Name: Joe Dunyo aka Jonathan Dots
Age: 26 years old
Place of Residence: Dagbamete
Education: Degree in Computer Science (online)
Occupation: Student and part time website designer
Jonathan Dots is one of Kwasi’s sons. He says that music today is associated with certain days and events such as funerals, and emphasized the “quality of worship” at the shrine and that Christianity has not influenced the practices there. He told me that the crowds at events have become larger in recent years, increasing the need for amplifying the voices. This is why speakers were used at the funeral during our visit to Dagbamete.
Jonathan says that there is no generation gap between the youth and the elders in terms of music. However, at the same time he explained that he did not know how to play Gahu until Kwasi taught students such as us from North America. He also explained that younger members of the community have begun to associate with the rest of the adults in order to listen to their 'own' music.
Jonathan likes "Kpanlogo" dancing and when asked to choose his favorite between Zigi, Kpanlogo and Gahu, he prefers Zigi." He describes it as very simple but still likes it. Hip-life and hip-hop came to the area in the 80s. He only likes listening to these kinds of music when he is in the city, not in the village. This music was not present when he was young and it has spread through CDs and cassettes, which are readily available at the market.
According to Jonathan, it is more difficult for those who have farms and gardens to attend ceremonies. These occupations require more time. He explained that those who come to Dagbamete from North America dance very differently. He likes to learn dancing from those who visit the village. He uses the radio primarily to listen to soccer matches, and likes listening to jazz and country music. He explained that he was exposed to these two genres on the internet.
Interviewed by Patrick Smith on 27 July 2008
Music is a tradition that runs in his family, so Joe started learning traditional music when he was very young. He learnt music from his father, Professor Kwasi, and from the shrine in Dagbamete. He used to fool around the drums when he was a child, which was a good way to explore different techniques and sounds in playing on his own. Since there is no nightclub in the village, the traditional music is only entertainment. So he grew up with music. And his exact words were:” Without music, without Joe.”
There is a subtle musical development in Dagbamete, such as the emergence of new songs due to new events. However, the songs that are passed from previous generations still contain the same text and meaning. One thing he did notice about the village is the impact of the youth. They are very empowering, so it is difficult to compete with them. When they are dancing traditional dance, they do it with an immense amount of energy, but the elders get tired very fast. In addition, when the youth are learning traditional dances from the elders, they change and make the movements to be sharper and stronger.
Joe described Dagbamete to be a peaceful place that is welcoming and inviting to all. The people that live here are very friendly, and they love to share jokes with everyone. It is hard to get the Dagbamete residents mad, because they are all very kind and good hearted people. The one thing that distinguishes Dagbamete from the other villages is its togetherness. The people are all one here - One thinking, one value, one solution
Interviewed by Linda Sun August 3, 2009