Afro-Eire is an Irish based collective with several years of teaching and performance experience. Originally created by Dublin born percussionist Paul McElhatton out of the need to create an outlet for traditional African drumming and dance in Ireland, the group has since moved towards projects that link African music with political and developmental debate.
Having started studying and performing West African music in 1999 Paul quickly became fascinated by all that the African continent had to offer. He conducted field research on African percussion in Senegal and The Gambia in 2002 and 2005. Subsequently he made trips to Mali and Burkina Faso in 2006 and 2008 to study African harp music and culture.
On returning from Burkina Faso in 2008 Paul launched Afro-Eire as an African performance group and to provide music and cultural education for schools and community groups. Afro-Eire taught and performed at a wide variety of events including several appearances at the Dun Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures and Africa Day.
Also in 2008 Paul commenced a BA in International Relations in DCU where he submitted his final dissertation on the ‘The consolidation of elite power in post-independence Africa – A comparative study of Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire’.
In 2011 he proceeded to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Here he conducted an Msc in African Politics. Whilst covering a broad range of topics he paid particular attention to areas relating to transitional Justice and post conflict reconstruction. He completed his Masters dissertation in September 2012 on the subject of ‘Borderlands as repositories of violence in the post-conflict era – The case of the Mano River Basin (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea).
He has also conducted research on the topics of Identity politics in Cote d’Ivoire; Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration; and the Applicability of International Law in post-conflict justice mechanisms.
The goal of Afro-Eire is to foster a more complex debate in relation to the African continent, one that moves away from the negative stereotypes assigned to the continent and the often simplistic diagnosis and prescriptions allocated.
For more information feel free to contact us.