"Bernard Woma In Concert"
Virtuosity and live power from the legendary master of the African "gyil" xylophone.
"Bernard Woma In Concert" features master Ghanaian musician
Bernard Woma, along with percussionists
Mark Stone and Kofi Ameyaw. The group performs traditional Dagara bewaa
and binne music as well as Bernard's original compositions.
Online Now! (from CDBaby.com)
Bewaa is a recreational music which literally translates "you come."
Bewaa music is played at social events where community members come together.
Such events can include but are not limited to: the enstoolment of a chief,
harvest festivals, marriage ceremonies, and naming ceremonies. Bewaa is
also commonly played at pito bars where family and friends gather together
to share in the local brew (pito), song, and dance.
During a performance of recreational Dagara music, everyone present actively
participates. Typically, two xylophones (gyile) and two gourd drums (koi)
are placed in the center with dancers (sebsebiir) moving in a circle around
the musicians. The dancers alternate between a slow stepping motion and
a vigorous dance. During the slower movement, the dancers walk in a circle
while singing. When the xylophonist (gyil-mwiere) plays the "dance
beat" the singing stops, the drumming intensifies, and dancers move
in unison through a sequence of quick, athletic steps. After this vigorous
dancing is completed, the xylophonist changes the music back to the relaxed
walking section and a new song begins. This alternation between song and
dance sections can last for hours, as one section flows into the next
in a seemingly endless composition.
The most advanced forms of gyil music are performed at funerals and other
religious ceremonies. Most Dagara funerals last for three full days. The
gyile and koi are played continuously throughout this three-day ceremony.
When one group of musicians tires, another group quickly replaces them.
Men present at the funeral site gather around the musicians and participate
in dirge singing. At times, a group of men will break away from the singing
to form a line of dancers. These dancers move around a throne-like structure
built out of sticks called a paala that holds the deceased's body. Separate
groups of women also dance to and from the paala throughout the ceremony.
Dagara funeral music and dance are referred to collectively as binne,
which translates "let's stomp." Men and women have distinct
styles of dancing. These dance styles are made up of highly syncopated
leaps and stomps coordinated with the binne music.
At a funeral, a xylophonist begins each session of dirge singing with
a series of fast, unaccompanied runs up and down the gyil. These musical
phrases (chob) establish a pitch center for the singers. The musicians
and dirge singers (sugsug-be) then continue with songs for the deceased
and his or her family. There are specific songs sung for men and specific
songs sung for women, with additional categories of songs for elders,
chiefs, and children. During the funeral ritual, every phrase the xylophonist
plays has literal meaning in the Dagara language. Throughout a funeral
all praises, proverbs, mourning, words of consolation, sympathy, advice,
insults, and commentary are expressed through the music.
In addition to being a leading performer of traditional Dagara music,
Bernard is also great innovator. He regularly creates new compositions
for his instrument, often reflecting on events in his personal life and
in the world around him. He has composed many new works for the gyile
during the past decade. In his compositions, Bernard brings together elements
of traditional Dagara music with new musical concepts developed as a concert
artist playing the gyil on stages throughout the world.
Online Now! (from CDBaby.com)