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Kolomashie Audio and Video Selections

Audio Selections:

In the audio clip notice in particular the general intensity of playing, the multi-layered bell parts, the occasional two-part harmony in the choral responses, and the forceful vocal production of the cantors.

Texts/Translations for the Songs Heard on the Audio Example:

Group appellation: [to pour water into a container or onto the ground]

Kolomashie gyina ho.
Cautions members of the group to stand firm, remain united.

Efua Nyame. Ata Kwesi beba. Efur dontweon.
Efua Nyame is a pregnant woman being advised to exercise patience and to wait for her husband. Ata Kwesi, her husband, will arrive soon.

Onnyim ye Kwaa Ata.
Kwaa Ata (the group’s patron) is being condemned for not being good at doing things; the group is making fun of him.

“Okay,” or “agreed.” (Note: Used as nonsense syllable in this piece.

Mosinyi a oreba Conductor a oreba Kwaa Moku woefir yoomo.
Yaa Aniwa e Kwaa Moku woefir yoono.
A Mosi person (Mosinyi) from Northern Ghana, a bus conductor, and Yaa Aniwa are being told that Kwaa Moku has no money, that he even bought hair dye on credit.

Yerbekyer aboa obi ammba.
A song about a lost hunter who might have been killed by a wild animal.

Aworansu e asem ba a hen ara, oko ba a hen ara.
Performers are bragging about themselves, how they are called upon when there is a quarrel and war.

Obonoma, yeye a obeye.
Yedze ebibir nsa yedze aborofo nsa yeye a obeye (Yedze kentsen ko nsu.)
Another bragging song. Obonoma, a variant on the name of Anomabu, is being used as a group appellation here. With the whiteman’s wine and the blackman’s wine, they can do what is expected of them. They can fetch water with a basket.

Kyer no manngyae no.
Aye a kyer no odze ne sekan ato ne tsir doe.
Aye a kyer no manngyae no.

Expresses the need to catch (arrest) a person who has put his machete on his head.
Machetes are supposed to be held in the hand.

Ama hwe me monso monhwe wo.
Ama (name given to Saturday-born females), care for me so that I also care for you.

Bra Yaw ofi Nkran reba.
Brother Yaw is being welcomed from Accra.

Video Selection:

The video clip includes a number of close-ups of the various instruments in the ensemble (refer to “Performance Forces” section below for the instrument names). The energetic, animated quality of the performance is clearly seen, and an appropriate style of movement for this music, expressed spontaneously by a number of women present at the session, is captured toward the end of the clip.

Performance Forces:

afirikyiwa metal castanet consisting of a wide ring worn on the thumb and a somewhat globular-shaped bell hanging from the second finger of the same hand; time-keeping instrument
two ager thick metal percussion plaques, struck with a large nail; used in pairs to produce a two-tone ostinato
adawur ntaa double iron bell, clapperless, struck with wooden stick; support time-keeping instrument
bankese single-headed frame drum, rectangular-shaped, struck with an open palm; support drum
adamu single-headed frame drum, rectangular-shaped, struck with an open palm; support drum
agyedu single-headed frame drum, rectangular-shaped, struck with an open palm; support drum
ampaa single-headed tubular drum, goblet-shaped, struck with both hands; support drum
akonko(n) small military-style side drum, double-headed, cylindrical body, struck with one wooden beater; rhythmic instrument
cantors males, three trading off
chorus males, approximately twenty-five

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