Name: Amuzu Dunyo
Age: 21 years old
Place of Residence: Native of Dagbamete, lives in Tema
Occupation: Private University studying Accounting
Over the course of my stay in Dagbamete, I spoke with Amuzu formally and informally about music in the village and his experience with it. Like Angelina, Amauzu learned music in the same way and the traditions were passed on through the same means. At the funeral that was held in Dagbamete Amuzu and his brother joined in playing instruments, as they also did both of the shrine rituals on the two Sundays we were visiting. Accoridng to him, anyone can play the instruments at these events, and everyone knows how to play the smaller parts of those songs played at the events Dotse his brother and him would not be able to play the master drum, but he says they all learn to play the basic parts as a child. Even as a young man, the respect for the music still exists as it does with the children. These men went to the community dance event which took place on the Thursday prior to the funeral; to watch others dance and to take part in the music. He says that music in the village is part of the social fabric of the community. The music is fun for everyone to put it simply. They enjoy going to different events plying music, and taking part in any way. Even dancing he says is both fun entertaining and a way in which they can boast their skills. One of the women in the village is over 100 years old and can dance better than the 18 year olds he described.
Because he went to a private school, I wondered if the songs he learned would be different than that learned by the children in the public schools. He said that no, the history of the people is the same and thus the texts of the songs and the moves are similar. He said especially as children, they learn the same small songs and dances and can interact with music regardless of the school they are from. Even the little hop, jump, clap game they play is done all over. Not just in the area but in Accra, in Tema and anywhere. I have even seen children playing this game/ dance in other places we have visited so I can back up this statement.
Amuzu said that the traditional music is very important to him and allows him to express who he is, but it’s not the only music he connects with. As a lover of the reggae/ hip-hop songs of local artists and those from Nigeria, he spends a lot of his time listening to music. This music is very different from the traditional music, but they do not compete. The traditional songs are important and he will always remember them because ancestors pass them down and so he holds tremendous respect for them. The popular songs he may listen to far more often, and dance to in the clubs on a more regular basis, but they will never compete with the traditional songs in the same way. He feels strongly that the music of the village won’t be lost, because the children even today are still interested in learning, and even more so because of the changes in the village over the years. With visitors like us coming along, it communicates the songs for a whole different group of people, making it better known beyond the confines of the village. Even as more people move to the cities, they bring with them their knowledge of the music, which surely will be passed to others along the way. Music plays a large role in Amuzu’s life, but more as a result of the social uses of popular music today. He listens to music on a daily basis, though not the music of his tradition. Nonetheless, while played less frequently, the music of his culture still holds the biggest place in his memory and is by far more important of the two types of music which he listens to.
Interviewed by Katie Berg on August 8th, 2010.