A Drummer's Testament:
Dagbamba Society and Culture in the Twentieth Century


Assembled drummers

Dedicated to Musicians and Friends of Musicians

This is the website-in-progress for A Drummer's Testament, which is the product of a collaborative ethnographic project.  The principal authors are John M. Chernoff and Alhaji Ibrahim Abdulai.  Principal collaborators are Kissmal Ibrahim Hussein, Benjamin Danjuma Sunkari, Mustapha Muhammad, Alhaji Mumuni Abdulai, and Daniel A. Wumbee.

The menu currently links only to the following posted chapter portals, front matter, and draft chapters in web and PDF formats:

Introduction:
    Preamble:  Trees
    Dagbon:  Close from a Distance
    Relative Systems

Volume I:  The Work of Drumming
    Part 1:  Alhaji Ibrahim's Introduction to the Work (Chapters 1-8)
    Part 2:  The Work of Drumming (Chapters 9-13)
    Part 3:  Music and Dancing in Community Life (Chapters 14-20)
    Part 4:  Learning and Maturity (Chapters 21-22, 24)

Volume II:  Old Talks
    Part 4:  Religion and Medicine (
Chapters 22-27, 29)

Volume III:  In Our Living
    Part 3:  Children (Chapters 11-16
)



A DRUMMER’S TESTAMENT:  Dagbamba Society and Culture in the Twentieth Century

Collaborators and Research Associates
Notes on Project status and draft chapter updates
Maps:
       Map of Ghana 1977   PDF / JPEG
      
Map of Northern Ghana 1977   PDF / JPEG
       Map of Dagbon 1977   PDF / JPEG
Summary Table of Contents  <PDF>
Expanded Table of Contents  <PDF>
Guide to Pronunciation  <PDF>
Currency note
Acknowledgments

JOHN CHERNOFF'S INTRODUCTION
   Preamble:  Trees  <PDF>
    Dagbon:  Close from a Distance  <PDF>
    Relative Systems  <PDF>
    The Anthropological Heritage
    Dagbon:  Closing the Distance
    The Ethnographic Seed
    The Translation
    The Creative
    Testament:  The Eulogy of Alhaji Mumuni
    The Receptive
     Notes


Volume I:  THE WORK OF DRUMMING


Part 1:  ALHAJI IBRAHIM’S INTRODUCTION TO THE WORK 
    1:     The Benefits of Friendship and Why We Should Do the Work as a Group  
    2:     The Dagbamba Way of Living in the Villages and in the Towns
    3:     The Sense of Dagbamba and Their Living in the Olden Days

    4:     Respect and the Dagbamba Way of Living Together
    5:     The Way of a Stranger and How a Stranger Should Live in Dagbon
    6:     How Dagbamba Send Messengers
    7:     The Debt of the Stomach
    8:     
Patience, Truth, and How We Should Do the Talks

Part 2:  DRUMMERS AND DRUMMING IN DAGBON
    9:      The Work of Drumming
    10:    The Respect of Drumming and How Drumming Started in Dagbon
    11:    Drummers and Other Musicians of Dagbon
    12:    How We Make Our Drums and Gungons
    13:    How a Drum Is Beaten


Part 3:  MUSIC AND DANCING IN COMMUNITY EVENTS
    14:    Proverbs and Praise-Names
    15:    The Praise-Name Dances and the Benefits of Music
    16:    How a Person Should Dance
    17:   
Baamaaya, Jera, Yori, Bila and Other Dances of Dagbon
    18:    Takai and Tora
    19:    Funerals
    20:   
Muslims’ Funerals and Chiefs’ Funerals

Part 4:  LEARNING AND MATURITY
    21:    How Children are Trained in Drumming and Singing
    22:    Traveling and Learning the Dances of Other Tribes
    23:    Drum Chieftaincies
    24:    How Drummers Share Money

Volume II:  OLD TALKS:  DRUMMERS, CHIEFS, HISTORY AND RELIGION

Part 1:  CHIEFTAINCY
    1:    The Forbidden Topics of Drumming
    2:    How Drummers Search for the Old Talks
    3:    Old Talks:  The Origins of Dagbon
    4:    Naa Shitɔbu and Naa Nyaɣsi:  The Founding of Dagbon
    5:    The Yaa-Naa and the Elders of Yendi
    6:    The Organization of Chieftaincy
    7:     How Princes Get Chieftaincy and Go to Hold a Town
    8:     How Chiefs Judge Cases

