While eating lunch at the Afia Beach Hotel in the capital city of Accra this past summer, some students in our Study in Ghana group noticed a group of musicians at a nearby table. One of them had what looked like a kora, a traditional stringed instrument commonly found in Mali, Guinea, Senegal, The Gambia and other countries in West Africa. This man turned out to be none other than Adama Dembele de Zoumba, a well-known griot (master musician/vocalist/storyteller) from Burkina Faso, Ghana’s neighbor to the North.
Mr. Dembele was in Ghana for a performance that night at the University of Ghana in nearby Legon. He had stopped at the Afia with his trio — which included a hand percussionist from Ghana and a vocalist from Nigeria — for the hotel’s delicious fare and amazing views of the water. We also learned that the instrument he played was in fact a kamale ngoni, similar to the kora, but with fewer strings and a slightly different basic construction.
Since we were staying at the hotel for the next couple days, we arranged for him to come back with his group the following day to give us a private performance and workshop. The above footage was taken at the event. I chose this particular clip because it is a wonderful example of using an antiphonal structure — commonly referred to as call-and-response — to help blur the boundary between audience and performer.