Ashanti: Music & Dances


Adowa is by far the most widespread and frequently performed social dance of the Akan people of Ghana. The Akan are located in Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Central and parts of the Volta Regions of Ghana. It is best described in Akan musical traditions as a women’s dance because they dominate the performance. The few men that are seen during any performance handle the musical instruments. This dance is mostly performed at funerals, but can also be seen at yearly festivals, visits of important dignitaries, and other celebrations.

Adowa Drum and Dance. Video

Nnwonkoro – A Female Song Tradition of the Akan of Ghana

Adowa Singing with bells.  Audio

Adowa Singing and Drumming. Audio




Asaadua was once a popular recreation musical type among the Akan people of Ghana. Its performance is now limited to some few communities in Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions. Like other popular entertainment music, which evolves from the ingenuity of some veteran traditional musicians, Asaadua started as a youth recreational music for the men of the Akan tradition. The name Assadua evoving from the Asaa tree, relates to the gay and pleasant nature of the dance. The Asaa is a sweet fruit tree commonly found in forest region of Ghana. One therefore would be tempted to conclude that Asaadua is a dance for sheer enjoyment and pleasure.

  • Instrumentation
  • Nnawuta Double Bell
  • Firikyiwa Pod Bell
  • Adawura Slit Bell
  • Torowa Rattle
  • Donno Hour glass drum
  • Tamalin x 3 Small, medium and large.


Fontomfrom or Bomaa is the most complex of all musical types of the Akan of Ghana. It is a series of warrior dances that are performed in religious, ceremonial and social contexts at the courts of chiefs.



Kete is commonly found in the royal courts of traditional Akan communities. It is performed in the courts of every chief whose status entitles him to be carried in a palanquin. The music therefore can be heard on state occasions and festivals. There are three parts of the performance: Drum music, pipe interludes, and vocal counterpart of the pipe tunes. At least, eight pieces are played during a performance. These pieces are identified by the general name for the type of drumming and dancing, by name of its usual context, function or general character, by name commemorative of an event, or by name indicative of the participants. Adaban also called Topre is used when the chief has to perform the ceremonial “shooting dance”. Apente is used mostly for processions.



Form of drumming and dance at one time popular throughout the Akan area. The dance was descibed to me by my teacher a ‘haughty’. It laughs at the Ashatis that come back from the south. Met white people and now think they are better than the rest of us. They are ‘haughty’. The dance show how they walk with their walking sticks and umbrellas.


Sanga is one of recreational musical types of the Ashanti-Akan of Ghana. The instruments used in this ensemble and their specific rhythms suggest northern Ghana, Dagbamba origins. The dance may be called a “chase” – it is gay and flirtatious. The women dancers wear bustles to attract the men.


Sikyi is a recreational music and dance of the youth of Ashanti. It originated in the 1920s but became very popular around Ghana’s Independence in 1957. It is performed in the vein of Kpanlongo of the Ga of Accra and Boboobo of the Northern Ewe of the Volta Region of Ghana. Sikyi is seen principally at social gatherings where the youth solely express themselves in courtship. It is flirtatious in character. Its characteristic form is the strutting and bobbing up and down and a display of theatrical elegance.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *