Monday, May 4, 2009

Ghanaba goes home

In the heat of the elections and just six days to the 2nd round election, Ghanaba, who also goes by the honorary title “Odomankoma Kyerema” to wit, The Divine Drummer, silently took in his last breath and passed on into the last next world.

Ghanaba was born Kpakpo Akwei 85years ago but later changed his name to Guy Warren in the United States when he started fusing African drum beats with Western jazz which earned him the credit as the originator of Afro-Jazz.

NewsAfrican-Ghana was at his funeral that was organised at the State House and the cremation ceremony at the Osu Cemetary on Saturday 28th March, 2009 to pay my respect to one of Ghana’s finest musicians and a Pan-Africanist.

People from all shades of persuasions were present, Statesmen, Chiefs and Traditionalists, Buddhists and Hare Krishner followers, entertainers, music researchers and producers, Poets and journalists etc.

Without a doubt, Ghanaba was such a person who significantly identified with the above group of people. Being once a journalist himself, the divine drummer was also a very close friend and father figure to former President of Ghana, J.J Rawlings, who literally stood on at the cremation grounds until he saw the dying embers of his inspirational friend’s pyre. On the following Sunday, the ashes of the jazz great was scattered at his Midie home.

Ghana’s Poetry legend and Secretary-General of the Pan-African Writers Association of Ghana (P.A.W.A), Professor Atukwei Okai recited and dramatized a dirge with intermittent drumming of the “fromtomfrom” drum in praise of Kofi Ghanaba. The dirge, with the title, “An umbilical Totem-Obelisk Concerto for the Divine Drummer” is also dedicated to H.E Maitre Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal, and the late Setheli Ashong-Katai, a distinguished film director, actor and scriptwriter who also passed away on March 17, 2009.



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