CHRISTIN BOLEWSKI
constructed passage

God himself likes music

Druming is a music. And even before the creation of the whole world by god - god himself liked music. So according to the bible - in the heaven there is no weak thing apart from music. That`s the only weak thing...
The angels used to adore god, to praise him. This is the only weak. And god enjoys music very much. So when god created man - I mean in his own image - all those things has to be in man - so man likes music.

So man started to think of what to do, so that at least to provide that music. The inner parts of man - you have that feeling, but outside - this part to use outside so that I mean that you can enjoy it and that someone also can enjoy it....

Cut a tree

Before the drumming came sometimes maybe when they cut a tree - I mean the tree falls down, it makes sound. That sound also they pick it. So always they cut a tree, it falls, it makes sound. When the wind is blowing sometimes the leaves they make noise. And even the birds when they are flying, then they are singing, shouting...all these things!

Communication

So that`s how the music came about and then to our Ghana here. We felt we need some sort of entertainment and we needed some sort of communication. We didn`t have the means of such communication, so our forefathers set down and think what can we do? When we want to communicate to someone - maybe I am in the village here and then there is my brother in the other village and I want to call him to come or tell him something that is happening here. Maybe I need his help or something and maybe I am alone here. Before I go away from here and call him..
So that communication - at first they shouted: "OHHHHHH".... And then the other person hears it and he responds the same "OHHHHHH"..... So straight he starts coming... So he comes and then if there is anything he listens to it and then he goes back. OK! But now that "OHHHH, OHHHH, OHHHH"....can maybe just move from here to here! I mean how can this sound travel far? So they thought of creating something that will give more loud sound.

Cut a tree - part two

So they tried to cut a tree - because the tree, when they cut it, the tree falls down. They know that this tree can make a loud noise. When they cut it, they start to use other sticks just to hit on it. So the sound was not going very far and they tried to make a little whole in it. So when they hit it, the sound can go out. So when they made a whole and they hit it, the sound goes out. And they started to make the whole bigger... and they found out that now the whole is bigger, so they starting this: they made a whole here, I mean the whole is through the whole tree and they put it down like this and they started to hit it with another stick - then the sound goes here and comes here also.

So this is what we were using at first. And when the time was going - they try to think of more things - more louder sounds. So they thought, if they can cover the mouth with a different thing - maybe and here it is open, when they hit here, the sound can go further. So they used the skin of the tree itself to cover it.

This is what they do. And when they beat it, it created another louder sound. And from all this when they started to think of more things, than it came to an new masking: When they go hunting, killing animals, they just wanted to have an experiment: they put the skin on the tree and then they hit it - it was - I mean - the sound was very ,very good and louder than all they have ever tried out! So they thought that this would be very good.

So this is how making drums came about. They tried to put a masking on the drum. At first they only put it on it and they used a very strong rope made of trees, very flexible, thin. They used to tie it very, very hard. - They just tied it and then they used some things to chock it. That`s how it is now!

Talking Drums

When the drums came, they thought, now we can use this drums for messages. So we have some drums that give messages and they made this drums - I mean - special for this messages. Because of the tone of our language, the dialect - there are some words that - I mean, if you are speaking, you will not speak on the same level, sometimes you have to raise your voice according to the words. So they tried to make this drums according to the words spoken. They made a female voice, and then a male voice. And this is what they used to send messages. Because before you can send a message and then a person will know what you are saying, you have to make sure the voice of the drums goes with what you want to say.

So when today everybody is going to the farm and unfortunately a wild animal or some dissidents come to the village, then you have to beat this drum. We have some words that you have to play on this drum to know that something serious has happened and that they should come back from their farms, come and help. And this drums they travel very far. When they play it, all the people will come back and help, staying it out to fight weather its an animal or some people from other place.

Family Planning

So this is one aspect of the drumming. The other one is, when they come back from their farm, they are tired. Though they are tired, after maybe having their supper and it`s not time to go to bed, they think of what to do? I mean to relax a bit! And this is also another way of, you can say, family planning. When you go to bed early, I mean too early, when you are not feeling asleep, as a man and a wife you go to bed early - I mean you maybe want to enjoy yourself.... So often because of these things, it will bring frequent childbed!

