top of page

Walking with Asafo in Ghana

An Ethnographic Account of Kormantse Bentsir Warrior Music

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.

Walking with Asafo in Ghana_BookCover.jpeg

What is Asafo ndwom (music)? How and when is it performed? What is the state of this warrior 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.

This book is openly available in digital formats thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Track list:

1. Asafo Ko Eyi Hͻn, 1b. Ngyedum Gye Do
2. Ya ara Nkyε/Nkum na Abandze
3. Wͻnfa Nyε Hͻn Nanom
4. Eminsa Osuom
5. ͻawar Eminsa
6. Nana Sesa Kwesi
7. Gyesi Mbo
8. Maayε Kwansin m’abε
9. Dua No Ebu
10. Okura Akεkyer Egyinambowa ne ba
11. Adende
12. Oye, Oye
13. ͻkͻtͻfo Gyesi
14. Safohen Odum
15. Kweku Anankor ei
16. Yekͻr Akyemfo Nyimpa nnyi hͻ
17. Nkoa No Wͻ Kͻ
18. ͻroko W’anyε Yie
19. Egya Yεma Hom Akͻaba
20. Biribi Reba e

Recording Date: 5th July 2021
Location: University of Cape Coast, Department of Music and Dance Recording
Supervisor: Dr. Eric Otchere
Technicians: Mr. Philip Afari and Mr. Jehoshaphat Phillip Sarbah
Facilitator: Mr. Francis Fiifi Essel
Recording Sponsor: Nana Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum, PhD

Kormantse Bentsir Asafommba

Kormantse Bentsir Asafommba Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum Ethnomusicologist public-scholar


Name                                       Role                                                            Lineage

Ekow Ninson                                    Gyina ho hwε ͻkyerεma  (Drummer)                  Agona
Kobena Bedu                                   Nwomtonyi  (Lead singer)                                      Domna
Kwesi Bronya                                  Asafommba  (Chorus)                                            Asona
Nana Kweku Ntsiwa                       Asafommba (Chorus)                                             Asona
Kwesi Kom                                      Asafommba (Chorus)                                             Anona

Kofi Nkrumah                                  Asafommba (Chorus)                                             Anona
Kwame Alaatakyi                            Asafommba (Chorus)                                             Agona
Kofi Fakyem                                    Asafommba (Chorus)                                             Aboradze
Francis Kofi                                    Essel  (Facilitato)r

bottom of page