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.

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