AT THE PERFORMANCE

Every piece Okropong performs has its own music, instruments, and dance movements. The company’s dedication to the cultural traditions behind the dances is apparent as performers explain the origin and function of each dance within its culture. The dances and their accompanying music offer lively snapshots of the African experience. Student audiences will notice the strong connection between music, dance, and life in African culture and its connection to music in America.

At the concert, you will hear polyrhythm in the song “Hulu,” which means sunshine. The words say “when it’s hot, the music goes faster”. Hulu is an example of an old highlife song. Highlife music was created around the turn of the twentieth century using instruments much like you see in the performance. Later, highlife changed to reflect international influences and at times sounded like jazz, reggae, and most recently- hip hop.

CALL AND RESPONSE

Ask the students for examples of call
and response in American culture. (“What do we want? Freedom! When do we want it? Now!) An example from the civil rights movement.

In much of African vocal music, a single solo singer sings words that a group of singers answers. This style of singing is referred to as call and response. At the performance you will get to sing with Okropong in a “call and response” song. In one part of “Oge,” the solo singer sings, “Thank you in Ga (Anyako) “–the call. Then the group sings, “You’re welcome” (Ya-ey)–the response. The call has one melody and the response has another.

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Pictures of students dancing