Thursday, March 30, 2017

Apoo Insult Songs From R. S. Rattray's 1923 Book "Ashanti"o

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of pancocojams series on anthropologist R. S. Rattray's documentation of Ghana's Apoo festival in his 1923 book Ashanti.

Part II of this series features examples of women's Apoo songs that R. S. Rattray transcribes in his 1923 book Ashanti. Information about R. S. Rattray is given in Part I of this series.

Click for Part I provides information about R. S. Rattray and reproduces a small portion of a chapter of Rattray's book Ashanti that describes part of the "Apo" festival that he experienced in 1922.

Also, click for a pancocojams post that serves as background for and an introduction to these pancocojams "Apoo festival" posts.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, and cultural purposes.

Excerpts from this hard to find books are reproduced in this blog in order to help preserve and disseminate that information and commentary. I encourage this blog's readers read that entire book, if possible.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to R.S. Rattray for his anthropological research and thanks to all those who celebrated Apoo as documented in this book.

Note: "Ashanti" is an incorrect referent for the Asante people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. That referent was commonly used in the 20th century. Rattray also used the spelling "Apo" in his book instead of "Apoo" which is the spelling that appears to be used now.)

Click for Part I of that series.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.


p. 155

"That afternoon bands composed entirely of women

p. 156
ran up and down the long, wide street, with a curious lolloping, skipping step, singing apo songs. Later, I got them to sing them into my phonograph. Space forbids me printing these songs in the original, so I give an English translation alone.

The god, Ta Kese, says if we have anything to speak, let us speak it,
For by so doing we are removing misfortune from the nation.

Your head is very large,
And we are taking the victory out of your hands,
O King, you are a fool.
We are taking the victory out of your hands
O King, you are impotent.
We are taking the victory out of your hands.

They know nothing about guns,
The Ashanti know nothing about guns.
Had they known about guns
Would they have let the white man seize
King Prempeh and Ya Akyaa (1) without firing a gun?

Ae! ae! ae!
Buabas is a proper fool
Since the Creator created all things
They (i.e. the kings of Ashanti) came from Adum, they who
were to succeed (to the throne of Coomassie).
They did no come from Pinanko who were to succeed,
But these days it seems that they come from Pinanko who are
to succeed,
Oh Buabasa is a proper fool.
He causes the nation to be destroyed (2).

Aframa (3) who bore ten children
Her song was Yaa Dwete,
Father eats his yams, but the people of
Nkoranza eat their cassava.
As for us, we eat our yams while the people of Nkoranza eat
their cassava.

Grandfather Ta Kora is like a cat,
He is not the pet of one person alone.

1. Ya Akyaa, the Queen mother of Coomassie, died in exile in the Seychelles.
2. Until the reign and banishment of King Prempeh (1896) all the Kings of Ashanti had lived in that part of Coomassie called Adum. When Prempeh was banished, I was informed, we put one, Buabasa (Opoku Mensa) to look afer Coomassie and he lived in that part of the town called Pinanko.
2. Aframa. The first Queen Mother of Tekiman.


Did I buy and give you to eat
That when they were leading me away
You should laugh at me?
These times have changed O Kojo Fojo,
O Kojo Fojo, these times have changed.

Ashanti, what do you here?
Do you taboo your own country?
Kon! kon! kon!
Your father and your mother. (1)

We made scaled for the Ashanti porcupines.
They only used them to cheat us.

We are casting stones at Ati Akosua ( a god).
The leopard Gya, the King’s child,
We are casting stones at him.
How much more shall we cast stomes
At the child of the bush cat?

(From this song it would appear that even the gods come in for some of the general abuse.)

The Ashanti people may be the children of slaves.
The King of Ashanti may have bought them, but he did not buy us.

All is well to-day.
We know that a Brong man eats rats,
But we never knew that one of the royal blood eats rates.
But to-day we have seen our master Ansah (2), eating rats.
To-day all is well and we may say so, say so, say so.
All other times we many not say so, say so, say so.

Do you people know the child who is the head of this town?
The child who is head of this town is called ‘The helpful one”.
When he buys palm wine he helps himself to the pot as well.“

To-day he has risen up.
We are the Creator’s stars.
When we come out then some one of importance has come out.
(Song by the young ‘royals’.)

We are the useless sponges,
But we shall be called in the day of necessity.
(answering song by the villagers.)

[Notes] 1.Ta Kora, the great god of Ashanti. It must be remembered that the Ashanti conquered the Tekiman people; most of these songs are directed against the former. To adjure your father and mother would ordinarily be considered a terrible insult. In my entourage were several Ashanti from Mampon and Coomassie, and many of their songs were in their honour.
2. Mr. Ansah was my typist and clerk."

This concludes this pancocojams series.

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A Partial Description Of Ghana's Apoo Festival From R. S. Rattray's 1923 Book "Ashanti"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of pancocojams series on anthropologist R. S. Rattray's documentation of Ghana's Apoo festival in his 1923 book Ashanti.

Part I provides information about R. S. Rattray and reproduces a small portion of a chapter of Rattray's book Ashanti that describes part of the "Apo" festival that he experienced in 1922.

Click for Part II of this series. Part II features examples of women's Apoo songs that R. S. Rattray transcribes in his 1923 book Ashanti.

Also, click for a pancocojams post that serves as background for and an introduction to these pancocojams "Apoo festival" posts.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, and cultural purposes.

