West African Stories: Nungua, Ghana: Bobo Festival (2000)

In the month before the Festival no one is allowed to play drums, bells or shakers in respect to the gods. As I’ve come to Ghana for a drumming intensive I meet this news with much apprehension! After consultation with the village elders it is agreed that drums covered with two thick towels and filled with a pillow should provide enough sound proofing to keep the watchful Gods at rest. Over the month, my hard earned calluses retreat, the neighbourhood seems strangely quiet and I wait impatiently for the Fetish people to signal the end of the musical hiatus with their ceremonial bells and song. Finally, draped in green vine and painted chalky white, they dance trance like to polyrhythmic bells. Libation is poured and the familiar sound of the rhythm Kpele signals a return to the rich musical feast that permeates society here.

– Simon

Kolomashi