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Okyir (New Year) Festival

Okyir Festival procession with Fontomfrom carrying instruments
Fontomfrom ensemble participating in an Okyir Festival procession

Most Akan communities, including the Fante town of Anomabu, will mount a festival of thanksgiving once a year to celebrate a successful harvest, to honor ancestors and the spirits of nature, and to reaffirm the social ties that bind the community together. In 1992, Anomabu mounted what it calls its Okyir Festival between October 6 and 11. The video clips included here were made during the final three–and most dramatic–days of the celebration. During the first two days (not documented here), many of the events had to do with cleaning up the town and with spiritual observances (for example, the ceremomial feeding of mashed yams to the obosom). Since I was unable to attend these events, I am not sure how music making was integrated into them. I do know that during the final three days of the festival documented here that there was a great deal of music making enlivening the events.

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