Segments in this Video

Children’s Rhythmic Training (04:47)


A small Ghanaian boy demonstrates a cross rhythm using his teeth and his hands. This rhythmic awareness is part of each child’s training. Children learn cross rhythms with small rhythmic toys.

Cross Rhythm Demonstration (02:48)

Combined with talent, the early training of children in cross rhythms leads to some very impressive results. A "band" of four boys plays complicated cross rhythms with a "fiddle," maracas, and hand clapping.

Drumming Group: Overlapping Rhythms (07:44)

A group of village players demonstrates that the simplicity of each man's rhythms overlap to produce a complex structure that underlies African music. What sounds chaotic at first evolves into mesmerizing pulses and rhythms.

Western Musical Instruments (04:05)

Ghanaian music has not remained as pure traditional drumming. Modern African music also includes guitars from which the cross rhythm "dialogue" can still be heard. In a makeshift music room, homemade drums accompany traditional African hymns.

African Music and Dance (02:56)

Modern African highlife music can also be used to express traditional forms as demonstrated in a popular Ghanaian dance, the sensual "bobobo."

Funeral Music and Dance (04:21)

At a funeral, the Kpanlogo rhythm provides room for improvisation for the dancers to release their emotions about death and the dead. The improvisations allude to moments in the dead person's life.

Music in Africa (04:53)

The word for music is not found in all African languages because music is found everywhere. Even in modern African society, music and singing help make work easier. It is in the silence between the sounds that African music comes alive.

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Listening to the Silence: African Cross-Rhythms

DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



"Africans listen to the silence and use it as a dimension in which they can improvise," observes John Collins, an English musician and the host of this program. Taking off from the peace of nature, the singing cicadas, and the simple routines of the workday, this program explores a kaleidoscope of musical examples from Ghana: children’s games and their musical bands; traditional drums; sensual dances; trance dances; animated funeral music; and many other examples from the Ewe, Ashanti, Ga, and Frafra peoples of Ghana. Throughout the program, the leitmotif is social participation and the strikingly complex rhythmic sensibilities of the people. (33 minutes)

Length: 34 minutes

Item#: BVL6434

ISBN: 978-0-7365-6257-7

Copyright date: ©1996

Closed Captioned

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Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA, Australia, Canada and United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.