Drumming and Dancing Workshop
February 22, 2014
The first workshop on Saturday will be led by master dancer Nani Agbeli. This workshop is a hands-on event, allowing those who attend to learn the percussion parts, and get on their feet, learning about traditional dance from the home-land of Dr. Amu. In particular Prof. Agbeli will focus on Adzogbo-Len. Those who attend the concert the evening before (Feb. 21, 2014 in Brown hall at NEC - 30 Gainsborough street, Boston MA 02115) will hear and see Adzogbo danced and played by the Agbekor Society under Agbeli's direction.
In an article that Godwin Agbeli (father of Nani Agbeli, and teacher to David Locke) co-authored with Professor Locke, he explains: “Adzogbo was created in pre-colonial times by Fo speaking people of Dahomey. According to oral tradition, Adzogbo provided a means for Fo warriors to get information about impending battles from their war gods. It is said that several weeks before an encounter, adolescent boys were taken into seclusion in the forest, where they were treated with herbs, kept apart from women, and trained in the esoteric lore of the war gods associated with Adzogbo. They practiced the music and dance of Adzogbo, and it was believed that the gods themselves dictated the dance movements and choreography that the boys learned. On an appointed day the boys were brought from the forest to dance Adzogbo before the warriors. As they danced, some of the boys would become possessed with the spirit of a war god. It was thought that the war leader could foretell the course of the up-coming battle by interpreting the possessed boys' movements. The legendary Fo war leader Kondo is believed to have been one such hero. With the pacification of West Africa by the end of the 19th century the dance lost its esoteric purpose; Adzogbo now became a vehicle for men to display their strength, agility, and virile spirit.” Locke, David and Godwin Agbeli, “Drum Language in Adzogbo,” The Black Perspective in Music, Vol. 9, No. 1, (1981), p. 26. All are welcome, and there is no cost for the event, though we do ask that you register.