Excerpts from this hard to find books are reproduced in this blog in order to help preserve and disseminate that information and commentary. I encourage this blog's readers read that entire book, if possible.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to R.S. Rattray for his anthropological research and thanks to all those who celebrated Apoo as documented in this book.

Note: "Ashanti" is an incorrect referent for the Asante people of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. That referent was commonly used in the 20th century. Rattray also used the spelling "Apo" in his book instead of "Apoo" aS it appears to be given now.)

Robert Sutherland Rattray, CBE, known as Captain R. S. Rattray (1881, India – 1938) was an early Africanist and student of the Ashanti. He was one of the early writers on Oware, and on Ashanti gold weights.[1]

Rattray was born in India of Scottish parents. In 1906 he joined the Gold Coast Customs Service. In 1911 he became the assistant District Commissioner at Ejura. Learning local languages, he was appointed head of the Anthropological Department of Asante in 1921. He retired in 1930. He was killed while flying a glider in 1938.[2]."..
This page also lists R. S. Rattray's published works.

Ashanti by R. S. Rattray

[Pancocojams editor's note: As given in this book's cover jacket "This book was first published in 1923 and has been out of print since 1959; reprinted University Press Oxford, 1969"

These pages are reproduced "as is" from the chapter entitled “XV RELIGION: The Apo Ceremony At Tekiman."]
p. 151
"That most delightful of raconteurs, Bosman, in one of his letters to 'his very good friend', describes a ceremony which he said he had twice seen at Axim, on the Gold Coast.

Two centuries later, it was my privilege to witness this same ceremony in its natural home, whence it had been transplanted to the coastal belt where Bosman had witnessedit, when performed by some of the ancestors of the very people I was now among. They had, centuries ago, according to their own and Brong traditkions, migrated from the Gyaman country to northern Ashanti and wandered south to the coast to become the present Fanti race. The tradition of this migration thus find the most interesting confirmation in the two accounts of what are undoubtedly one and the same ceremony.

The Dutch historican of the Coast of Guinea wrote as follows:

'The Devil is annually banished all their towns with abundance of Ceremony, at an appointed time set apart for that end. I have twice seen it at Axim, where they make the greatest stir about it. This Procession is preceded by a Feasts of eight days, accompanied with all manner of Singing, Skipping, Dancing, Mirth, and Jollity; in which time a perfect lampooning liberty is allowed, and Scandal so highly exalted, that they may freely sing of all the Faults, Villanies, and Frauds, of their Superiors, as well as Inferiours without Punishment, or so much as the least interruptionl and the only way to stop their mouths is to ply them lustily with Drink, which alters their tone immediately, and turns their Satyrical Ballads into Commendation Songs on the good Qualities of him who hath so nobly treated them...When they have driven him (the Deevuk) far enough out of the Town, they all return, and thus conclude their eight Days Divine or rather Diabolical Service...and to make sure that he does not return to their Houses, the women wash and scour all their wooden and earthen vessels very neat, to free them from all Uncleaness and the Devil' (1)

1. Bosman's Goast of Guniea, letter X

p. 152
I propose now to give a detailed account of what I saw during each day the ceremony lasted.

It was by good fortune, rather than design, that I arrived at Tekiman, in Northern Ashanti, on the 11th April 1922, I was on my way north to investigate the rits in connexion with the great Ashanti god, Tamo-the Tando of Ellis and of Miss Kingsley. I arrived that day from Nkoranza, where I had been living for some times and making friends with the priests and 'old festish women', as Mary Kingsley's African friend ungallantly described these very charming, old and young ladies, and my repute had reached Tekiman before me.

I had 'a good press', as we should say, for I was at once called upon by every one of note in their ecclesiastical world. A stroll round the town, which included a return call upon the omanhene (chief) and the presentation of letters of introduction from the Chief Commissioner of Ashanti, an impromptu exhibition in the court-yard of the 'place' upon the big talking drums, upon which I drummed out the prelude of one of their ser-pieces-the only one I knew-a certain reputation as an elephant hunter that had precede me here -all of these combined to make these people accept me as almost one of themselves.

I was told I had arrived upon the eve of a great annual ceremony, lasting eight days, and they all promised I should be permitted to go everywhere and see everything. A delightful little side-light upon the habitual 'canniness' of the Ashanti character was later revealed by the fact that the chief, to make everything absolutely in order, dispatched a runner that very night to Judd, the acting District Commissioner at Wenki, to inform him that a European okomfo- a white Witch Doctor, as the interpreter would possible quite wrongly interpret it-had arrived on the scene, and was it quite alright?

