to be its musical representative.  This paper will focus on Akon’s years growing up in Senegal and New Jersey, his rise to fame and his work in Africa like the Konfidence Foundation, a charity for underprivileged children, his diamond mine in South Africa, and how his life on two continents has helped to shape his role as a multinational artist. Ultimately, the World Cup is more than a sporting event and the decision to hire Akon as the voice of Pepsi’s role in the event can be seen as an attempt to connect sport with culture as each participating country will add its individual musical voice to the transnational musical voice of Akon.

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