So we have something we call "ancestor story". So they gather up with the children and then they start to tell stories to them. Some stories are from old, old days how our ancestors lived. Some are just creative stories. So they will sit together and then tell all the stories. Before everyone gets asleep almost one quarter or one third of the night is spent. And when you go, all feel very sleepy, so you go to bed, and just some seconds later you are gone. So it saves on this things also!

And then during the "ancestor" or this storytelling, there are songs in some of the stories, so when they are singing, clapping hands, some things have to come in to make it more lively. So they started to bring clapping hand and then drumming into it. So when they are singing and then they are drumming and then they are clapping, it make the whole thing very, very lively and enjoyable.
So when they are drumming, no one will sleep, rather anybody will be dancing.

Wakekeeping

We use the drumming also for wakekeeping or for funerals. Drumming came in this the way we use our drumming. And all the things started from our ancestors and it passes from generation to generation. And we think, it`s a good thing. Because any generation that comes... - we take it as a custom from our fathers and forefathers. So we have to continue it! But the world is changing and we are also trying to modify some of the things!

Changes

Because for example, at first, maybe girls of the age of twenty up to twentytwo, so they don`t put on pants - they danced just naked like that. And now with their dressing ...! When they were drumming, they came and they did their dancing nakedly, just like that. And nobody thought of that, because that was their time! That`s how they lived! But now the world is changing, so even a two years baby - you like to dress him or her when him or she goes out. So it started to change some of the things!

This is how the changes came about, and then it turned to become contra ??? It turned to become entertainment. So the real traditious dances and drumming, you can`t see them no more today. You can`t see them again! And let`s travel to the hinterlands, very distant, ...maybe when you ask for,.... ....there are some small parts of it, but they can not do it as towards the beginning.

So in all this is about our drumming... I like that -that drumming and dancing - I mean, we don`t feel well at all, because everything now, our funeral, our parties, everything goes with drumming and dancing.

Western Music

To me, I don`t know how about to say... We have people who are naturally musicians, so any type of music at all, ...they like to listen to it. They feel happy in their bodies to music. And some people are not naturally musicians, they only follow the tradition, you see... So anything that is not their tradition, they don`t like it!

To me - with the western type of music - I like it! I like hearing it. But I don`t like dancing to it. I just like the rhythm, the harmony, the whole thing. So when I am listening to it, it is very, very nice to my ears and my spirit feels it. But to stand up and dance on it, I don`t like it!

But when they are playing the local drumming, I don`t feel all right, something pushes me to go and then dance. I feel it very, very much. But some people, they even don`t want to hear the western music at all.

Travelling

Because of travelling - people travel from here to Europe, they stay there for 2 weeks, 3 weeks, one month, one year, two years, so they don`t hear the the local music or the traditional one again. The western music is the one they hear. So when they are coming back, it became part of their life. And when they are coming back, then they bring along those things and they use to play it....So at first we didn`t have this western type of music, but now because of the travelling... people are now enjoying it very, very much - especially the youth. Because of watching the tele, cinemas, video, all the things, they copy the western things.

And in fact it came to a point where our traditional music collapsed totally. It collapsed! Now - if there is any occasion where they play our traditional music, no one goes there at all. Unless they bring in this western type of music. They will jump into it, enjoying....But now it started to bring the whole thing back, because we don`t want to leave our culture.

Hilife music

Hilife music is a traditional music of Ghana. At first we didn´t use this instrument - this guitar - we had our own guitar, I mean our locally guitar and our local organ. We have something like a box with a whole in here and with a bamboo stick, this shape, about 4 inches or 5 inches. When they are playing it, because of the whole in the box, it makes a very deep sound: "dudududud......" This part they used as our guitar.

So Ghana, what we do is Hilife, Hilife is the whole way. The root of Hilife is from Ghana. This is our folk songs. That is the rythm of our folk songs. We have the "Titi gamao", that is Hilife music: ba ba baaaa..."Titi gamao, titi gamao....It`s a folk song. So most of our folk songs have this beat. So when they try to combine all the instruments to it, it becomes a very nice peace.