The chief being informed that it was all right, and that the "Witch Doctor' would be considered as his (Judd's,) guest as long as he was in that district, we all settled down, I talking up my abode in the tumble-down old rest-house on the outskirts of the town. Here I was to spend eight delightful days, and to entertain the priests and priestesses of many of the gods in this part of Ashanti, who had come in from all over the country to attend the ceremony. The Apo custom, as the Brong

commonly call it, is sometimes known as Attensie, and also Ahorohorua. The derivation of Apo is probably from the same root po, ‘to speak roughly or harshly to’ of atemmie, atem die, ‘to abuse, to insult’, and of ahorohorua, possibly horo, ‘to wash, to cleanse’. To-day, as it did in Bosman’s time, the ceremony lasts eight days. I once asked a semi-educated African what it was all about, and he replied that this was a fetish custom where every one cursed every one else, where morals were relaxed and promiscuity sanctioned, where all the fetishes were brought out to walk about, and where the witch doctors indulged in diabolical rites. That is very like Bosman’s point of view. The following is another point of view. It is contained in a literal translation of what was told me by the old high-priest of the god Ta Kese at Tekiman. He said: ‘You know that every one has a sunsum (soul) that may get hurt or knocked about or become sick, and so make the body ill. Very often, although there may be other causes, e.g. witchcraft, ill health is caused by the evil and the hate that another has in his head against you. Again, you too may have hatred in your head against another, because of something that person as done to you, and that, too causes your sunsum to fret and become sick. Our forbears knew this to be the case, and so they ordained a time, once every year, when every man and woman, free man and slave, should have freedom to speak out just what was in their head, to tell their neighbours just what they thought of them, and of their actions, and not only their neigbours, but also the king or chief. When a man has spoken freely thus, he will feel his sunsum cool and quieted, and the sunsum of the other person against whom he has now openly spoken will be quieted also. The King of the Ashanti may have killed your children, and you hate him. This has made him ill, and you ill, too; when you are allowed to say before his face what you think, you both benefit. That was why the King of Ahanti in ancient times, when he fell sick, would send for the Queen of Nkoranza to insult him, even though the time for the ceremony had not yet come round. It made him live longer and did him good.’

This is, I believe, getting nearer to the reason for this ‘Lampooning Liberty, than either Bosman or my semi-educated African

p. 154
friend ever arrived at, and I wonder if this logic may not have been behind the Saturnalia of the

Examining now, before I proceed to an account of the ceremony, the general implication of moral laxity and licence, and of insobriety, all can vouch for is that, from the first to last, I never once saw a drunken man or woman- funeral celebrations are the occasions upon which the Ashanti really get drunk, but there are extenuating circumstances even there, as I have striven to show elsewhere-nor did I hear later of one case of adultery arising out of a celebration in which, theoretically, it seems to have had the sanction of custom.

The rules with regard to this point are very strict and well defined. Theoretically there appears to be a licence in regards to sexual intercourse, but in reality this is not so, and in any case in practice, this is completely nullified for the following reason: custom enjoins that no redress for seduction or adultery may be claimed, or any complaint lodged, during the eight days the ceremony is in progress. Once this period has expired, all such cases are subject to trial before the customary native courts, and are liable to the ordinary sanctions of native customary law. In other words, if any one thinks it is worth while, he may commit an offence for which he knows punishment will be deferred until the rites are over, but after that period he will have to answer as in the ordinary course and pay the usual penalty for his delinquency.

On the other hand, should the aggrieved party, during the actual celebration of the Apo ceremony, bring any action, lodge any complaint, or make any violent scene, he immediately forfeits all right to have his case investigated later or to receive any satisfaction, and is himself fined. These facts, in actual practice, seem more than a sufficient deterrent to any one inclined to take advantage of the respite from prosecution which the ceremony gives. There is a kind of carnival freedom, it is true, which permits of any man to say to any girl (except the king’s or priests’ wives(, “No me tuo
, which means literally ‘fire a gun at me’, and the maiden so addressed is expected to whisk off her clothes, that is to say her cloth. But as every girl wears a string of beads around her waist and a little red cloth tucked into this bead girdle at the front and the back, and as

p. 155
to stand nude in this country-where clothes were not worn in the not very remote past-is in no sense to stand ashamed, the whole effect is to produce results that are no more immoral to the African mind than it is for a European to ask a girl to unmask and to kiss her at a Continental carnival. [Fig. 73]

The Savage law makers if old were never fools; they legislated for law and peace and order in the clan, not for promiscuity, chaos, and bloodshed.

On the Tuesday, priests and priestesses and their followers, with the shrines of their various god, kept arriving from all over the country from Tanosu, Tuabodom, Ofori Kuron, Tano Oboase, &c., and towards the evening all paraded up and down the broad street running through the town. The shrine of the great local god, Ta Kese or Ta Mensa, as he is variously called, and those of several other gods were carried upon the heads of their respective priests under gorgeous umbrellas of plush and velvet. The blackened stools of former priests and priestesses were also paraded, being supported upon the nape of the neck by their carriers. The various gods ‘were taking the air and greeting each other’, I was informed. All their shrines, i.e. the brass pans, were of course covered over with coloured silk handkerchiefs and the contents were invisible. The priests, bearing these shrines, would go up to each other, and bending slightly forward, would allow the shrine of one god to touch that of another, in salutation. Priest and priestesses were sprinkled with white finely powdered clay on face, neck, shoulders, arms, and chest; others attended them with flat basins or plates containing more of the white powder. They would constantly come up to me and, curtsying or kneeling down, would sprinkle some white oowder at my feet. There seemed no general plan, every one in the best of good humour strolled about greeting the other gods, i.e. their shrines, priests, priestesses, strangers, and townsfolk mingling in little cheery groups (see Figs.53-6). The following day, Wednesday none of the shrines of the gods were paraded, but all the people sat about outside their houses or outside the big temple of the god Ta Kese and conversed. I talked with the chief, who said: ‘Wait until Friday when the people really begin to abuse me, and if you will come and do so too it will please me.’"


