View Full Version : Can You Imagine Life Without Music?

27th December 2011, 02:37 AM
“Can you imagine life without music?” asks a writer of an article in the Jehovah’s Witness newsletter, AWAKE of August 2011. The feature continues: “Music appeals to virtually the full range of human emotions. It soothes and excites us, uplifts and inspires us…Moreover, because music speaks straight to our hearts, it has power.”

Mr Frazier’s skill of summarising fine, borrowed thoughts is not equal to these beautiful, flowing sentiments expressed about music. He can only quote so that his readers are not short-changed.

Many individuals can attest to their experiences on occasions when they are levitated to heights of love, valour and piety by my music. The stirring sounds of church hymnals, the lively expression of feelings in pop songs, the throbbing appellations of the kete drums and the ear drum-piercing jingles of the tambourine transport the individual beyond his normal mood. So much of it can be high decibel noise. Nevertheless they speak to the soul.

On his birthday in September when this scribe was in a typical Virgo sentimental mood, he drew a list of the major benefits he has had from music. This compilation which he titled, “Mr Frazier’s Elixir of Music,” covered two foolscap sheets. As an act of prioritising the benefits, he played a game of solitaire with this list and was pleasantly amused with what came out tops.

Of the music and accompanying dances which currently work on Mr Frazier’s soul, the azonto is unparalleled. This may be due to the fact that he listens to this simple, repetitive beat played and danced everyday for his granddaughter Anima who derives boundless excitement from it. Of greater joy is seeing the little one flap her tiny arms and squeak breathlessly. The joy in her eyes is infectious.

The aspect of the azonto lyrics that makes it such a joy to listen to is the degree of improvisation allowed in the songs.
Mr Frazier’s pick of the azonto songs is Ye nko, a sung by Nyebro Efo Eduwoji. Part of the lyrics contains the following lines in Anlo:
“N’enye dekakpia
Alime nese nawo
N’enye detugbia
Alime nese nawo”
Freely translated into English it says,
“If you are a young man
Let your waist be strong
If you are a young lady
Let your waist be strong”

The lines, as simple as they sound, are highly idiomatic as a strong waist can mean hard work. It can also allude to the gusto with which one performs any action that requires vigorous waist movements. One needs to watch the vigour of the dance to know what interpretation to put on the words.
The other day the JSS girl who sings for Anima infused this song with politics, heard no doubt from school.
She sang: N’enye Atta Mills a

Tame ne se nawo
N’enye Akufo-Addo a
Tame nese nawo

This version is saying that if you are the Head of State, your head should be strong. That’s how far azonto can inspire bravery and firmness in leaders. Mr Frazier finds this version of Ye nko a very apt as a New Year Demand - not a New Year Wish - on the flag bearers of any of the parties likely to win the 2012 elections.

The usefulness of this demand on political leaders is long overdue. Hitherto the attitude towards the laws of the land is premised on voting against a leader as punishment for being “headstrong” or firm on law enforcement. A firm leader is accused of taking actions that lack a human face and so must suffer the wrath of the people at the poll.

Listen to the hawkers who are driven off the pavements of our city centres. Their first port of call is the red cloth seller. Clad in this red garb of intimidation, they besiege the mayor’s office bawling invectives and daring him, “We aren’t going anywhere. We do our business on the pavements to feed our children and pay their school fees.” It is taking ages to relocate the squatters of Sodom and Gomorrah to the designated settlement because the human face of the law demands no action. While the people make it impossible for strong Government action, the Opposition watches, gleefully stoking little fires here and there hoping to profit from a Government backlash at the poll.

On many occasions well-educated people and opinion leaders are heard saying that Ghanaians need behavioural change when what they in fact are saying is that there should be tougher law enforcement. They dare not say so plainly because it is convenient to hide behind this misconceived concept they lovingly called democracy which to them is all rights and no responsibilities.

The other day, there was a discussion on TV and a contributor phoned in to express his views on galamsey mining and its damage to the environment. He made the point that precious metals were of no value if they lay buried in the bowels of the earth. “We need to mine them to feed ourselves. Not everyone can be a farmer. Some should mine the gold.

The galamsey people should be left in peace.” The previous day market women who were trading on the railway line went on a rowdy protest march against the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and the next day they swarmed back to continue their trading on the rails.

Someone expressed the wish that the winner of the 2012 polls would take the conscious decision to lose the 2018 polls. This, the party would do, by enforcing every single law to the letter and run this country so well that she would be voted out in four years. The benefit for a country so run would be a Singapore, Switzerland or a Tokyo where the people pay their taxes, the trains run on time and the city centres and markets appear civilised.

Yes, Atta Mills and Akufo-Addo, let your heads be strong, so exhorts Yen nko koaa.

Source: Joe Frazier/D-Graphic