Ghana musician and Witch Azizaa weaves spirit into social message

TWH – Sitting on West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea between Togo and Cote d’Ivoire is the nation of Ghana. Taking its independence in 1957, Ghana is home to 28,308,301 people [i], with the largest populations found around the coastal capital region, Greater Accra, and around the city of Kumasi in the Ashanti region. Its official language is English and, according to the Ghana embassy, 72% of its people identify as Christian. But that is a statistical snapshot, and doesn’t tell the nation’s full story. More specifically with regard to religion and culture, Ghana has a rich history that dates back farther than its colonial past, and that spirit still flourishes within its modern existence. Languages, such as Ga, Dagomba, Akan and Ewe are reportedly still spoken by many, even if they are not taught in schools.

Column: Healing to the Beat of a Different Drum

Having been raised in both Cuban culture and in Lukumí (or Santeria), it is impossible for me to underestimate the significance drumming and rhythm in both my cultural expressions and spiritual development. They represent one of the fundamental pillars that create “Cuban-ness.”  My godfather used to say “Los tambores de la tierra tienen que oírse en el cielo.” Very loosely translated, this means, “Play the drums so they are heard in Heaven.” The saying speaks to the vigor and ecstasy with which drums must be played during ceremonies because of their deep and raw power. With little exaggeration, their rhythms have changed and sustained cultures as well as brought forth new musical forms to the world.