By Prince Acquah
Cape Coast, Dec 12, GNA – Magic, animation, beauty, and originality were combined to blow the minds of patrons at the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) when the Western, Oti and Upper East Regions took the stage to display their cultural heritage in turns.
Like the lovely Kente cloth, the diverse cultural dances, drum rhythms, songs, and traditional war group (Asafo) displays came together to form a refreshingly colourful pattern of authentic Ghanaian culture and heritage.
A panoramic view of masquerades from Cape Coast accompanied by a brass band, raised the curtain with a fascinating choreography which was met with admiration and loud applause from the chiefs, ministers, and the public gathered.
The Asankran Saa Bosoԑ Cultural Group from the Western Region, opened the performances of the day with series of ancient dances which is believed to be on the verge of extinction.
They danced slowly to rhythms and sounds created with twene, dawurunta, frutua, dondo and Akasaa to entertain the audience.
At a point, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister and Obrepong Hema Dekyi XIV, Paramount Chief of Upper Dixcove Traditional Area joined the Cultural Groups to do the traditional dances, attracting praises and applause.
The 16-member group is said to perform at funerals, naming ceremonies and weddings to entertain and promote the Ghanaian Culture and traditions.
The Asuogya Ankobea Asafo Group from the region also followed with a captivating display of war songs and dance to keep the Adisadel School Park lively.
Led by the Assipi (Superior Captain), the group of traditional warriors exists to protect and defend the community against intruders.
The Olorbor Dance Group from the Tunkpa Community in the Guan District of the Oti Region took the excitement a notch higher with series of agitated traditional dances.
The 25-member group displayed the rich dance inherited from their ancestors which was to be bequeathed to the future generation to promote it to the world at large.
The Olorbor dance is used to entertain and educate members of the community and is usually performed at marriages and naming ceremonies, festivals, and funerals.
The Likpe-Bakua Asafo Dance Group also from the Guan District took the audience on an emotional roller-coaster with a nerve-racking demonstration of supernatural powers to the admiration of all.
Every moment they spent at the centre of the park was a moment of fright, suspense, and bemusement, leaving the audience spellbound.
From fetching water with basket to cutting and piercing themselves with knives and blade without bleeding, the gathering was astonished by the magical display and watched expectantly.
The Asafo Dance group was formed in December 1965 to depict their experiences in the past and how it had survived in Likpe-Bakua from generation to generation.
Membership of the group was a preserve for men but in recent times, it is also opened to women.
With sheer energy and ‘backbreaking’ dances to orgasmic African rhythms created with assorted instruments, the Kajelo-Nabio Show Boys from the Kassena-Nankana West District of Upper East Region stole the show.
The Kajelo-Nabio Cultural group was formed in 1940 to promote the culture of the people and it graces socio-cultural activities like marriages, funerals, and community festivals.
The Nongre Deaya Group, a traditional war group from Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region brought nothing short of pure entertainment and enchantment when they took the stage in their large numbers.
The arrow and bow-wielding warriors were half-dressed in animal skin with horned headgears and staff.
They performed the Deah war dance beyond the borders of the region for the first time with intense focus, glitz, and pleasure.
The Deah war dance is celebrated by and for the Guriene tribe of Bolgatanga mostly at funerals as a way of honouring their ancestors and recently departed souls for their bravery in wars to protect their tribe members and women, and for their hunting skills used in maintaining the food supply chain for their families.
The values of the group are based on heritage, peace, love, tolerance, cohabitation, and a unique purpose of projecting their uniqueness in culture and tradition.
NAFAC, Ghana’s biggest cultural festival is celebrated bi-annually on rotational basis to provide a platform to highlight the diversity and richness in the country’s ethnic and regional cultures to stimulate peace and unity.
This year’s celebration which also marks the 60th anniversary of the festival is on the theme: “Reviving Patriotism, Peace and Unity through Cultural Diversity for Sustainable Development.”
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo opened the festival last Saturday with a call on Ghanaians to be more selfless and use patriotic approaches towards discussions around the country’s economy and other sectors of development.