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Brass Band

Brass Band of Ogoekrom perform instruments under an awning while outside
Brass Band #2 of Ogoekrom

The small farming village of Ogoekrom is one of the satellite villages in the Anomabu Traditional Area. (map) Located on a dead-end road about five miles inland from the coast, it is about the last place on earth you would expect to come across a brass band. But, due to Methodist missionary contacts earlier this century, a set of battered old British-made instruments does exist there, and the subsistence farmers who play them are hired two or three times a month to provide lively music for festivals and funerals in surrounding towns and villages–including Anomabu. Ogoekrom has had a brass band since 1954. The original group disbanded sometime in the 70s, but was revived in 1983 and named Ogoekrom Brass Band #2. The group’s repertoire consists of at least twenty pieces, most of them church hymns or highlife tunes grouped into four categories according to the particulars of their tempo, meter, and drum rhythm: warries (waltzes), bruse (blues), highlife, and adaha. The two melodies heard on the next page, Yesu ye medze (Christ is Mine) and Nyame ye osahen (God Is King of All Warriors), are both church hymns performed to the highlife beat. No one in the group reads music; arrangements are worked out by ear and elaborated spontaneously in performance by the individual players. The group plays for funerals and community celebrations.

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