Traditional African entertainment makes use of a wide variety of musical instruments, all made with materials found in nature. These instruments include drums, gongs, bells, harps, flutes and xylophones. In African culture music, dance and songs go hand in hand and separating them into distinct categories is practically impossible. Music, dance and song are also an integral part of every culture and it is much more than just a form of entertainment, it is part of their lifeblood and is intrinsic to their way of life. Today, although many Africans no longer live a traditional life but have fully adopted Western cultures and Western influences, they still retain an innate love for music, dance and song.
Some traditional African dances that are still popular to date include:
Agbaei, which is a flirtatious and flirtatious dance of the Krobo of Ghana. According to the oral history of Krobo, the elders began the dance when they realized that the young people in their settlement had problems with the whole process of courtship. They created the dance so that the young men and women of the village would have to participate in the dance and then learn some tips that would help them in real life situations.
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 a variety of social occasions such as festivals, national holidays and even funerals. However, it began as a religious musical performance. Dance requires a great deal of fitness and flexibility as there is a lot of movement in life and twisting. At the beginning it was a dance in which only men could participate, women sang, shouted and encouraged dancers. Now both sexes can take part in the dance.
Yeve is a stone god or thunder that falls from the sky during or after a storm. People who believe that they belong to one of the most secret and powerful cults in the territories of south-eastern Ewas in West Africa. Yeve music has a unique structure that identifies it as separate from the music of Ewe. Yeve music has a series of seven or nine forms or dance movements and each movement is linked to a specific phase of worship.
Kete is a form of dance found in the royal courts of the Akan communities. It is performed only if the state of the head is such that it can be carried in a palanquin. Music is performed on state occasions and festivals. There are three parts to each performance: 1) music for drums 2) interludes for tubes 3) vocal counterpart of the tunes of the tube. There are eight pieces for each show. The pieces are identified by the name for the type of battery and dances made, by the commemorative name of the event or by a name that is indicative of the participants.
The most popular and known traditional musical instrument is the djembe drum. The drum comes from West Africa where it plays a fundamental role in the traditions and musical culture of the area. The drum is goblet-shaped and covered with animal skin and is meant to be played with bare hands. The Bamana people in Mali say that the name djembe derives from the saying “Anke dje, anke, be” which translates to “all come together” and defines so clearly the purpose of the drum.
The combination of the shape of the drum of the drum, the covering of the skin and the density means that it is able to produce a wide range of tones, from a high-pitched sound produced by a slap to a complete round bass tone. To get the right sound it is important to focus or disperse the energy of your hand by placing it in the right place. Hitting the drum with your fingers and the palm towards the center of the drum will produce the bass note, while hitting the drum near the edge with the fleshy part of the palm will produce the tone and slap.
It is believed that the djembe drum contains three spirits: 1) the spirit of the tree from which it was created 2) the spirit of the animal from which the skin cover comes and 3) the spirit of the instrument maker. Legend has it that the drum of the djembe and the tree from which it was made were a gift from a Djinn or evil Demigod. A djembe drum is manufactured correctly if it is made from a single piece of hollow tree called Dimba or Devil Wood. If it has been glued together by lamellas or segments, it is believed that the soul of the tree does not reside there.
The djembe drum has gained worldwide popularity since the late 20th century. The circles of drums are particularly appreciated as team building exercises for companies or companies. To get the full experience, however, you need the whole ensemble and not just the djembe drums. The entire cast includes dunun bells and drums with individuals playing different parts that intertwine to form a beautiful ensemble. Usually it’s a djembe drum player that plays rhythms and signals the beginning and end of a song.