Walking with Asafo in Ghana
Title Details

304 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

107 illus.

Series: Eastman/Rochester Studies Ethnomusicology

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Walking with Asafo in Ghana

An Ethnographic Account of Kormantse Bentsir Warrior Music

by Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
The first full-length study of the musical pasts of Asafo warrior associations based on the author's "ways of walking" with local scholars along the Ghanaian littoral.
What is Asafo ndwom (music)? How and when is it performed? What is the state of this warrrior tradition that once served as the bedrock of the Akan, Ewe, and Ga societies in Ghana? How does Asafo enact the past and serve as an archive for the people? In an attempt to answer these questions, Walking with Asafo in Ghana investigates the musical pasts of Asafo. The book is an ethnography of walking, organized into eight chapters. Each chapter ends with a piece of creative writing in the author's "ethnographic voice," in which she sums up the main ideas. It is Aduonum's attempt at an anticolonial and decolonialist African musicology, one that subverts and decenters white racial framing of research, analysis, and presentation, disrupting how Euro-American concepts frame our ways of telling and experiencing ndwom.

Aduonum's goal on this trajectory is to tell her story, create something new, and chart a new path. Through this fluid and complex book, she repositions African Elders' knowledge as "epistemologies of decolonization and de-coloniality" and centers the stories shared by local Fante scholars. The text is polyvocal, multimodal, multiperspective, performative, reflexive, and dialogic, informed by the structure of Asafo ndwom, appellations, proverbs, her mentors' tellings, and "embodied" calling and responding. It is a performative scholarly discourse, ndwom-based: a performance. As a celebration of Asafo, those warriors who insisted their lives matter, the text is meant to be read and performed.
Nkankyee | Summoning Asafo


Part 1. Walking into the Past
1. Walking for Asafo: Entangled Meanings, Abakosem Awakenings
2. Knocking: History Walking
3. Memory Walking: A Haptic Way of Knowing

Part II. Walking with Women
4. Walking with Women at Kokoado Hill and Kormantse Seaside
5. "It was Too Sweet!" Walking with Two Kormantse Women

Part III. Walking with Asafo Music
6. The Listening and Musicking Walk
7. "Kenkan Makes it Sweet": Walking with Asafo Ndwom
8. Anammͻn: Shadows in the Field, Leaving Footprints

Nkekaho | Re-Invocation


AMA OFORIWAA ADUONUM is Professor of Ethnomusicology and Public Scholar at Illinois State University at Normal, IL.



July 2022

$29.95 / £25.00

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Title Details

304 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

107 illus.

Series: Eastman/Rochester Studies Ethnomusicology

Imprint: University of Rochester Press