[Pages 156-157 presents Rattray's transcriptions of women's Apo songs. Those transcriptions are given in Part II of this pancocojams series.]

P. 158
Upon the same day a crier, beating an odawuru iron gong) went all around he town calling out the following proclamation (1)

'The Chief says that I am to tell you that upon this apo festival which has come round you are (to celebrate it) by abusing him. And (during this time) if any one of your have a cause of quarrel with any one else, or if your friend should seduce your wife, or some one should insult you, and you do not keep your temper, but lodge a complaint, then you are bound by the oath of Wednesday and of Thursday, which make you liable to a penalty of ntano (16 [monetary symbol like a upper case "l"?] in gold dust). That is the end.'

It will be noted that this proclamation does not say anything about any relaxation in the standard of public morals, and merely insists of the fact that nothing is to be done to mar the happy and genial spirit in which the festival is to be conducted.

FRiday, the 14th, was a great day. All the morning various priests and priestesses danced in public, surrounded by a great circle of onlookers. . They dance to the accompaniment of drums and singing, stripped to the waist and holding cow tails (bodua) or swords (afona) in their hands, upon which they leaned from time to time (see Figs. 57-58). All were heavily powered with white clay and most of them were covereed with suman (festishes or charms). The male priests wore the hilt made of palm-life fibre, called doso, with cotton drawers underneath (see Fig 59). Men and women carrying plates containing powdered white clay followed them about and constantly sprinkled them with it. As I sat on a low stool in the front row of the great circle withing which they danced, priests and priestesses would kneel down before me and sprinkle the white powder on the ground at my feet, or even over my bare knees (I was wearing shorts). Some of the male akomfo (priests) danced with wonderful agility, leaping into the air and pirouetting like Russian dancers. In the intervals in which they rested, they walked round the circle, greeting every one by placing their right hand between both the extended palms of the person saluted (Fig. 60).

Every now and then I would be presented with an egg. All

1. 'Ohene se me ma monte se, apo a aba tu be oi be yao, no na wo ya biara a wo ne bi wo asene ana se wo yonko ape wo ;yere, ana se obi yao wo, se wo ansie abitere na se wo ka sem biara a wo to Wukuara ne Yaorda a wu tua ntanu- pa! fwi!'

p. 159
were very much interested in my reflex camera and anxious to peep into it and see the scene reflected in the ground glass. None of the shrines of the gods were brought out during the dancing. (Fig 61).

That same afternoon a great gathering of five to six hundred persons, assembled in the wide clearing near the chief's 'palace'. Here the chief, his sub=chief, and state officials, seated themselves in a great semi-circle under their huge coloured umbrellas,surrounded by sword-bearers, executioners, heralds, 'linguists', &c. I was given a chair beside the chief. An Ashanti crowd upon such occassions seems to sort itself out, and order is maintained without an effort. The reason is that every one knows his place, assigned to him by immemorial custom, ab falls naturally into it. Opposite the chief, in the great circle, a space was kept clear for the chief priestess of the god Ati Akosua, who was presently to take her position there, with her retinue. After we were all seated, from the direction of the temple of the god Ta Kese came a long calvalcase, consisting of the priests and priestesses of the gods who were attending the festival. The high-priest of Ta Kese, a dear old man, with a noble and refined face, was carried aloft in a native basket hammock (aoakan), The chief priestess was born on the shoulders of one of her attendants, as was also one other priest (see Fig, 62). This line wheeled to the left and, beginning at the left wing of our semi circle, went round greeting every one, sprinkling clay at the feet of many, and shaking hands in the manner already described. Several, I noticed, embraced the chief in a manner I had never before witnessed ; taking his right hand in their own, they raised their united hands above the head and each pressed his or her body against the other. After all the salutations were over, the head priestess and her companions went and sat down under their great umbrellas, opposite ot our party, making the circle complete [Fig. 63).

The sub-chiefs, from outlying villages, now came and saluted the head chief, just as is done at the Adae (1). Next, many of the akomfo danced. A friend of mine, who bore the rather awe-inspiring title of Kum Aduasia (the slayer of sixty), the priest of a god, who I much suspect was an elevated suman impersonated

1. Chapt V

p. 160
a leopard. his spots were very effectively rendered by daubing wet fingers over his white-powdered body. He is to be seen in Fig. 64, exhausted by his efforts and supported by two men. As he danced, the following song was being sung to him, as a friendly warning, I believe, that his god was a bit out of hand:

Stop all these doings, such goings on and witchcraft walk
Grandfather, stop O!

I visited this excellent fellow later at his own village, Tamosu, and his good, from all I could see, was more suman, i.e. fetish, than obosom (god).

Another song I overheard as the dancing was in progress was:
The door of the ghosts has opened
And father is come.
The door of the ghost has opened.

Gesides the dancing of several other priests and priestesses, the old executioner amused every one by his antics, strutting about pretending to have a sepow knife through his tongue (1) (see Fig. 65).

Yet another song sung on this occasion was as follows:
Is today not a good day?
Is today not a good day?
The god who is King has risen up,
He is removing misfortune from the people.

None of the shrines of the gods were brought to this afternoon performance.

