Contesting silence : the ban on drumming and the musical politics of Pentecostalism in Ghana

TitleContesting silence : the ban on drumming and the musical politics of Pentecostalism in Ghana
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsR.A. van Dijk
Secondary TitleGhana studies
Pagination31 - 64
Date Published2001///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsBaptist Church, diaspora, drumming, fieldwork, Ghana, Pentecostalism, traditional festivals, violence

During the Fourth Republic in Ghana there has been an unprecedented growth in Pentecostalism. The chief message of Pentecostalism is the contestation of tradition. It encourages members to abandon the past and traditions and to adopt a completely new way of life, unemcumbered by the sins of the ancestors. Their rejection of their heritage has erupted into violence in Accra, largely as the result of their transgressing of the ban on drumming and silence during the Homowo Festival. This is an ancient Ga ritual which requires silence and tranquility for more than a month after the ritual planting of the crops. Music, mostly adapted Western music, is essential to Pentecostal services but their pursuit of it during the period of ritual silence led to a violent attack on one of their chapels. On the basis of fieldwork carried out in Accra and among a diaspora community in The Hague, the author draws some conclusions about a number of dialogues which are going on at different levels, more numerous and more complicated than what would appear to have been a fairly simple dispute about the transgressing of ritual silence. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]

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Citation Key1017