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Odenkese Audio and Video Selections

Audio Selections:

During the audio clip, try to focus on the support drum part while hearing how the lead part cuts across it to produce shifting composite rhythms. You can also tap along at times with the bamboo clappers. As you listen to the vocal parts, notice how a forceful vocal production is used and how the songs seem to be set in the high register of the singers’ vocal range.

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

[Egya Nkrumah is a great warrior] whose war dress was never removed. Even if he were not at the war front, he still performed his juju to win the war.

[Oba yi w’ana ba oruwu]
Adze yi w’ana dze a oruwu
Yaa Asuantse Buoo ayee

[Someone’s child is dying] (Note: Yaa Asuantse was a woman warrior who led the Asante army to victory in c. 1903.)

[Esigyafo yeatsew hen ayer mpanyimfo mbohwe]
[Elders, come and witness our performance]

[Aye a kotoku bo aben]
Donkonyi no ho akyer no ampa.
Donkonyi n’ayer saw a!

Proverbial: [There are times that the sack can produce music] (i.e., the slave can blow the horn)
The slave, can he also dance? (Note: here they are saying that the slave cannot dance as royals do.)
Even if you are poor, there is always hope for prosperity.

[Womma abofra nkohwe Egya dakor]
[A child should visit his father] (Note: paying the elders a visit for a day is not a waste of time. Probably the group is cautioning youths to study their culture from their elders.)

Video Selection:

The short video clip focuses first of the drummers. The group’s leader Kwaw Atta, nearest the camera, is performing the lead part. The end of the clip includes some older women dancing to this music.

Performance Forces:

several abaa a pair of bamboo concussion sticks; time-keeping instrument
odenkesekyen single-headed tubular drum with elongated barrel-shaped body, struck with one stick beater and with an open palm; lead rhythmic instrument
ansaba single-headed tubular drum, footed, struck with two straight sticks; supporting rhythmic instrument
cantors male, two trading off
chorus male, approximately eight

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