Several music and dance groups literally set the Accra suburb of James Town ablaze with captivating performances during the 2016 edition of the Tuumatu Festival which ended during the Christmas festivities.
Choreographers Christina Chan (Singapore), Aymeric Bichon (France), Lucky Lartey / Appiah Annan (Ghana/Australia) alongside Hewale Sounds, Les Femmes Ghana, Naawuni Bie, Ayekoo Drummers, Unik Afro, Ashanti Dance Theatre and others managed to turn this sprawling suburb into a giant performance hall.
Street corners, alleys, parks, squares and mini theatres were inundated with varied games for kids, some of which have been abandoned in favour of electronic ones.
The games included ampe, oware, wooden cart races, tuumatu, Charles kele and pinpinaa.
“I congratulate the organisers of the festival. It is refreshing to see children put away ipads and smart phones for almost extinct games. I was transported back to life in 1960s Accra,” said Joshua Armah, a senior citizen at James Town.
Chan and Bichon showcased well-coordinated movements in a dance piece that related to the language of movement, thereby providing their agile bodies with lyrical beauty.
Led by flute magician Dela Botri, Hewale Sounds charmed the crowd with a blend of traditional music.
Their contemporary extensions attracted cheers from the packed crowd who were swayed by the sheer power of traditional musical instruments.
Guitarist / singer Fatau Keita and his Naawuni Bie Band showcased compositions that transcended the conventional boundaries of popular music.
“It was refreshing to see various music and dance groups with different styles on stage. I hope they get shows outside Ghana so they can help develop the community,” stated Naa Lamile Mills, a singer in Accra.
Ayekoo Drummers, which comprise youthful musicians, delighted the audience with a wide variety of percussive rhythms and atenteben flutes.
Anunyam and Shidaa Dance Ensembles equally performed variations of traditional Ghanaian dances fortified with subtle contemporary dance movements and frenzied drumming.
Singapore International Foundation, National Arts Council of Singapore, Lucky African Dance, Master Mind Multi Media, TM Entertainment and www.artsghana.org supported the festival which was put together by Australia-based choreographer and dancer, Lucky Lartey.