And then all the things came together, and it`s a very, very nice music! But when people started to travel, when they saw the guitar - also that there is a whole in there, they thought: "Oh this is the same thing as our local tbox guitar!" So they started to bring it here and then started to replace it with this box. So the electric ones came in...and then the organ came in.. to replace that old ones.

So the root of Hilife music is from Ghana. They take it from our folk songs. It´s the same thing!
I don`t know the exact year when it started. But it started in this century, ... in the early state of the century. .. 1900 over something... It started from a very, very long time, but as I say, I don`t know exactly

Reggae Music

The root of the reggae music is also from Africa. It`s from Africa, because some of our drumming .. when you go into it deeply, you see reggae beats in it. And if you follow exactly where this reaggae music comes from - it came from Jamaica, or the Carrebean - and this people, they have their roots from Africa!

So I think, it`s something that they inherited from their forefathers. So I think when the slavetrade came, and it brought them there, they didn`t forget their traditional drum and dancing. So maybe sometimes they might have been allowed at least to have a little of time to themselves and they still enjoyed their traditional drum and dancing. And it was through this, they started to pick other things, like they also pick the Hilife from our own rythms, they also started to pick this rythms, which turned to become this reggae music.

So since all the people came from Africa, you can surely say the reggae music - the roots of it is from Africa. So it has a connection to Africa!

Many different type of drums

And we have so many different type of drums according to the tribes we are having here. Every tribe wants to have it`s own drumming style. They started to create or form their own drums according to the tone that they want. So every drum has it`s tone. We have the Agaba sets, that`s from the Volta region, the ???sets, that`s from the Ashanti region, Fantomfrom sets from the Fanti and Panlogo sets from the greater Accra region. The xylophone assemble or the Brakate from the northern parts. So we have a lot of different types.

And when you go around all this places, before you see different rythms and then different dances. But we have even more than 100 different rythms and dances in Ghana, because we have so many tribes. So that`s how it is in Ghana.

One great, great grandfather

Yes, a lot! A lot! The Fantis, the Ewes, the Ashanti.. Lets say the whole Ghana, they came from some place. The Algerians, the Sudanese, a lot of tribes in Africa, they all came from the same place. On their way they started to raise and then they branched out... we have so many empires in Africa, the Sudan Empire, the Mali Empire, the Ghana Empire - we had some other empires before this present states. So Ghana came from the Sudan Empire - we were there before we leave to the Mali Empire, then to the Ghana Empire and then to this present state. So we have connections with some other African countries.

If you watch our dances here and you go to East Africa, yo see the same movements, but in a different style way. There is the same movement in it. Our Agaba - when we are dancing we move like this with the hands, ...and with a short cloth - we tie it like this. Some countries in East Africa they also do this movements, the same movement, they also tie their cloth on thier hips, but a very, very long one up to here. They also do the same movement, you see....So I want to say, we have maybe one great, great, great grandfather!

Is there any question? because our time is up?

The teacher

I had a very good teacher. It is his profession. He has been to a lot places in Ghana, so he knows a lot. After school he took it upon himself to do researches. He travelled all around Ghana and outside Ghana just for researches. He knows the history of most of the dances.

During or after our lessons I sit down with him and asked a lot of questions. I provided drinks, when we sit down totgether and then I started to ask questions. This is how I got him! And he told me a lot of things and I also visited him at home. Beside this I visited elder people and asked them about stories about the past. And they also told me their stories. This is how I got to know some of the things. So I tell you now all the things which I heard from others.

It was the leader or the founder of the group, he invited this man to come and train us. So it is from the group that I wanted to know this man. And then after closing the lesson I thought about how I can attended him - this made me to know more ...

He took me to Accra, I stayed with him in Accra. And he is the one who sent me to Takoradi. He heard that some groups in Takoradi wanted an instructor, and so he sent me to Takoradi. And in Takoradi I heard of this place and then I came. So I never knew I would become an instructor.

Mr. Bob`s Drumlesson

God himself likes music

Cut a tree
Communication
Cut a tree - part two
Talking Drums
Family Planning
Wakekeeping
Changes
Western Music
Travelling
Hilife Music
Reggae Music
Many different type of drums
One great, great grandfather
The teacher