Ammasu Akapoma Group

Posted 2013-08-12

In the mid-70’s our family went to Ghana, my wife Prudence to do fieldwork for her doctoral thesis in social anthropology, and I to learn about west african music first hand. In Dormaa we encountered the magnificent chief of Ammasu and the regionally renowned Akapoma band. They invited us and our two small children to stay and study in their village. Our children spoke the language Twi fluently after one and a half years but then forgot it as quickly once back in Sweden.

In Ammasu I learned from Kwame Yeboah and became a member of the Ammasu Akapoma Group, the hottest music provider at funerals around Dormaa-Ahenkro in the Brong-Ahafu region of Ghana.

After 40 years the music in these recordings is as fresh as ever. This booklet mixes translations from the texts sung or spoken with my and Prudence’s comments.

Any important ritual function will open with pouring of libation, that is, drinks for the ancestors, to ensure a successful activity. Aweso music is light and mobile, including more singing and female participation compared to the official ritual music that uses the bigger Fontomfrom and Atumpan drums. Ever so often the texts are concerned with life and death. – Bengt Berger (from the booklet of  ce07)

all records with Ammasu Akapoma Group

more info

There are four albums in all from Ammasu:
Apart from The Music of Ammasu (ce07) with a broad portrait of music in the village, three more mp3-only albums from Ammasu have been released:

cex06 The Music of Ammasu – more drumming
cex07 The Music of Ammasu – more singing
cex08 The Music of Ammasu – analytical drumming

Download the CE07 booklet as pdf.
Reviews from Songlines and The Wire

“Ammasu – an anthropological narrative” by Prudence Woodford-Berger

Video of Atumpan making with music in Ghana 1976:

25 Ammasu pictures:

From the funeral of the Chief of Ammasu, October 2, 2008: