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Apirede group of Amoanda
Apirede group of Amoanda

I have very little information about the apirede ensemble tradition of the Fante. The ensemble documented here is the only apirede set that I saw during my time in Ghana. I do know it is found elsewhere in the Akan-speaking area of Ghana, for Nketia mentions it as a royal ensemble in his study titled Drumming in Akan Communities of Ghana (1963).

The apirede drums documented here belong to Nana Baisie IV, chief of Amoanda. Amoanda is a small village in the Anomabu Traditional Area located a few miles inland from Anomabu. (map) The drums in this set are a good deal more diminutive in size than those of the fontomfrom drums owned by the same chief. Only three of the four drums that appeared to comprise this set were used at any one time. None of these sounded to my ear to be functioning in the capacity of lead drum; all three parts seemed to be of equal importance as they tightly interlocked with one another. It is also noteworthy that the timeline instrument was not a metal bell but bamboo clappers (abaa). I was told that this ensemble was a practical substitute for the fontomfrom drums–it was more portable and musicians from the village knew how to play it. There are praise songs that go along with apirede drumming. These songs are known by community members who can then follow their chief to events and participate along with him in possessions.

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