Notes from Ghana #10

Community Drumming

Yesterday, after a drum lesson in the morning and a great lunch of yam chips and red sauce (my favourite) we all piled into three trotros, each wearing a traditional cloth, either tied in the women’s or men’s style and headed down the red dirt road to a nearby village for a community drumming. This afternoon event featured Unity, a group from here in Dagbamete, and they were performing a burial ritual for a Unity member who had passed on a while back and who had lived in this area. Although the funeral itself was over, this particular group did not have a chance to properly mourn their member so this was the chosen date for this to happen. Lucky us. Some lovely soft and delicate bell sounds were playing when we arrived, accompanied by gentle singing from the crowd of 300-400 or so gathered. Elders were seated at the back of the large double atsimevu drums in a row of plastic chairs, complete with the woolen toques common to these kinds of events. Soon the drums began to play in the typical 12/8 pattern from this area accompanied by a whole two rows of axatses (rattles) which indoors would be deafening but here, under a canopy of palm branches in the humid air is simply intoxicating instead.

There was a small group of women who danced around the perimeter of the large group in a line, kind of leading and inspiring everyone. A few of our female group joined in their cool and twisty moves, sometimes holding black scarves. Lots of breakout dancing duos and trios emerged often asking us to join them. Jona in particular was asked to dance MORE than several times, probably due to his hair which is a big draw(see picture) as well as his cheeks which got pinched a bunch. Incidentally, our kids who have braces are also a big hit, as locals think they are mouth jewellery, since some even have coloured braces….

A few kids wandered off to get a Fanta with Jambolah, our beloved driver, who takes great care and always has a protective and watchful eye over our gang. Most of us danced at some point and I was thrilled to be given a horsetail and asked to dance with the line of elders who were led around the perimeter of the group by ladies with switches (!) in a slow groove…then at each direction we turned and faced the inner group and did the usual Ewe movements. We were all smiling coming back to Dagbamete for sure. Another “typical village day”

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6 Responses to Notes from Ghana #10

  1. jennifer says:

    Thank you Kathy….I just needed to see his face.

    Jennifer

  2. Madelaine Mageau says:

    What a thrill this vicarious experience is! Getting all these details of your daily activities and encounters, the foods (yum!) you eat, the joy and excitement kids and adults are communicating, why this is a (cheap) trip at this end. I love the pictures and was very glad to see my Claire’s face among the adults but was dissappointed that the rectangle marked “Leah and Ariane” yielded no picture; quite a number of others also remain blank. I guess connections are not perfect. But thanks ever so much for all this magnificent work, Kathy and Rory! A huge hug for each of my girls, ok?
    Madelaine

  3. Anna Ferrabee says:

    These blogs are amazing, what a thrill to read! They are also a fantastic record that we will print out and keep forever. These experiences must be life altering in the way that the world would be such a bigger, mote diverse and richer place than ever before. I came across a quote the other day that went something like this ” the worl is a book and if you never travel you have only read a page” Thank you for helping these youth begin their own novel. Please give a special hello and hug to my boy. Time goes by so quickly it won’t be long till I can do that again myself.
    Thinking of you all, all the time. Anna

  4. Jan Downing says:

    Thank you for your daily postings. I look forward to them everyday as I seem to be making my west across our country (I am now in Summerland, BC). I just showed my dad, 90, who is thrilled to see pictures and stories of Hudson’s great adventure. You are all a world away but the blogs bring you all close to home. Ben, Chris, Rory and Kathy thank you for your wonderful words and for all the pictures. Thank you to all the Kathy, Hailey and all the chaperones for making this possible and to Kwasi and the village for welcoming and teaching these lessons, both in life, culture and drumming.
    Jan

  5. Marmie says:

    Kathy,

    The pictures are great. Even on my Blackberry they are good. They may take a while to load for some.

    M.

  6. Mary Gauvreau says:

    Wow! All of the posts have been amazing, but this one brought back so many memories. I love the first shot taken from inside the trotro. I can almost feel the bumps in the road. And I have now have an incredible craving for yam chips and red sauce! Please tell Leah that I love her choice of fabric, and I send her a big hug.
    Mary

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