Ewe Dances: Adzogbo dances

Adzogbo originated from Benin (Dahomey) as a Dzovu (spiritual/religious) music and dance). It was called Dzovu, in that during any performance, the men participants would display their dzoka (juju/charms) especially the so-called “love charms” to seduce women. When this music was brought to Togo and later Ghana in the late 19th century, its function changed. The southeastern Ewe of Ghana now performs it for entertainment during festivals and other social occasions. The women’s’ section or phase of the dance is called Kadodo.

Ewe Dances: Atsiagbekor Dance

Atsiagbekor is among the oldest traditional dances of the Ewe-speaking people of Southern Ghana, Togo, and Benin. Originally a war dance performed after battle when the warriors returned to the village, it is now performed on many social occasions. One of the outstanding features of the dance is the interaction between the master drummer and the dancers: ‘every rhythmic theme played on the master drum has a corresponding sequence of dance movements which is timed to precisely match the drum rhythms” (Locke, 1978). Atsiagbekor songs constitute an important heritage of Ewe oral tradition. Most of the songs contain historical references to their chiefs, war leaders, migration stories, themes relating to the invincibility of the Ewes against their enemies, themes of loyalty, bravery, and death etc. To watch an Atsiagbekor performance today in Ghana is to watch scenes, which may have their actual origins in battles that were fought as the Ewes trekked through hostile countries in search of peace.

Ewe Dances: Agbadza Dance

Agbadza is among the oldest musical types performed by the Southern Ewe of Ghana, Togo, Benin, and parts of Southwestern Nigeria. Agbadza is derived from an older war dance known as Atrikpui. As a social and recreational music and dance, its performance is open to everybody in the community, irrespective of class, age, sex, and religion. There are other varieties of this musical type that have different names: Kini, Akpoka, Ageshie, and Agba– tempo being the main distinguishing factor among these varieties. There are five sections or movements in Agbadza performance: 1. Banyinyi- a short introductory piece that is performed as a prayer to the gods and the ancestors, 2. Vutsortsor- the main dance section, 3. Adzo- a less-vigorous dance section, during which only the master drum, Sogo, accompanied by Gankogui and Axatse are used, 4. Hatsatsa- song cycle, during which topical, historical, philosophical, and reflective songs are performed accompanied by Gankogui and Atoke, 5. Vutsortsor- another round of the main dance section, which may last for several hours.

Ewe Dances: Boborbor Dance

The joy on achieving Independence in Ghana was expressed in various ways by the entire populace of the country. This “new life” envisaged, resulted in the emergence of several new musical types. These new creations relating to the “freedom” to be enjoyed through the said independence have roots in the popular Ghanaian Highlife. Boborbor is one of such musical creations of the period 1947 – 1957. Also known as Agbeyeye or Akpese; Boborbor originated from Kpando in the Volta Region of Ghana through the ingenuity of the late Francis Cudjoe Nuatro popularly called F.C. Boboobo is presently the most popular social music and dance of the central and northern Ewes of Ghana and Togo. It is generally performed at funerals and other social occasions. Boborbor music and dance ceremony is syncretic in character and it is performed principally in a circular formation.