Similarities Between Ewe And Dagomban Americans

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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, …show more content…

In some ways similar to uses of Agbekor, the drummers tell historical stories and occurrences with their drums, similar to how the Ewe would express themselves after war, telling of there experiences. The overall instrumental density of the various Dagomba songs seem to be less than that of the Ewe, but that's not to say it's any less in depth. Their are two kinds of primary drums played in these performances; the gung-gong and the lunga. Firstly is the gung-gong, a cylindrical, carved wooden drum with a snare on each of the two heads. The lunga, specifically made from cedarwood, takes the shape of an hourglass with leather cords strung on the sides of the body. The lunsi drummers put tension on these chords while drumming in order to tonally alter the sounds it makes. In the hands of a master drummer, the lunga drum can produce sounds that imitates the Dagomba spoken language, Dangbanli. Performances such as the “Nag Biegu”, or “ferocious wild bull,” is just one of the many commonly found Praise Name Dances or “salima,” throughout their music-culture. This one in particular praises Naa Abudu, a king of Dagbon during the 1800's, acknowledging him for his strong courageous and leadership traits. Slow, loud, bass driven drum beats are used in a call-and-response manner, responding to the praising vocals performed by the leading lunga drummer. Where as the Ewe drumming tends to consist of many layers of drumming, all centered around the playing of a bell, the rhythmic patterns of the praise song work almost as “hook” in a pop song, being more catchy and memorable. The intricacy is in how it all operates together, like an interwoven

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