African Traditional Music Essay

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Music is a common cultural element in every society. In African, music forms the backbone of our cultural heritage in that it permeates all our daily activities. The African is born, named, initiated, fortified, fed, nurtured and buried with music (Aduonum, 1980). African traditional music goes beyond mere entertainment. In most African countries, traditional music were used in the past to store history by rhyming the words. It was also used to remember patterns if any, in a particular work. An example is the Ghanaian traditional song, Krohinkro which was used to remember the patterns in Kente weaving. Others like ‘Ye ene abre Koo’ which literally means ‘Our eyes are red’ were sang by the youths in a community when confronting chiefs and elders of the community as a way of achieving social order. ‘Agbadza’ of the Ewes on the other hand was used in wars.
Like other African countries, Ghanaian transcultural music have been adapted over the years to suite the emerging generations. These adaptations in Ghanaian transcultural music can be divided into three epochs.
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The southern part of Ghana was introduced to foreign regimental brass band music, the classical and ballroom music of Western orchestras and, guitar and accordion music of foreign seamen. These music genre were further indigenised to form Ghanaian popular music genre such as Adaha and konkoma marching band music, the coastal osibisaaba and rustic odonson guitar styles as well as street music by local elites ballroom dance orchestras which was in the 1920s referred to as “Highlife” (meaning high-class life). By the 1940s highlife had become a generic term for all these new forms of Ghanaian music whether played by brass bands, guitar bands or dance orchestras

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