As conveyed in Traditional Drumming and Dances of Ghanadrum rhythms communicate important messages on all occasions: about unity, bravery in war, honoring ancestors and chiefs, and initiation into adulthood, among others. Skip to main content. Music of, by, and for the people. Explore Learn Join Shop. Browse By. Eastern Africa.
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Northeast Asia. Southeast Asia. Southern Asia. Western Asia. Eastern Europe. Northern Europe. Southern Europe. Western Europe. Australia and New Zealand. Various Artists. View Cart. Year s Released Genre s World. Country s Ghana. Instrument s Drum. Language s Akan ; Dangme ; Lobi. Music of the Dagomba from Ghana Various Artists.Ghana Culture Groups were first formed during the steady urbanisation that occurred in Ghana during the second half of the 20th Century. Ghana had gained independence from the British in and, in the decades that followed, wished to re-embrace its culture and traditions.
As people from across of Ghana migrated from villages to towns and cities, such as Accra and Kumasi, in order to gain employment, many different tribal cultures were mixed together in one place.
Facts on African Drums
Where previously the traditions of the Ga tribe had governed the culture of the Greater Accra region, the influx of migrants from other tribal regions, such as the Akan tribes from the west, the Ewes from the east and Dagomba tribes from the Islamic north, have made Accra into a multi-cultural melting pot. With the mixing of tribes came the mixing of cultures, traditions and rituals. Music and dance, as an integral part of everyday tribal life, was seen as a way of preserving tribal identity.
Mustapha Tettey Addya Ga drummer from the Greater Accra region, worked as a drummer and dancer at the University of Ghana in the s. He met many specialist drummers from other regions of Ghana while at the university and began to build a comprehensive knowledge of folkloric music, dance and song. After leaving the University inhe toured Ghana for several years collecting traditional songs and rhythms from tribes all over the country.
His great reputation as a virtuoso drummer and teacher also took him overseas to Europe and America. Following a period living in Germany, Addy moved back to Ghana and continued to study Ghanaian culture.
Repertoire performed in the culture groups of Greater Accra owe a lot to the research and teachings of Addy, who also added his own dance, Fume Fumeto the culture repertoire.
The culture groups of today perform the traditional drumming, dance and songs of many tribes from across Ghana, passed on by prominent master-drummers such as Addy and his nephews. Each tribal song sung has its language, with its own distinctive dancing style accompanied by its specific tribal dance rhythms and variations played on that unique set of tribal instruments.
Increasingly versatile, Ghanaian musicians of the present day now pick up traditional culture from further afield with the aid of CDs and videos from other West African countries. In modern Ghana, music is divided into distinct genres including: traditional folk music preserved true to its ritualistic heritage in the more remote villages ; culture music a hybrid of traditional and more modern folk music, performed mainly in urban areas ; highlife pop music of ss combining folk with modern electric instruments ; gospel music modern religious music, pop and often reggae influenced ; hiplife music of the current western-influenced generation, fusing hip hop with African pop music.
The one unifying aspect of all these musics is a strong dancing beat. The traditional dances performed by culture groups are a form of story-telling, often documenting important historical events or recounting ancestral folk tales. Culture forms an intimate connection between all Ghanaians, from modern urban factory-workers in Accra to village-dwelling fishermen on the banks of Lake Volta. It is an expression of national pride, and bridges the growing gap not only between town and village life, but also between the young and old in Ghana — unifying them all under one beat.
Skip to content African drumming classes in Greenwich Tuesday evenings at 8pm. Weekend workshops For experienced drummers.
Workshops for schools and businesses Exciting one-off workshops. Ghanaian woman with tribal markings on her cheek With the mixing of tribes came the mixing of cultures, traditions and rituals.Ewe drumming refers to the drumming ensembles of the Ewe people of GhanaTogoand Benin.
The Ewe are known for their experience in drumming throughout West Africa. The sophisticated cross rhythms and polyrhythms in Ewe drumming are similar to those in Afro-Caribbean music and late jazz.
The original purpose of Ewe drumming were sung or performed by warriors. Now the songs and performed to celebrate or for recreational use. For example, Agbadza was originally used as a warrior dance but is now used to celebrate events. Ewe drumming is very diverse and is played in many slightly different ways. For example, an Ewe musician from Togo may play a piece or instrument slightly differently from the way a Ewe from Ghana does. The Fon people of Benin are another example of this variation.
They construct their villages, towns, and cities on water, and because of this, they do not play the same upright drums other Ewe play. Instead, they place large gourds on water as drums. An Ewe drumming ensemble consists of several drums, a belland a rattle. Each ensemble usually has a master druman iron bell called a gankogui, and a group of secondary drummers. The gankoguialso known as a gakpeviis a bell, or gong instrument played with a wooden stick.
