Dienstag, 2. Februar 2016

Music on christmas took all my pain away

A report from Eguafo, near Elmina in the Central Region of Ghana in West Africa

Since I was born and grew up in Accra. I often visit my village Eguafo in the Central region of Ghana. I never got a chance to spent the christmas in Eguafo till this christmas 2015 together with friends from Germany.

On the 24th night it looked like nobody nows what to do in the village, so we the artists invited our Sankofa group, who based in Eguafo, to come and play. In the end it became very dynamic and interesting. A lot of people joined in and we decided then to make a little parade with traditional music and dance through the village. Every street we reached, we got more people. Before we reached our starting point again, it was about three o`clock in the morning. The German friends got tired and went to sleep a bit.
The nice part about it was, I thought everybody will also go home and sleep, but the youngsters among wanted the music to continue. So I really used that opportunity to sing some old songs of the village, which I have heard since I was ten years old.
It happened that most of them never heard those songs. I have to teach them the songs and we performed it. After  a few hours they knew a lot of olden time songs. They decided to parade throught the village again, because they felt proud to demonstrate those old songs. Sometimes the elder people passed by and joined in. And many people started to remember traditional musicians from the village, who passed away. They started to appreciate them. They said: « You boys remind us of the bosue group. » And as an artist I felt so happy, to perform in my village and wake up almost forgotten music and its musicians. That gave me strength to continue playing the leading drum with devotion.
Those who are good in percussion instruments of the Sankofa group, asked a permission to go home around 4.30 in the morning. Which I was then happy about, because my hands were really hurting. Playing from 10 pm til 4.30 am… that is long.
The music entered some of the youngsters so much, although the Sankofa drumers have left, that they always told me:“ Bra Kofi, let`s continue!“ There we started again. They sang some songs, which were also new to me and I have to learn it from them. One of the village boys is calling himself after „Shatta Wale“. This name is known in Ghana for a Rap musician, who is based in Accra. This guy who named himself after Shatta used the old songs he just learned from me a few hours ago and transformed it into Rap. We were then only few people and I am the only percussionist left. I have to form the rhythm and create some to fit into the Rap music. It was so beautiful.
Around 6 am we were done. My hands were pumping as if somebody would messure my blood pressure.
As everybody left, I couldn`t get up from the chair anymore, I was so tired and dozed on the chair. Those who got up in the morning, started to laugh about me, that made me wake up.
I then had to orginize the afternoon of 25th, the big day. Quickly showerd and hit the road.
The food was ready and we all were eating as usual on christmas day. Then we visited family members.

Funny was, every family house I enterd asked me:“ Who were those people, who played music till day break? Are they your people from Accra? Where did they learn those songs?“
So I called the names of the people who took part from Eguafo and they were all surprised. And I revealed myself to be to one leading the group through the village with those songs.
That of course spread in the village like a rumor. I arrived in the house and found myself in the middle of youngsters, who also learned the songs we sang yesterday. They tought it to others and they wanted us to performe. I just didn’t want to think about my hands.
They brought the drums and the music started. We played till 5 pm. Then I couldn`t continue anymore. So I told them just to parade by themselves to enjoy the 25th.
That is the first time I enjoyed my village since I have been visiting the village as a child. I heard a lot of traditional music in Accra, Nima, but in the village Eguafo it was were I, at the age of 10, joined a group of elders, known as « bosue ». Through this experience I always return to Eguafo, where my parents came from.
 That is were my motto was confirmed : « Music brings energy, energy brings happyness ! »