Samuel Agbodeke

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Name: Samuel Agbodeke
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Place of Birth: Dagbamete
Place of Residence: Dagbamete
Education: Recently completed secondary school and has applied to university to become a doctor

K: How old are you?
S: I was born 1990, so I am twenty years.
K: And do you have a job, or are you a student?
S: I am a student, yeah.
K: What are you studying?
S: I have completed SS now and I want to go to University. I want to learn (unintelligible) or a doctor.
K: Good for you! And Supa is your dad?
S: Yes, he is my father.
K: Do you play music?
S: Yeah I used to play.
K: What kind of music?
S: Like our local ones or?
K: Traditional?
S: Yes our traditional music that they play.
K: Do you sing and dance?
S: Yes, I sing and dance. Well, I dance, but my voice is not good to sing, I used to dance.
K: Yeah! Me too, I don’t like to sing.
S: I dance a lot but singing is not good because of my voice.
K: What is your favourite traditional dance? Do you have one you like the most?
S: Agbadza
K: That’s a cool one. How old were you when you started drumming and dancing?
S: Actually, over here because of our shrine, so when you are a kid you used to have a one, Achocobo. So you start from your childhood until you are... so as you are growing up you are learning. I was like 3 or 4 years when I started playing achocobo. As of now I am used to it now.
K: So do you play in the shrine sometimes?
S: Yeah I used to play sometimes, but not the long ones. I used to play the smaller kidis, suguay and koyay, I used to have these ones. But not any more
K: Okay, cool. And do you like non-traditional music? Are you into hiplife or highlife?
S: Oh I like hiplife and highlife, I especially like those foreign songs like the (Koo?) ... I used to play cool songs throughout, at times I used to play reggae songs, I put Bob Marley, I like them a lot.
K: Do you get a lot of that music here in the village?
S: In the village actually, we don’t have any machines here, so I have to get it from my friends at school, and play, after that, send it back to them.
K: There’s no highlife music groups here, are there? It’s all traditional? There are no bands that get together and play?
S: No, no, it is all traditional.
K: That’s interesting. Why do you think there is no highlife, just because traditional is so strong?
S: Not because traditional is strong, but it’s like... our village here, most of our people they are grown-up persons. They don’t know what is this highlife and they are doing traditional songs, so they like this traditional songs. But because we are students, because of our educational background, we used to like hiplifes and (koo?). Because my dad would not like this hiplife and pop, he may prefer traditional songs more than hiplifes and other things. Because when you are playing drums, you don’t usually go back. Our mothers and fathers they are acting the drums and that, but because we are young guys we like that kind of music.
K: Do you think when you are older, you’re still going to like hiplife and highlife or will you only like traditional songs?
S: Yeah, that’s how it is! When we are playing these traditional songs, our grandfathers are acting it back. But when you are playing music, it can also go to music side, so we prefer...
K: Are most people your age from the village, are they mostly in the city now, are they mostly in Accra? Like you don’t see a lot of people who are your age here, like 20 or so. Do most of them go to Accra or do they go somewhere else for school?
S: Accra? Oh they go somewhere else for post-school, other works. So vacations here we come down to the village, and when school is in we go back.
K: Have you always lived in Dagbamete or have you ever lived elsewhere?
S: Back there I was in school, I used to go there and come back. So now I am staying in this place.
K: You went to school in Accra?
S: No, I have studied at (unintelligible). So I am making some reviews now, so now if I am doing my reading I am going back to school again, to city. And when I and there, after vacation I will come back.
K: And when you were at Secondary School, is there a lot of traditional music there or was everyone listening to all hiplife and highlife?
S: At school? We have a culture group and drumming groups. Unless we ourselves have our own sound systems, but the school set up a culture group that we used to play. So we used to play, at times they would call all the schools in the district and have a competition. This or that school would present its culture groups, some would play drums or drama. And they would award one group the highest one.
K: Was your secondary school far from this village?
S: Yeah it is far, maybe one hour.
K: Did you find that there was a difference? Did their gahu and agbadza have different styles?
S: Yeah, yeah, they had very different styles. There was a difference for how the person teach you. It is harder for a person to teach you when it is different, sometimes the sound or the songs is different. Sometimes people would play their own songs just to match to the music.
K: So you just have to do whatever the teacher says?
S: At school we had a master to teach the culture groups and drumming
K: Do you think that when you go to University you will find cultural groups to do traditional music with, or you will focus on your studies?
S: No... I think, I know some of them but not all. But I will not join traditional song or culture groups. Even though I will learn it, I will not make it my major focus.
K: So, is it something you do when you’re here because that is what everyone does, or because you yourself really like it?
S: I really like dance really. Music is something we use to fill our time. Traditional songs, some of them they used to motivate, so when you are sitting there and singing it, it used to do something for us. For example, our traditional spirit, the shrine? The songs that are there, when you are not feeling well, and you sing it, the songs will make you feel better. I used to learn protectives and other things, but not to use like Kwasi.
K: People to come to shrine from all over the place right?
S: Yeah, people come from everywhere. We...
K: Do people ever bring new music to the shrine or do you always play the same traditional?
S: We used to play the shrine, drum at the shrine we used to play throughout, and we used to change it, change it change it. And during that time, because we have different kinds of gods there are drums that you play for those gods. So those gods used to come down and play their own drum, on Sundays they do that. We would play traditional songs throughout. There are some gods whose drums are different from ours.
K: Have you ever gone to another shrine?
S: You don’t go to any shrine, because we believe in our spirit, it is our specific. We don’t go to any shrine for protection or anything.
K: When you’re going to university, are you going to come back to go to shrine?
S: On vacation I will come back to the shrine to worship, and then I will go back. Because it is protecting me. When I go to the school, some things may go wrong, so I will have to come back and check. Our shrine, it is very good, when you obey its rules things will go okay. Unless you come down and check to see what you are doing wrong, you may have problems. There at school, they have different kinds of people, we don’t know where they are coming from, sometimes we Africans tempt each other so we have to be careful.

Interviewed by mackenzie Gordon on August 9th, 2010.

Back to interview listing

Group interview with Samuel Agbodeke and Aglago Koblyee Lot

Group interview with Samuel and Yaogah Robert Agbodeke