The head priestess sat under her umbrella and took no part in the dancing. She appeared to be in a trance. And attendant stood beside her with a plate containing powdered white clay (Fig 66.) About 4 p. m. every one quietly dispersed, but that eveing, about 6 o'clock, all the gods, that is to say, their shrines, were again praded up and down the street. The greatest god, Ta Kese, was carried upon the head of the old chief priest, and also in turn by other priests. As the shrine

(1). In Ashanti, as soon as a person's death was decide upon, the very first thing to do was to drive a small knife through both cheeks and tongue, to prevent the victim 'cursing the King".

p. 160
of this god was brought out if its temple, a medicine man, carrying a pot of water, ran up to it, waved the pot three times in front of the shrine, and quickly inverted the pot placing it on the ground ; this ceremony is called summum Priests walked behind th brass pan of Ta Kese with uplifted hands ready to catch it if it should fall from the head of its bearer, when under the influence of the spirit. Ta Kese and many other god were under their own umbrellas.

The following gods, among others were pointed out to me:
Ta Kese, Ta Kwesi, Ta Kifi, Asubonten
Ta Toa, Ta Tao, Ani Koko, Obo Kyerewa,
Ta Kuntum, Ta Kojo, Ati Akosua, Kum Aduasia.

Ta is a contraction of Tano,

Ani Koko means, literally, 'the red eyed one'.

Kum Asuasia has already explained means "the slayer of sixty"."....
This chapter continues until page 171.

This concludes this pancocojams series.

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Visitor comments are welcome.

Four Excerpts From Online Articles About Ghana's Apoo (Insult) Festival

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides excerpts from four online articles about Ghana's Apoo Festival.

This post serves as background for and an introduction to two pancocojams posts that provide a small portion of anthropologist R. S. Rattray's chapter about the "Apo" festival that he experienced in April 1922 from his 1923 book Ashanti.

Click for Part I of that series.

Also, click for Part II of that series.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, historical, and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

These excerpts from online sources are given in no particular order and are numbered for referencing purposes only.

Note: Excerpts from online sources and (usually) hard to find books are reproduced in this blog in order to help preserve and disseminate that information and commentary. I encourage this blog's readers to visit those sites and, if possible, read that material in its entirety. Additions and corrections are welcome.

Excerpt #1
"Techiman is a town and is the capital of Techiman Municipal of the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. Techiman is a leading market town in South Ghana. Techiman is together with Sunyani, one of the two major cities and settlements of Brong Ahafo region. Techiman has a settlement population of 104,212 people in 2013.[1] Techiman is located at a historical crossroads of trade routes and the Tano River, and serves as capital of the Techiman Municipal District...

The Akans, according to their oral tradition, migrated from Techiman to found the coastal Mankessim Kingdom and present Central region in 1252.[3] After Bono Manso, capital of the Bono state, was taken by the Ashanti Empire in 1723, then the Bono-Techiman state was founded in 1740 under Ashanti sovereignty.[3]

Techiman has started the construction of a modern culture centre. The purpose of the centre is the preservation of the traditions of the Bono nation.[8] Techiman celebrates the annual Apoo in April/May – a kind of Mardi Grass. Before 2009, the celebration of Apoo had been suspended for several years due to the decease of the Bonoman king. The climax of the Apoo is the durbar of the king (Omanhene) through Techiman.* [8] In August, an annual yam ceremony takes place and it marks the end of the yam production in the Brong-Ahafo Region towns of Techiman and Wenchi.[8]
* Italics were added to highlight this sentence.

durbar = an official, public reception for royalty, governors, or their representatives

Here's information about the Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana:
"The Brong-Ahafo Region is located in south Ghana. Brong-Ahafo is bordered to the north by the Black Volta River and to the east by the Lake Volta, and to the south by the Ashanti region, Eastern and Western regions, and to the west by the Ivory Coast southeastern border. The capital of Brong-Ahafo is Sunyani. Brong-Ahafo was created in 1958 from Bono state and named after the dominant and native inhabitants, Akans Brong and Ahafo.[1]
Here's information about Akan people from
"The Akan... are a meta-ethnicity predominantly speaking Central Tano languages and residing in the southern regions of the former Gold Coast region in what is today the nation of Ghana. Akans also make-up the majority of the populace in the Ivory Coast....

Akans are the largest group in both countries and have a population of roughly 20 million people. The Akan language (also known as Twi–Fante) is a group of dialects within the Central Tano branch of the Potou–Tano subfamily of the Niger–Congo family.[2]

Subgroups of the Akan proper include:
Asante, Akuapem and Akyem (together known as Twi), Agona, Kwahu, Wassa, Fante (Fanti or Mfantse: Anomabo, Abura, Gomua) and Bono."
"Asantes" were/are incorrectly called "Ashanti".

Excerpt #2
..."The celebration of traditional festival are happy occasions for locals and visitors alike and the good thing is that there many of them ; at least about 70 major ones, representing all the different ethnic groups of Ghana.

Meanwhile, it is possible, despite their diversities, to groups the many festivals into different categories such as harvest festivals, migration festivals, purification festivals and war festivals among the rest.

A study of the names, modes of celebration tells much about the origin and the interesting characteristics of Ghanaian festivals as well as their relevance.

In many parts of the world good harvests are a cause for celebration for which days of ceremonies and offerings of the first fruits are made to the ancestors and to the gods by way of saying thanks to the spirits.

Most common among the festivals are the harvest ones. In West Africa most of the harvest festivals usually start in August at the end of the rainy season after the harvest of the main staple crop of an area such as rice, yam, and millet as well as the start of the fishing and hunting seasons...

