This audio clip is a seven-minute long, self-contained segment of a two-hour-long commissioned event. Like all of the segments I heard at tigare events, it begins with a rhapsodic introduction featuring call-response singing and unmetered drumming. Once the time-keeping afirikyiwa enters, a clear temporal framework is established and remains present through to the end of the segment. The pitch-inflected dondo drum switches between support, lead, and speech modes during the performance.
Texts/Translations for the Songs Heard on the Audio Example:
Osee yaa yee. Aye a mma wonnsu.
Eee. Obarima Kwaa Takyi yennhu no nsuro gya.
Yenam asaase [yennsuro hwee.]
Nobody should fear anybody.
Our backbone, Kwaa Takyi, is a strong man.
[We don’t fear anything.]
[Nyame dzi m’asem ma me.]
Moroko a meba e Nyame dzi m’asem ma me.
[God should come to my aid.]
In all my endeavors, God should come to my aid.
[Yennsuro ogya], yoo yee.
[We don’t fear fire], yoo yee.
I don’t fear fire.
[Yeabo ngua o.]
[We have gathered together.]
The video clip begins with a brief survey of the tigari performing forces–the women singers, one of them playing the afirikyiwa and another serving as the cantor, are seen first, then we see the male drummers and rattle player.
A long segment of dance by the tigari priestess is seen. She is dressed in the sort of smock one associates with Ghanaians from several northern tribes, a subtle reminder that the source of this religious specialist’s knowledge is from outside the immediate area. Although much of the dance is stationary, the priestess does at times move further afield within a circular space etched on the ground. There are moments where you may be able to sense how the drumming responds to changes in the dancer’s movement vocabulary. Since the music and dances heard and seen in the course of a ceremony are not set pieces and choreographed dances, every participant is watching, listening to, and responding to one another constantly.
|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|
|maracas||a pair of gourd rattles with internal seeds, played by a single performer; rhythmic instrument|
|ampaa||single-headed tubular drum, goblet-shaped, struck with both hands; support drum|
|ampaa, large||single-headed drum, goblet-shaped body, struck with two short sticks or sometimes with open palms; support drum|
|ansaba||single-headed tubular drum, footed, struck with two straight sticks; support drum|
|dondo||double-headed pressure drum with hourglass-shaped body, struck with a single hook-shaped stick, only one head is struck; rhythmic instrument used to accentuate dance movement|
|chorus||female, approximately twenty-five|