Are Musical Plays Relevant To Life In The 20Th Century Traditional Forms of African Entertainment

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Traditional Forms of African Entertainment

Traditional African entertainment uses a variety of musical instruments, all made from materials found in nature. These instruments include drums, gongs, bells, harps, flutes, and xylophones. In African culture, music, dance and song go hand in hand and it is practically impossible to separate them into different categories. Music, dance and song are also an integral part of every culture and are much more than a mere form of entertainment, it is a part of their life and an integral part of their lifestyle. Today, although many Africans no longer live traditional lives, but have fully embraced Western cultures and Western influences, they still retain their innate love for music, dance and song.

Some traditional African dances that are still popular today include:

Agbaei, which is the flirting, social dance of the Crobos of Ghana. According to Krobo oral history, the elders started the dance when they realized that the young people in their settlement were having trouble with the whole courtship process. They created the dance so that the young men and women of the village would have to participate in the dance and therefore learn some tips that would be useful in their real life.

Bamaaya means “the river (or valley) is wet” and is the most popular dance of the Dagbamba people in northern Ghana. These days it serves as a dance for various social occasions like festivals, national day celebrations and even funerals. However, it began as a religious musical performance. Dancing requires a lot of fitness and flexibility because there is a lot of movement and twisting of the waist. When it first started, it was a dance that only men could participate in, with women singing, shouting praises and encouraging the dancers. Now both sexes can participate in the dance.

Ivy is a stone or thunder god that falls from the sky during or after rain. The people who believe this belong to one of the most secretive and powerful cults in the South East Ewe territories in West Africa. Yeve music has a unique structure that defines it as separate from other Yeve music. Yeve music has seven to nine dance forms or movements, and each movement is associated with a specific phase of worship.

Kete is a dance form found in the royal courts of Akan communities. It is performed only if the chief’s status is such that he is entitled to be carried in the palanquin. Music is performed at state events and festivals. Each performance consists of three parts: 1) drum music 2) pipe interludes 3) vocal analogues of pipe tunes. There are eight pieces in each play. The beats are identified by the type of beat and dance, the commemorative name of the event, or the reference to the participants.

The most popular and well-known traditional musical instrument is the djembe drum. The drum comes from West Africa, where it plays an integral part in musical traditions and culture. The drum is bowl-shaped and covered with animal skin, and is meant to be played with the bare hands. In Mali, the Bamana people say that the name djembe comes from the expression “Anke dje, anke, be”, which translates to “everyone gathers together” and thus precisely defines the purpose of the drum.

The combination of the drum’s bowl shape, skin cover and density means it can produce a wide range of tones, from the high shrill sound produced by a kick to a round full bass tone. To achieve the right sound, it is important to focus or disperse the energy of your hand by placing it in the right place. Striking the center of the drum with your fingers and palm produces a bass note, while striking the drum with the meaty part of your hand produces tone and kick.

The djembe drum is believed to contain three spirits: 1) the spirit of the wood from which it was made, 2) the spirit of the animal from which the skin covering came, and 3) the spirit of the maker of the instrument. Legend has it that the djembe drum and the wood from which it is made were a gift from a genie or evil demigod. A Djembe drum is properly crafted if it is made from a single piece of wood called Dimba or Devil Wood. If it is fastened together from slabs or segments, then it is believed that the spirit of the tree does not live there.

The djembe drum has gained popularity worldwide since the late 20th century. Drum circles are especially popular as team exercises for corporations or businesses. However, to get the full experience, you need the whole ensemble, not just the djembe drums. The entire cast includes bells and dunoon drums individually, playing different parts that combine to form a beautiful whole. There is usually a lead djembe drummer who plays the rhythms and marks the beginning and end of the piece.

Recommended sites:

http://www.gigsalad.com/World-Music/African-Entertainment/index.php

[http://www.geocities.com/bamaaya/africandance1.html]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Djembe

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