The next category of festivals is those that focus on religious purification, like the Apoo Festival of Techiman and other parts of Brong - Ahafo Region. An interesting aspect of the Apoo is how separate days are aside for the men and women to expose and ridicule wrongdoers in the society, high and low, through songs to shed their bad deeds in the out going year.”...

Excerpt #3
“This year’s ‘Apoo’ festival of the chiefs and people of the Techiman Traditional Area in the Brong Ahafo Region would be used to initiate the construction of an ultra modern cultural centre to help protect, promote and preserve the cultural heritage and the identity of the people of the area.

The cultural centre, which would have a museum, theatre, conference room, artisans’ village, an auditorium, open space, internet cafĂ© and administrative block and a restaurant would be undertaken by the Techiman Traditional Council in conjunction with the University of Ghana, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), University of Michigan and the Michigan State University both in the United State of America (USA).

According to the Adontenhene of the Techiman Traditional Area, Nana Asare Twi Brempong II, who is also a member of the ‘Apoo’ Festival Planning Committee, the centre would be used for the preservation and conservation of the cultural heritage of Techiman.

He stated that the centre would also educate other residents of the traditional area who hail from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds to educate them on the need to respect each other’s culture, and also help erase the negative perceptions that some people held about the culture of the area.

Nana Twi Brempong said this year’s ‘Apoo’ festival began on April 11, 2009, and it would end on May 11, 2009, on the theme “Our Culture, Our Heritage: the Tool for Social Integration” and the high point of the festival would be a colourful grand durbar of the chiefs and people of Techiman which would be held on May 1, 2009.

He explained that this year’s festival is being used to rally all citizens of Techiman both home and abroad for the development of the area, adding that the festival would also be marked with a Miss Apoo pageant

[information about the origin of Apoo given here]

During the period of “Apoo” it was agreed that one could not be held responsible for what he or she said.
The people would say “Mereko po me haw” which literally meant “I am going to say what was on my chest” and this was how the “Apoo” festival came into existence.

Nana Twi Brempong said the festival was not only about the people getting out what was on their chest about traditional authorities but also all who were in leadership positions in the traditional area at
He said the “Apoo” was also used to recognise those in society who had distinguished themselves or done something good for the society.

The Adontenhene said the “Apoo” is also used to promote social interaction as well as settle family disputes among citizens of the area. It is also it which citizens both home and abroad come together to undertake community projects. He said Nananom also pour libation during that period to ask for prosperity, peace and success.

Nana Twi Brempong said the significance of the festival among others are to measure the people in authority and also to enable them give account of their stewardship, protect and preserve their cultural identity as a people as well as promote the well being of the people. He said this year’s festival is focusing on things that would help fight poverty, illiteracy and ignorance in the society.

Nana Twi Brempong mentioned one of the highlights of the festival, which begins on April 11, 2009 as ‘Hyereko’ (Collection of white clay). This is when white clay collected from the Aponkosu River, is used to decorate the shrines in the traditional area, while the priests/priestesses also used the clay when they are possessed by spirits.”"...

Excerpt $4
"Akanfo (Akan people) in the Takyiman and Wankyi (Wenchi) areas of Ghana, West Afuraka/Afuraitkait (Africa) celebrate the festival called Apoo. This festival is also called Alie in the Sefwi area (including Sefwi Wenchi) of Ghana and is celebrated by the Akanfo of the Asona Abusua (Asona clan) in that region.

Apoo is from the root 'po' meaning 'to reject'. The Apoo Afahye (Apoo festival) is a 13-day observance which is dedicated to the ritual purging of spiritual, cultural and social ills in self and society. Apoo Afahye is dedicated to the eradication of disorder and its purveyors, human and non-human, physical and non-physical, individual and communal.

Aakhuamuman Amaruka Atifi Mu (Aakhuamu Nation in North America) observes Apoo Afahye for 13 days annually. Our observance is centered around fefewbere (spring). We take advantage of the shift in energy which occurs during what is called the vernal or spring equinox. Our Apoo Afahye in 13017 (2017) will occur during the gregorian calendar dates of March 12 through March 24.


Ritually, in Aakhuamuman Amaruka Atifi Mu, Apoo Afahye includes the execution of akraguare (odwaree no kra, 'soul-washing') for seven days leading up to the first day of fefewbere (spring equinox) followed by offerings to the Nananom Nsamanfo and to Asaase Afua and Asaase Yaa, the Two Earth Mother Abosom. Individual and communal purging/purification, inclusive of specific dietary observances (fasting, cleansing) and ABOA NKWA (Ritual Movement) are observed, which serve to recalibrate the oman (Afurakani/Afuraitkaitnit (African) nation, community) that we may enter the second half of our year with a purified and unified focus having reaffirmed the seven root mbe which we seeded during our OBRA DWIRA observance at the beginning of the year. As the adennen, balance, of the body of Asaase Afua and Asaase Yaa is renewed, so do we renew the balance within our physical, spiritual and communal bodies during this time as Afurakanu/Afuraitkaitnut (Africans~Black People). It is also during this time near the equinox that we have our AKYISAN - Afurakani/Afuraitkaitnit (African) Ancestral Religious Reversion Conference.”...

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Marvelows - "I Do" (information, lyrics, sound file, comments plus Samsung Active Wash Commercial)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases the 1960s Doo Wop/Soul music record "I Do" by The Marvelows.