It is made out of forged iron and consists of a low-pitched bell often referred as the parent bell and a high-pitched bell or the child bell, which is said to rest on the bosom of the protective parentwhich are permanently bound together.
The gankogui is the skeleton, backbone, and foundation of all traditional Ewe music. The gankogui player must play steadily and without error throughout the piece. The gankogui player must be a trustworthy person, and is considered blind if they do not have a concrete understanding of the instrument and its role in the drumming ensemble.
In a drumming ensemble, a gankogui player uses no variation. The time span of one bell cycle establishes the temporal period of the music, although some phrases cover several bell cycles. In each bell cycle, it is the moment towards which the ensemble thematic cycle moves. The bell phrase guides the tempo, aligns the instruments, and marks elapsing musical time into bell cycle units.
The atoke is a forged-iron bell instrument and is shaped somewhat like a boat or a banana. It is held in the palm of the player's weak hand and is played with a small forged-iron rod, held in the player's strong hand.
You strike the rod against the outside of the bell to create a pitch. The atoke serves the same purpose as the gankogui and is sometimes used instead of or a substitute for the gankogui. The gankogui and atoke come in all various sizes. The next instrument used in traditional Ewe drumming is called axatse pronounced ah-hah-chay. The axatse is a rattle-like instrument made from a hollowed-out gourd covered with a net of seeds or beads.
The axatse is usually played sitting down. It is held at the handle and in the players strong hand and is shaken up hitting the hand and down hitting the thigh making two different sounds. The axatse usually plays the same thing that the bell plays but with some extra added notes in between the beats. It can be described as the eighth note version of what the gankogui plays.
It has also been described as enriching or reinforcing what the gankogui plays. Overall it gives energy to the music and drives the music. The axatse produces a dry rattling but energetic sound. The most common gankogui part is the pulse basic Ewe or standard pattern. The "ti's" sound pulses in between the bell strokes, by raising the gourd in an upward motion and striking it with the free hand.Kennedy International Airport.
The group had one-year cultural visas, little money in their pockets and two goals. Most of the men had come from humble circumstances. Quaye had been on his own since the age of 16, when his mother died; his father had died earlier. Now and then he would scrape together enough money to rent a room in a guest house and sleep. When the shop fell apart, he traveled all over Ghana, selling television antennas from a cart. Inhe founded Womba Africa. Every night for a year, Quaye reached out via the internet until he finally found people to help them take their music to the United States.
We are coming with energy. The questioning dragged on for three hours, according to Quaye. Quaye wasn't surprised. But they were told that some of their drums were too large.
They are now living in Rochester; he is an unofficial member of Womba Africa while he awaits documents that will allow him to work. But navigating proved difficult. They had to use addresses, which they weren't accustomed to in Ghana.
Within weeks, an early cold snap brought a dusting of snow. But the men would come to find the snow as an obstacle, and would forget to dress appropriately for the weather. To get to the bus station, they biked two miles in a snowstorm that dropped They didn't wear boots. Again, in New York, there was trouble getting their drums on the bus.
But this time, two workers and the manager were from Ghana. Speaking to them in Twi, Quaye eventually persuaded them to let the pair board the bus.
Aaron Rubin and Kate Huggler-Rubin were on a cross-country bike trip when they got a call from Shanna, their tenant and next-door neighbor. The couple owns many buildings in the 19th Ward, a racially, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhood in southwest Rochester.
He told her that he would have space for them. They responded that they were purchasing their drinking water. He told them they could drink from the tap.Kakatsitsi Master Drummers from Ghana
He was puzzled to find buckets in the men's bathtub. They took to ringing the doorbell of the Rubins' home, asking to use their internet. I'd bring them food and stuff. The men started doing odd jobs for Aaron to help cover the rent. He, in turn, secured several donated bicycles from R Community Bikes. When they needed a lift, he would drive them.
The men asked Aaron to stop so they could skin it; they needed a hide to repair some of their drums. Aaron kept driving.West African rhythmic techniques carried over the Atlantic were fundamental ingredients of Afro-American musical genres such as blues, jazz, reggae and hip hop, and were thereby of immense importance in 20th century popular music.
African music relies heavily on fast-paced, upbeat rhythmic drum playing found all over the continent, though some styles, such as the Township music of South Africa do not make much use of the drum and nomadic groups such as the Maasai do not traditionally use drums. Elsewhere the drum is the sign of life: its beat is the heartbeat of the community.
