Citi TV’s night of cultural dance exhibition at the Dakpema palace in Tamale was a night to remember as the event provided a rare opportunity to showcase the unique dances of Dagombas.
Hundreds of residents including some foreigners thronged the forecourt of the Dakpema palace after sunset on Friday to witness energetic dance performances such as jara, tora, nagbegu, takai, Simpa, baamaaya, gonje among others.
Some of the dance groups included Duilbbla, Kpakpagyili, Simpa, Tahama and Tor.
Citi TV organized the night of cultural dance exhibition to give this year’s Damba a unique flavour.
Most of the patrons of the event were not disappointed.
In an interview with Citi News, the residents described the exhibition as a moment to savour.
“I hope and pray that more people like Citi TV will cover this kind of occasion. We have a lot to show Ghanaians and the whole world and so we thank you very much for coming,” a gentleman said.
“We thank Citi TV so much for covering Damba Festival. This is the first time our festival has been covered by a media station. Because of what you have done, we would now watch Citi TV more then we used to,” a lady said.
Another man stated: “I thank the Almighty God and I’m very happy. If I go back to Accra, I’ll talk to my brothers and neighbours that Dagbon is united now. May Allah bless Citi TV to be bigger than it already is.”
Citi TV is the official media partner for this year’s Damba festival which is a traditional festival among most ethnic groups in northern Ghana.
This is part of the firm’s resolve to project culture and tourism in Ghana.
About Damba Festival
The Damba festival is celebrated by the chiefs and peoples of Nalerigu, Tamale, and Wa in the Northern Region and Upper West Region of Ghana.
The festival is celebrated in the Dagomba lunar month of Damba, corresponding with the third month of the Islamic calendar, Rabia al-Awwal.
It is celebrated to mark the birth and naming of Muhammad, but the actual content of the celebration is a glorification of the chieftaincy, not specific Islamic motifs.
Already, Citi TV has covered the Chale Wote Festival and Odwira Festival.
About the Takai dance
Takai is a royal dance of Dagbamba chiefs, and princes. It is performed on festive occasions such as annual Damba festival, political rallies, and durbar of chiefs. Danced only by men, takai movements involve pivot turns, torso swings, and stamping to the rhythm of the Luna and gungon, the only drums that are used in this dance.
Baamaaya, meaning “The River (valley) is wet”, is the most popular social music and dance (recreational dance-drumming) among the inhabitants of Dagbon of Northern Ghana. The history of this classic dance which started as a religious musical performance underscores the philosophy and culture of the Dagbanba/Dagobani towards women.
The Baamaya dance originated from the days of severe drought and hunger. it is believed that an oracle had told the people of the North that the rains will only come if the men stopped demeaning women. The oracle charged men to play the roles of the women a strong indication of gender equality. During the dance male performers hold fans made from grass.
The music is a mixture of drum beats and bamboo flute sounds. Similar to the Jera dance, the Baamaya dancers move their hips, this time in a quick wiggling motion with the speed controlled by the beat of the music.
The dance was originally performed by men. During the dance, the women sing and shout praises to encourage the dancers (cheerlead), women now also participate in the dance. It is not an age specific dance and it performed in groups in a circle at festivals, naming ceremonies, social events and of course during times of harvest. Baamaya means the river valley is wet.
The Simpa Dance, which is known for its emotional expression and education was discovered in 1948, according to Dagbon historians. Dagombas regard dancing as a form of emotional expression, social interaction, a spiritual performance or even a physical exercise that aids them articulate or illustrate ideas or tell a story.
In most cases, music in Dagbon is accompanied by dancing in order to form a complete story. The Simpa Dance is one where a male singer leads women in the act accompanied by background drummers and singers to whip up enthusiasm. For a woman to be a successful simpa dancer, she must be agile and be able to gyrate —shake her waist in such a way it would attract the interest of men.