Information about Doo Wop and Soul music are included in this post along with information about The Marvelows.

Selected comments from the discussion threads of several sound files of The Marvelow's "I Do" are also included in this post.

The Addendum to this post showcases the Samsung Active Wash commercial that features The Marvelow's "I Do" as background music.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to The Marvelows for their musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these featured sound files on YouTube.

Thanks also to all those who are associated with the Samsung Active Wash commercial that is also featured in this post.

"Doo-wop is a genre of music that was developed in African-American communities of New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Detroit, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles in the 1940s, achieving mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. Built upon vocal harmony, doo-wop was one of the most mainstream, pop-oriented R&B styles of the time. Singer Bill Kenny (1914–1978) is often called the "Godfather of Doo-wop" for his introducing the "top and bottom" format which featured a high tenor singing the lead and a bass singer reciting the lyrics in the middle of the song. Doo-wop features vocal group harmony, nonsense syllables, a simple beat, sometimes little or no instrumentation, and simple music and lyrics.

The first record to use the syllables "doo-wop" was the 1955 hit "When You Dance" by The Turbans.[2] The term "doo-wop" first appeared in print in 1961. During the late 1950s many Italian-American groups contributed a significant part in the doo-wop scene. The peak of doo-wop was in 1961. Doo-wop's influence continued in soul, pop, and rock groups of the 1960s. At various times in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the genre has seen revivals. Doo-wop was a precursor to many of the African-American musical styles seen today. An evolution of jazz and blues, doo-wop also influenced many of the major rock and roll groups that defined the later decades of the 20th century. Doo-wop is iconic for its swing-like beats and using the off-beat to keep time. Doo-wop laid the foundation for many musical innovations, for example, R&B."

"Soul music (often referred to simply as soul) is a popular music genre that originated in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It combines elements of African-American gospel music, rhythm and blues and jazz. Soul music became popular for dancing and listening in the United States, where record labels such as Motown, Atlantic and Stax were influential during the Civil Rights Movement. Soul also became popular around the world, directly influencing rock music and the music of Africa.[1]

According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying".[2] Catchy rhythms, stressed by handclaps and extemporaneous body moves, are an important feature of soul music. Other characteristics are a call and response between the lead vocalist and the chorus and an especially tense vocal sound. The style also occasionally uses improvisational additions, twirls and auxiliary sounds.[3] Soul music reflected the African-American identity and it stressed the importance of an African-American culture. The new-found African-American consciousness led to new styles of music, which boasted pride in being black.[4]

Soul music dominated the U.S. R&B chart in the 1960s, and many recordings crossed over into the pop charts in the U.S., Britain and elsewhere. By 1968, the soul music genre had begun to splinter. Some soul artists developed funk music, while other singers and groups developed slicker, more sophisticated, and in some cases more politically conscious varieties"...

"The Marvelows were a Chicago soul group who scored just once, with the upbeat "I Do," a pop Top 40 hit in 1965. The group was formed in Chicago Heights, IL, when Melvin Mason met the recently relocated Paden brothers (Frank who sang bass, and Johnny who sang tenor) in the late '50s. Joined by tenor Willie (Sonny) Stephenson and Mason's wife's cousin Jesse Smith, the quintet became the Marvelows.

Smith's mother suggested that he look up a former schoolmate of hers, Johnny Pate. Pate, who had just been given the position of Midwest A&R for ABC/Paramount, secured a deal with the label and recorded four tunes for the group, the doo-wop ballad "A Friend," "My Heart," the solid mid-tempo "Hey Hey Baby," and "I Do." The latter song was only written as a warm-up song, something to sing to prepare their voices, but it hit number seven R&B and number 37 pop in the spring of 1965. Around 1966, Jesse Smith left and was replaced by Andrew Thomas. The Marvelows (now the Mighty Marvelows to avoid confusion with the West Coast group the Marvellos) had their second single (and the only other one to chart) with the ballad "In the Morning" in the spring of 1968. Other Marvelows (or the Mighty Marvelows) singles are "I'm Without a Girl," "Fade Away," "Your Little Sister" "You're Breaking My Heart," and "Wait Be Cool." ABC/Paramount issued The Mighty Marvelows LP in 1968, but the group broke up one year later. A brief reunion in 1974 was their only other time together."

"The Marvelows were an American soul group from Chicago, formed in 1959. After contacting arranger / producer Johnny Pate, the group signed to the ABC-Paramount label, and recorded four sides: "A Friend", "My Heart", "Hey Hey Baby", and "I Do". Originally composed as a show warmup song, "I Do" was released as a single in the summer of 1965, and peaked at #7 on the R&B Singles chart and at #37 on Billboard's Hot 100.[1] It was later covered twice by The J. Geils Band, first in 1977, and again on a live album in 1982.
The group changed its name to The Mighty Marvelows in order to avoid being confused with The Marvellos

(Loma Records), after the Marvellos filed suit in 1964, and hit the charts only once more, with 1968's "In the Morning" (U.S. R&B #24).[1] A 1968 LP followed, entitled The Mighty Marvelows, but the group broke up in 1969, reuniting only once, briefly, in 1974.[2]"...