Well known African drums include the Djembe and the Talking drum. These high-quality drums are carved from Tweneboa wood, a resonant, somewhat plentiful preferred drum making wood in Ghana. Timbre-wise, atumpans are more mid-range and complement the bassy fontomfroms well. Both of these types of drums are headed with a medium to heavy cow skin. The apetia is the baby drum—played with two sticks, it is tuned to make a bright repetitive sound. Goat or cow hide is used for fixing the drums.
The drums are headed with thick cow skin other choices are possiblehas three feet carved into the shell forming its own built-in rugged drum stand. Has a small sound opening to enhance sub-audio bass. Suitable for Afro-Cuban and world music contexts, could be construed as a cross between a dundun and a conga, and is playable by hands or using sticks or mallets.
It is constructed with a with a cloth covered hand-carved wood shell, with a goat skin stretched across each end. They are fitted with tuning hardware or made with a rope tuning system, and headed with raw African cow skin. The shells are hand polished with an oil mixture and sealed with either polyurethane or bees-wax finish.
These drums are very unique, and they sound amazing. The djembe came into being in west Africa and is considered a Mandingo drum. It crossed over into a wide area of west Africa before moving outside of the continent.
This is unusual as many African drums were local and unknown outside of their culture. In order to play the atsimevu, the drummer should stand parallel to the drum which is tilted against a stand known as vudetsi, bringing the height of the drum head below the chest for a good leverage and aiming position.
It is played with two sticks or stick and hand. Different Drums In Ghana. Let me use this opportunity to describe to you some of the drums in Ghana. The fontomfrom drum family either in part, or all drums and others are traditionally played at many community and regional events. Source: NationalMusuem, MotherlandMusic. Solomon Ansah.Because Gahu belongs to a folk tradition, different renditions and interpretations abound, not merely between neighbouring countries and regions, but even neighbouring villages.
According to Ewe Master Drummer Emmanuel Agbeli of Kopeyia, Ghana, Gahu is an adaptation of kokosawa, an older African drum and dance style that originated with the Yoruba people of neighboring Nigeria. The Ewe took kokosawa and increased the tempo to more than double its original value. A traditional Gahu drumming ensemble is comprised of six different instrument types, each with a distinct construction, sound, and rhythmic character. Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email. This message is only visible to admins. Problem displaying Facebook posts. Click to show error. Adarex Foods. Sisi Aladire Enterprises. Traditional African Instruments A traditional Gahu drumming ensemble is comprised of six different instrument types, each with a distinct construction, sound, and rhythmic character. Tags africanCultureGhanaMusic. Previous article. Next article.
Traditional Drumming & Dance from Ghana: Gahu
You may also like. Spotlight Wednesday Noureddine Daifallah. The Planet Saver: Calabash. Instagram post Load More Follow on Instagram. Click to show error Error: Error validating access token: The session has been invalidated because the user changed their password or Facebook has changed the session for security reasons.The drum was a heartbeat of daily life among many indigenous cultures, including the native peoples of the African continent.
The many different variations of the traditional drums were used for daily needs and for ceremony, religion and special events. Legend and folklore accompanied the drums and their role among the many tribes of Africa. There are many types of traditional African drums. Among the best known are the talking drums of West Africa. These drums get their name from the range of tones that can be brought from them by manipulating the stings down their sides and tightening their heads.
The bougarabou drum is a set of drums. They have elongated shapes and are usually played in sets of three to four drums. The djembe is another well-known type of African drum. Played with the hands and shaped like a goblet, the djembe comes from the Bamana people of Mali.
Other types include the water drums, ngoma drums, Kutiro and more. Traditional African drums served as musical instruments, objects for ceremony and as a method of communication. Some drums were part of everyday lives and others held special significance — giving power to its owner or created to honor ancestors.
In many instances, the traditional African drums are connected to spiritual endeavors and medicinal purposes. The drums also had roles in ceremonies, such as births, weddings, funerals and festivals. Today, drums continue to be used in African life. They are played at baptisms, weddings, festivals and dances throughout the world. The making of traditional African drums is a craft that is often passed down through families and among some cultures is a hereditary job.
The shells of the drums are most often made of hardwoods, such as alder, oak, maple or mahogany. The type of wood used in making the drum determines much about the outcome of the final instrument and its sounds.
Skins for drumheads were generally made from animals such as goats or cows. From culture to culture, who plays traditional African drums varies. In some tribes, only those with a hereditary right to be a drummer are allowed to play the instruments, while among other peoples, drums were the one instrument that could be played by anyone in the village. Specific rhythms are often used in the playing of the traditional African drums. In West Africa, the traditional rhythms are polyrhythms, bringing up to seven different parts together to make a rhythm.