Segments in this Video

Traditional Ways of Dagbon Village (03:34)


Villagers in Dagbon use old traditions in making handcrafted items. Drummers play at the market where there are many people. The drummers praise people and families to gain respect.

Drums Praise the Chief (04:23)

Chieftaincy is the way of life in the village. Drummers praise the chief and his forefathers with their music. Sometimes the drums make the chief happy and he will dance.

Maya Dance (04:23)

The Maya is the man's dance, derived from movements originated to ward off mosquitoes. The elders know the dance and teach it to the young ones.

Old Ways of Life in Dagbon (02:22)

Tradition is deeply rooted in the village. The people know their way of life was handed down to them and will hand it down to generations after them.

Drums at Village Ceremony (04:12)

Drums are played during a village gathering. A lamb or a chicken is sacrificed for the chief. This segment depicts a real animal sacrifice.

Drums Tell a Family History (02:32)

The drums beat out a family's history, telling the chief the story of their elders' lives and deaths. The drums and dance tell stories of great chiefs and the wars they fought.

Language of Dance in Dagbon (02:37)

Each villager can dance the way they want. Special ceremonial dancers will dance at gatherings like funerals.

Dagbon's Original Drummer (02:16)

The tradition of drumming is handed down by Dagbon's first chiefs.

Children, Dance, and Laughter (03:00)

Children have a simple dance that makes the adults happy. Dancing makes laughter and where there is laughter, everyone is happy.

Dagbon Villagers Gather at a Funeral (04:05)

Months after one dies, the village gathers for the 'final funeral.' Money is shared among the drummers. Drumming helps end worry and spread happiness. The villagers dance until daybreak.

Drums and Songs for Peace (01:20)

Drumming is important work. It brings people together. Songs help people live with one another in peace. Music is handed down to the children to help them.

Damba Festival (02:42)

The villagers celebrate the birth of Mohammed each year at the Damba Festival. The chiefs gather in ceremonial dress and pay respects to the head chief.

Dance of Strength (01:47)

Some chiefs and elders ride horses to the festival and dance outside the head chief's house. The chief's soldiers dance the dance of strength.

Dancing at the Damba Festival (01:39)

The drummers invite everyone to dance at the Damba Festival, including the chief. The dance makes everyone happy.

Dagbon's Hope for Peace (01:45)

When the dancing is finished, a procession accompanies the Damba home. They hope to have peace and happiness and to see each other at the festival next year.

Wisdom in the Drum (01:20)

The people hold their ancestors' wisdom inside their drum. They are grateful that the drumming tradition is passed down and not let go. People will die, but wisdom does not; it can be handed down.

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The Drums of Dagbon

Part of the Series : Repercussions: A Celebration of African-Influenced Music
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



Dagbon, a 500-year-old kingdom located in northern Ghana, has an elaborate royal hierarchy in which each member has his own orchestra of "talking drums." This program, filmed on location in a group of villages surrounding Dagbon’s regional capital, explores the ritual use of drum music at every milestone of life. The roles of the master drummers—born into their calling and rigorously trained from childhood—as entertainers, historians, and moral guardians of their culture are also examined. Performers include Issahaku Abdulai, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulai, Fuseini Alhassan, and Fuseini Tia. (58 minutes)

Length: 59 minutes

Item#: BVL10510

ISBN: 978-0-7365-6550-9

Copyright date: ©1984

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.