(Writer(s): Jesse Smith, John Paden, Melvin Mason, Frank Paden, Willie Stephenson)

Two, one, two, three, four

Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
Oh do I love you with all my heart
I do, I do now, yes I do

Do I want you to stay by my side
I do, I do now, yes I do

Do I want you to be all mine
I do, I do now, yes I do
And I love you my baby, yes I do
And I want you my baby
Yeah, yeah I do now


Oh do I want you to stay by my side
I do, I do now, yes I do

Do I want you to be all mine
I do, I do now, yeah, yeah, I do now

Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
And I love you my baby, yes I do
And I need you my baby, yes I do
Yeah, yeah, yeah baby, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby
Do, do, do, do, do, do, do, do,
Do, do, do, do, wah


SHOWCASE SOUND FILE - The Marvelows - I do

jimmytheferret, Uploaded on Aug 8, 2009

Another jump back into the soul box for this great beaty number from Chicago band The Marvelows. Issued in the UK on HMV in 1965.

Here are some selected comments from __ YouTube sound files of The Marvelow's "I Do"
With the exception of comments from the source sound file which is embedded above, the other sound files are given in no particular order.

Numbers for the comments are assigned for referencing purposes only.
Source Sound File #1

1.Shana Lewis, 2009
"one of the great doo wop songs of the sixties!"

2. CheckMate657879, 2010
"@InuyashaPrincess14 I'm not trying to be funny, smart-a- or anything like that but this song was released in 1965 and Doo Wop had all but been killed by then. The harmony is great but it isn't "Doo Wop.""

3. SEVFEST, 2010
"@CheckMate657879 ... you're absolutely wrong this IS Doo Wop and if you live in the eastern USA you would know that doo wop was NOT dead at the time Just ask Jerry Blavet if you know who he is...... The Geater With The Heater"

4. David Dax, 2011
"Sorry, CheckMate, but this song is definitely Doo-Wop. And the J. Geils Band did it also in doo-wop style many years later. God bless doo-wop that lives on."

5. bill chew, 2011
"@SEVFEST Doowop wasn't dead in Philly in 1965 and has never really died with people of a certain age from there- I'm one."

6. Holly K, 2011
"Street corners in front of a candy store in Brooklyn New York where the guys smoked cigs, wore tight jeans, black boots and the girls wore black eye makeup, toast color lipstick and partied all night"

7. charrmmee
"1 of th best doo wops, ever"

8. Archiebell68, 2015
"Between Doo Wop and Soul! Perfect."

9. Virgil Smith
"i am a master of old school if you play it i know it,west memphis ark"

Sound File #2

1. gumpsmomma, 2015
"Huge Stomp record in Philly. You were spent after this one ended. But we stayed on the dance floor and danced for 4 hours solid every Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at venues like Chev Vous, Concord Ballroom, Wagners, Boulevard Pools, Riviera Ballroom in NJ, Edgely Fire Hall in Bristol, and in Wildwood; at the Starlight Ballroom during the summer time. Danced everyday or night for my entire middle school and high school years. Miss those days, but the memories remain, and I still spin the music everyday."
"Philly" = Philadelphia

"Stomp records" means "records to dance to" 

2. timelessly1, 2015
"When I first heard this song, I knew I'd heard it before. It was covered by the J. Geils Band in the early '80s. Both versions were great, but I really like this one better."

3. bunny fish, 2015
"Classic soul from 1965"

4. luane acevedo, 2015
"Does anyone in my Jackson high school class remember a group of us marching in a conga line singing The Marvelows' I Do DO DO song down the Hall and into the principal's office. He stood up by his desk, his jaw dropped and we just kept the conga line leaving his office and back to class. "Funny like always, Acevedo," he said. I wonder if he was being sarcastic. I know Richie Zimmerman R.I.P. who was so shy was dragged into the caper and kept complaining to let him go because we were going to get him in trouble. he would tend to end his statements with "you guys..." I think Sam Berkowitz was one whose idea it was. The usual list of suspects. I'm not sure Ken Warner joined us. He would have been too cool for such a childish stunt."

5. Milton Oliver, 2015
"+luane acevedo, was this Andrew Jackson High School in Cambria Heights, Queens, New York ? This was a very popular song back then in NYC."

6. Lolita Johnson, 2015
The song to the samsung active wash commercial I finally found it

7. buckladin/buckyboone, 2015
"Samsung brought me here lol I love this song had to find it"

Sound File #3:

1. boomerang905, 2011
"This group got lost in a time warp. Music was changing when they came out, going in another Popish sound rather than DooWops which is what I grew up loving. But they were exceptional and I still listened to them because they really did sound great!" 

2. Fred Calvello, 2013
"We did the Bristol stomp to this in philly"

3. JIM PORTER, 2013
"The Tap" = tap dancing

Sound File #4

Bob Resner, 2010
"This song rocks it don't get any better than this"

tippimail1, 2014
"Who is in this backup band?"

BPJT666, 2017
"Johnny Pate was the arranger so it was a bunch of Chicago studio guys. Not sure who."

gumpsmomma, 2015
"One of the best Stomp records that we danced yo in Philly. Huge hit in that region."
In Philly (Philadelphia), particularly among African Americans and Italian Americans, the word "yo" was often used from at least the 1960s to date sometimes meaning "hey" and sometimes as a filler without any literal meaning.

ADDENDUM - Activewash Samsung Commercial 2015 at

appliancesconnection, Published on Mar 30, 2016

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