Part 2:  HISTORY
    9:     The Drum History (Samban’ luŋa)
    10:   The First Gonja War:  Naa Dariʒɛɣu and Naa Luro
    11:   Naa Zanjina and the Coming of Islam
    12:   The Second Gonja War:  Naa Zanjina and Naa Siɣli
    13:   The Cola and Slave Trades:  Naa Garba and Naa Ziblim
    14:   The Pre-Colonial Era:  Naa Andani and Naa Alhassan
    15:   Modern History and the Chieftaincy Crisis

Part 3:  FESTIVALS IN COMMUNITY LIFE AND THE WORK OF DRUMMERS
    16:   Festivals:  The Fire Festival
    17:   Festivals:  The Damba Festival
    18:   Festivals:  Kpini, Ramadan, and Chimsi
    19:   The Role of Greetings in Festivals and Daily Life

Part 4:  RELIGION AND MEDICINE
    20:    The Dagbamba Belief in God
    21:    Islam, Muslim Elders, and the Strength of Islam
    22:    The Pilgrimage to Mecca
    23:    Traditional Religion:  Soothsayers and Diviners
    24:    Traditional Religion:  The Priests of the Land
    25:    Traditional Religion:  Gods and Shrines
    26:    Traditional Religion:  Medicine
    27:    Drummer’s Medicines
    28:    Diseases and Medicine
    29:    Madness

Volume III:  IN OUR LIVING

Part 1:  ECONOMIC LIFE
    1:    Farming in Dagbon
    2:    How Dagbamba Farm Yams
    3:    The Work of Guinea Corn
    4:    Rice Farming
    5:    Groundnuts, Shea Butter, and Kpalgu
    6:    Markets
    7:    Modern Types of Work and Problems of Economic Development

Part 2:  FAMILY
    8:     Family and Lineage
    9:     How a Family Separates
    10:   What Makes A Family Strong

Part 3:  CHILDREN
    11:   The Benefits of Children    
    12:   How a Child is Given Birth
    13:   Special Problems of Children
    14:   How Children Live When They Are Young
    15:   How Girls Grow Up in the Villages
    16:   How Boys Grow Up in the Villages

Part 4:  HOUSEHOLDING
    17:   How Dagbamba Marry
    18:   Bachelors
    19:   Why Dagbamba Marry Many Wives
    20:   Home Economics
    21:   Marriage and Love
    22:   The Life of Women
    23:   Sex and Jealousy in the Polygamous Household
    24:   Divorce

Part 5:  OLD AGE
    25:   Widows
    26:   How Dagbamba Regard Old Age
    27:   The Life of Old People

Part 6:  CONCLUSION:
    28:   Alhaji Ibrahim’s Reflection on the Work


SUPPORTING MATERIAL

Photographs
Tables and Figures as readers’ aids for data-intensive chapters
    Chapters I-9, I-14, III-8
        Figure 1:  Alhaji Ibrahim's Father's Line   <PDF>
        Figure 2:  Alhaji Ibrahim's Mother's Line   <PDF>
        Figure 3:  Early Tamale Drumming Leaders   <PDF>
    Chapters 1-14 through 1-22
        List of dances  <PDF>
    Yaa-Naas of Dagbon:  Genealogical Chart  <PDF>
    Yaa-Naas of Dagbon:  Chronological Charts  <PDF>
Recordings of music
Index 1:  Persons, titles, towns, tribes in the text
Index 2:  Proverbs, praise-names, dances mentioned in the text
Index 3:  General content and subject index
Map 1:    Ghana:  principal towns and cultural groups cited   PDF / JPEG
Map 2:    Northern and Upper Regions of Ghana:  major towns cited   PDF / JPEG
Map 3:    Dagbon:  towns and villages cited   PDF / JPEG
Outline of chapter contents
Glossary of Dagbani words used in the text
Annotated Bibliography on Dagbon
Uploads and Revisions History


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