A Drummer's Testament
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Chapter I-25:  How Drummers Share Money   <PDF file>

How drummers earn money at gatherings; example of Namo-Naa and his messengers; sharing money to elders; “covering the anus of Bizuŋ”; how Alhaji Ibrahim divides drummers into groups and shares money; why drummers share money to old people and children; what drumming doesn’t want; the need for “one mouth”

Paragraph outline and links
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms

Supplementary material

Note on money:
Because inflation makes the cedis figures irrelevant, a rough estimate of average earnings at a wedding house in 1970s dollars would be about forty to fifty dollars per group.  The amount could be lower or higher, depending on the wedding house.  In villages and small towns, the amount would be lower.  Similarly, using average amounts, in the following paragraphs, the amounts for the singer, the lundaa and the guŋgɔŋ might be four to five dollars, and proportionate for the others mentioned, although again, the amounts could frequently be less.

Contents outline and links by paragraph  <top of page>


1.  Introduction:  sharing of money based on seniority and chieftaincy

Example:  how Namo-Naa’s messengers attend a Savelugu chief’s funeral

2.  Namo-Naa sends messengers to Palo-Naa; drummers beat to start funeral; Palo-Naa separates Namo-Naa’s share
3.  Thursday showing the riches; more drumming and money; Namo-Naa has a share
4.  Friday prayers; praise drumming; more money shared
5.  sharing the funeral cows:  some for Yendi people; some for feeding; some for visitors
6.  some cows for food; others are sold or taken home
7.  drummers beat when funeral cows are slaughtered at chief’s house; drummers get the heads; Palo-Naa gives to Namo-Naa’s messengers
8.  only the heads from the slaughtered cows; not the gift cows
9.  Namo-Naa’s messengers give some of the heads back to Palo-Naa; return to Yendi with money and cowheads
10.  Namo-Naa will share everything with the drum chiefs of Yendi

What Namo-Naa gets

11.  money and meat from funerals or wherever drummers go; also from people looking for chieftaincy
12.  Namo-Naa’s messengers at funeral, go around and greet chiefs, also receive greetings for Namo-Naa

Savelugu Palo-Naa

13.  Palo-Naa does not get the amount Namo-Naa gets
14.  Dolsi-Naa, Taha-Naa, and Dobihi-Naa a different door
15.  how Palo-Naa has to share with other drummers
16.  how Savelugu youngmen’s drummers share with elders
17.  Namo-Naa gets more than Palo-Naa because of people greeting Yaa-Naa for chieftaincy

Example:  Nanton drummers at a village chief’s funeral

18.  how Nanton drum chiefs attend the funeral of a village chief
19.  beating drums when shaving the heads
20.  barbers and drummers share the money
21.  seating the Gbɔŋlana
22.  dancing; summary of the money received
23.  sharing the money among the drum chiefs
24.  money reserved for sick or excused drummers
25.  money reserved for daughters of drummers
26.  the drum chiefs share the money
27.  how they share the cowheads and sheepheads
28.  why there are many animals at a village chief’s funeral

Tamale:  Alhaji Ibrahim and the young men’s drummers

29.  how Alhaji Ibrahim organizes drummers for different wedding houses; greeted with food
30.  how drummers earn money at wedding houses; more food before leaving
31.  differences when perform with dancers as a cultural group; dancers get their share
32.  normal way:  the groups bring their money from the different weddding houses
33.  sharing depends on work:  elders who identify people’s praise-names, singer, lundaa, guŋgɔŋ
34.  elders, singer, lundaa get larger shares; others get less; share even to children who collect money
35.  shares for the old drummers who do not beat, whether or not they went to the wedding house
36.  add for a drummer who has a naming or a funeral to perform
37.  drummers share the money at home to sisters and elders; covering the anus of Bizuŋ
38.  sharing a little to children in the house

The ways of sharing

39.  accept even nothing, even from an empty hand; covering Bizuŋ’s anus
40.  knowledge about sharing is from the elders; sharing has restrictions
41.  how drummers steal money; such a drummer will not advance
42.  drummers leave money in open; afraid to steal

How Alhaji Ibrahim became responsible for the Tamale drummers

43.  when Sheni was leading, he gave the sharing to another drummer who stole and became unable to sing
44.  how a voice can decrease:  by not singing through puberty or by stealing
45.  how Sheni gave the sharing to Alhaji Ibrahim; twenty-five years and no quarrels
46.  how Alhaji Mumuni told Alhaji Ibrahim not to share the money; what happpend
47.  how the drummers asked Alhaji Ibrahim to share the money; the lesson of Alhaji Mumuni


48.  the money from drumming is not consumed alone; shared among many people

Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

Our beating is like that:  one day, one day.

A drummer does not drum and spend alone.

God should cover the anus of Bizuŋ.

When they don’t show you, you cannot know. 

If you steal, you steal for yourself; and if you don’t steal, you don’t steal for yourself.

Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs and elders
Gbonlana  (Gbɔŋlana)
Mba Naa
Pakpon  (Pakpɔŋ)
Yendi Limam
Yidaan' Gunu

Drum chiefs and elders
Bizun  (Bizuŋ)
Kuga Lun-Naa  (Kuɣa Lun-Naa)
Kuga Sampahi-Naa  (Kuɣa Sampahi-Naa)
Kuga Taha-Naa  (Kuɣa Taha-Naa)
Lun-Naa Pakpon  (Lun-Naa Pakpɔŋ)
Maachendi  (Maachɛndi)
Maachendi Pakpɔŋ  (Maachɛndi Pakpɔŋ)
Maachendi Wulana  (Maachɛndi Wulana)
Namogu-Lun-Naa  (Namɔɣu-Lun-Naa)
Namogu-Yiwogu-Naa  (Namɔɣu-Yiwɔɣu-Naa)
Nanton Lun-Naa
Nanton Maachendi  (Nanton Maachɛndi)
Savelugu Yiwogu-Naa Karimu  (Savelugu Yiwɔɣu-Naa Karimu)
Yendi Sampahi-Naa
Yiwogu-Naa  (Yiwogu-Naa)
Zɔhi Lun-Naa
Zɔhi Sampahi-Naa
Zɔhi Taha-Naa

Abdulai Seidu
Alhaji  [Ibrahim]
Alhaji Adam  [Alhassan Mangulana]
Issa Karimu  [Issa Tailor]
Mohamadu  [Fuseini]
Mumuni  [Alhaji Mumuni]
Mba Sheni  [Fuseini Alhassan]

Musical terms
gungon  (guŋgɔŋ)
lumpaga  (lumpaɣa)
Naawuni lirim Lun Bizun gbini  (Naawuni lirim Luŋ Bizuŋ gbini)
N yab' bia
Samban' lunga  (Samban' luŋa)

Towns and places
Dagbon  (Dagbɔŋ)
Dagbon Toma  (Dagbɔŋ Toma)
Namogu  (Namɔɣu)
Naya  [Yendi]

Cultural groups

Miscellaneous terms
n yab' bia
sagim  (saɣim)