Centre for National Culture Collaborates with Department of Music and Dance to Honour Three Fante Folk Musicians

The Centre for National Culture, Cape Coast in collaboration with the Department of Music and Dance, UCC, has honoured three personalities for promoting Fante music in Ghana and abroad.

The three personalities were Mr. Jonathan Anfoh, Mr. Moses Okyir and Mr. Kwamena Pra. These three personalities had not only promoted Fante Folk Music but had trained both students and lecturers from both local and international universities. Each of them received a citation, a bouquet of flowers and other undisclosed gifts in recognition of their meritorious creative works.

The function dubbed “Performance Arts Forum” was on the theme “The Role of Music in the Preservation and Promotion of the Socio-Cultural Values and Norms of Ghana”

Speaking at the awards ceremony, the Central Regional Minister, Kwamena Duncan, said music was a powerful tool that cuts across generations and cultures: to generations. “Music takes the full compensation of man thus the body, soul and mind,” he noted.

Mr. Duncan said in the Bible, music caused God to act to save Paul and Silas from prison. He also said there were several stories in the Bible and other religious books where music had been used to soften the hearts of chiefs.

The Central Regional Minister wondered whether the current generation of musicians were contributing towards promoting the rich Ghanaian culture as well as the socio-economic development of the nation. “Let’s use this platform to promote our cultural values so that we don’t lose track of our rich heritage,”

The Chairman for the function, Dr. Eric Debrah Otchere, of the Music Department, UCC said it was important to celebrate the awardees for the passion and energy they had invested in promoting Fante Folk Music. He criticized the criteria for other award ceremonies which selected musicians on the basis of ‘trivialities’ rather than the moral values and impact they’ve had on people.  He said commended the organizers for selecting the three awardees and stressed how he had personally benefitted from the knowledge, expertise and selflessness of the celebrated musicians. the organisers had observed them for a very long time adding that “I have personally benefitted in so many ways from their performances right from my student days and now as a lecturer”

The Director of CNC, Madam Christiana Carl Oparebea, said before the coming of the early missionaries, Fante people did not derive entertainment from books but developed their joy from imagination through oral knowledge including traditional folk music and dance. “For many it is believed that oral performance is the foundation of traditional Fante music, folktales, proverbs, incantations, teachings, myths, festivals among others” she noted.

Madam Oparebea  noted that in Africa, Folk Music played an important role in the lives of the people and it is always organised within certain contexts such as social, religious, political and economic. She said folk music was handed over from generation to generation. “For instance the Apatampa dance of the Fante people had been used to celebrate chastity among the youth especially teenagers,” she stated.  She said folk music remained as a tool for check and balances in society and it continued to be sung during all manner of traditional activities such as festivals, marriage rites, among others. It is used to honour and appreciate individuals who had contributed towards the overall development of the society.  She used the occasion to express gratitude to UCC for collaborating with CNC to honour these illustrious heroes for championing Fante Folk Music.

A former head of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, Mr. Elolo Garbin, said music and dance played major roles in the lives of the people saying “If you want to know the people, study their dance. In Africa, he/she who dies without knowing the dance did not live”. He called on government to resource the Centre for National Culture in the various regions to help promote the Ghanaian culture. He advocated that staff of the Centre should be attached to the various embassies across the world to give the right education to foreigners who visit these places to learn the Ghanaian culture and traditions. He also called for the need to respect and give due recognition to the performing art.

The Head of the Department of Music and Dance, Dr. Florian Carl, said the Department was proud to partner CNC to honour these three legends who had contributed a great deal of their life to project Fante Folk Music.  He said the Department would continue to collaborate with stakeholders to promote indigenous music and dance as way of preserving the socio-cultural values and norms of Ghana.

The event witnessed some sterling performance from Awuley the Poet, Afrimuda Foundation, Twerammpon Traditionals, Obrempon Folkloric Dance Company, StreetMicMusic Foundation, Divine Brass Band, Ghana National School Choir and Wesley Girls Regimental Band. Also performing at the event were the award winners who treated the audience to danceable tunes from some of their compositions and  folk songs from some tribes in Ghana.