The Dagomban and Ewe People of Africa Essay

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The Dagomban and Ewe People of Africa

While studying the various cultural societies in Africa, one feature that stood out the most was that of rhythmic dependance and integration, particularly in the Ewe and Dagomba people. These two cultures, living not vastly far apart from one another geographically, both use drumming, dancing, and singing as a way to bring together their communities, fulfill spiritual practices and beliefs, and even instantiate individual power in their overall societal structures. Though they certainly have their own differences from one another, such as their overall uses for music and the acceptance of whom can even perform it, their similarities stuck out to me like a sore thumb.
The regions of Togo and Volta, in Ghana, Africa, are the common home of the Ewe people. With strong emphasis on communal ethos as well as lineal importance, the Ewe are a very intricate and fascinating ethnic group with both strong spiritual, religious views, as well as the inclusion of an incredibly dense and significant musical culture. In their society, members of each lineage share rights and obligations with one another, though, the elders of the communities carry both secular and sacred authority. Spiritually, the Ewe people believe in a supreme being, Mawu, the creator God, as well as Se, of whom is said to be the maker and keeper of human souls. Even the music culture has spiritual ties. Ewe musicians, particularly drummers, will say their source of talent is in direct correlation to their ancestors spirit that they have inherited and, as reincarnations of these talented ancestors, it is their destiny to pursue this musical role.
Agbekor, translating to “clear life”, is an ancient form of singing and drumming, pla...

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...Ewe, we see that historically it's reflected on their conflicted past, and used as a tool to help carry them through tough battles, and now, a tool used to carry the dead into the after-life. The Dagomba on the other hand, see historical significance in their music, reflecting on historical events and praising significant figures.


Kinney, Sylvia. May, 1970. Drummers in Dagbon: The Role of the Drummer in the Damba Festival. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Agawu, Kofi. 2007. The communal ethos in African performance: ritual, narrative and music among the northern ewe. Trans. Revista Transcultural de Música: 0.

Titon, Jeff T. February 12, 2008. Africa/Ewe, Mande, Dagbamba, Shona, BaAka. In Worlds of Music An Introduction to the Music of the World's Peoples. Belmont:Schirmer Cengage Learning.

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