Start Date

31-5-2011 4:00 PM

End Date

31-5-2011 5:00 PM

Description

Close in rhythm to Caribbean the ASSIKO from Gorée in Sénégal has entertained generations of Africans even across the Atlantic ocean just by the mere fact that by nature it is a mixture of various African rhythms. Through its songs and dance steps African ethnic groups and communities of African descent have lived in peace thus discovering the beauty of their own culture and that of their neighbors’ as these were embedded in ASSIKO: singing together a song from another ethnic group, dancing together steps that are invented and made up based on somebody else’s dance has proved to be a tool for peaceful living, peace building, inter ethnic activities, creation of a space where peace becomes the most cherished thing... There are many songs that belong to West African folklore that cannot be translated in any African languages because of the blend of words that came from various languages to make up one song (Bambara, Wolof, Fon, Ewe…). Better yet songs and words have survived thanks to some necessary phonetical transformation that kept them going and alive passed on from generation to generation: Assiko si mama yé! is a phrase sung in Sénégal but no Senegalese language can translate these words: funny how people in Sénégal can still jam and dance and have a great time to this day with these words. How funny that as a teenager in our Assiko band my friends and I sang : ‘ give me money taxi driver , I no k ‘ and discover much later when our command of the English language got a little better that this was from a Ghana-Nigeria High life song that said ‘ if you marry taxi driver , I don’t care’. The Assiko is the fruit of several beats that have migrated to Gorée through slavery : songs from what is today known as Congo, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria made their way to this West African island where slaves were kept before being shipped to the Americas. On the island, slaves from different background taught each other songs in order to face the hardship they experienced on a daily basis. Eventually their songs made it to the Americas where they developed into other forms of spiritual and sports activities that were banned by the slave owners. This paper/interactive workshop explores concrete cases of ancient and contemporary Assiko songs and dances in Africa and in its Diaspora. Very little is known about the Assiko from Gorée while its counterpart from Cameroon enjoys more popularity; the paper/audio-video workshop investigates the differences and similarities that make this music style a communitarian activity late at night on the beach with instruments that require no electricity to play all night long.

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May 31st, 4:00 PM May 31st, 5:00 PM

Community Music and The Culture of Trans-border Peace in West Africa: The Case of the Assiko in Gorée (Sénégal)

Close in rhythm to Caribbean the ASSIKO from Gorée in Sénégal has entertained generations of Africans even across the Atlantic ocean just by the mere fact that by nature it is a mixture of various African rhythms. Through its songs and dance steps African ethnic groups and communities of African descent have lived in peace thus discovering the beauty of their own culture and that of their neighbors’ as these were embedded in ASSIKO: singing together a song from another ethnic group, dancing together steps that are invented and made up based on somebody else’s dance has proved to be a tool for peaceful living, peace building, inter ethnic activities, creation of a space where peace becomes the most cherished thing... There are many songs that belong to West African folklore that cannot be translated in any African languages because of the blend of words that came from various languages to make up one song (Bambara, Wolof, Fon, Ewe…). Better yet songs and words have survived thanks to some necessary phonetical transformation that kept them going and alive passed on from generation to generation: Assiko si mama yé! is a phrase sung in Sénégal but no Senegalese language can translate these words: funny how people in Sénégal can still jam and dance and have a great time to this day with these words. How funny that as a teenager in our Assiko band my friends and I sang : ‘ give me money taxi driver , I no k ‘ and discover much later when our command of the English language got a little better that this was from a Ghana-Nigeria High life song that said ‘ if you marry taxi driver , I don’t care’. The Assiko is the fruit of several beats that have migrated to Gorée through slavery : songs from what is today known as Congo, Cameroon, The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria made their way to this West African island where slaves were kept before being shipped to the Americas. On the island, slaves from different background taught each other songs in order to face the hardship they experienced on a daily basis. Eventually their songs made it to the Americas where they developed into other forms of spiritual and sports activities that were banned by the slave owners. This paper/interactive workshop explores concrete cases of ancient and contemporary Assiko songs and dances in Africa and in its Diaspora. Very little is known about the Assiko from Gorée while its counterpart from Cameroon enjoys more popularity; the paper/audio-video workshop investigates the differences and similarities that make this music style a communitarian activity late at night on the beach with instruments that require no electricity to play all night long.