Drums and drum languages as cultural artifacts of three Asafo Companies of Oguaa Traditional Area of Ghana

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Drums and drum languages, as cultural artifacts, are very pivotal in the Asafo system as far as their activities in the various communities are concerned. However, much documentation has not been done on Asafo drums and their drum languages. Therefore, it is imperative to document the types of drums used by the Asafo groups as well as their aesthetic aspects hence the title “Drums and Drum Languages as Cultural Artifacts of Three Asafo Companies of Oguaa Traditional Area of Ghana”. Interviews, direct observation, recording (audio and video) and description techniques were used to obtain all relevant data as well as accessing the knowledge and understanding of the drum languages from the prospective respondents. The research revealed that Asafo drums are a set of four but only one, that is the Asafokyin (tuaakwan), is used to perform all drum languages. Again, members of the various selected Asafo communities and even some members of the Asafo groups do have foreknowledge about Asafo drum languages but cannot interpret or comprehend some of the drum languages. The decline in the natural role of the Asafo activities due to modern governance system, western religion, elitism and so on has greatly affected the use and performance of the drums and drum languages respectively. A documentation and translation of the drums and drum languages by the respective Asafo are highly recommended. Institutions like schools, radio and television stations and IT companies have been encouraged to use digitized drum languages as part of their system to enhance the fore knowledge and understanding of Asafo drum languages as well as the drum as a cultural artifact. This is an eighty-nine page thesis by Johannes Atta Sam (BA IRAI) and supervised by Dr. Stephen Kquofi (PhD. African Art and Culture).
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in African Art and Culture, 2014