A Drummer's Testament
drummers
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Chapter II-4:  Naa Shitɔbu, Naa Nyaɣsi, and the Founding of Dagbon  <PDF file>

Naa Shitɔbu and Naa Nyaɣsi; the usurpation of the tindanas: the establishment of chieftaincies in the towns; Dagbamba relationships to Mamprusi, Mossi, Nanumba, and other cultural groups in the region; listing the line of the Yaa-Naas

Supplementary material
Paragraph outline
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search terms



Supplementary material
  <top of page>

Naa Gbewaa's children mentioned in the text (list)   <PDF>
Naa Nyaɣsi's children mentioned in the text (list)  <PDF>
Yaa-Naas of Dagbon:  genealogical chart  <PDF>
Yaa-Naas of Dagbon:  chronological charts  <PDF>


Contents outline by paragraph  <top of page>

Naa Shitɔbu and the founding of Dagbon; the original inhabitants of the region

1.  Naa Shitɔbu the one from whom Yendi chieftaincy started; first Yaa-Naa by name
2.  Dagbamba came and met people; Tiyaawumiya people were before them
3.  Kaluɣsi who became Zabaɣ’ kparba, Dagban’ sabli; those who stayed have become Dagbamba
4.  example:  if John has children with a Dagbana woman, the children will be Dagbamba

Naa Nyaɣsi’s war against the tindanas; the starting of chieftaincies in the towns

5.  Naa Nyaɣsi waged war against the tindanas; Naa Shitɔbu talk Naa Nyaɣsi to gather people
6.  how Naa Shitɔbu counseled Naa Nyaɣsi to prepare for war
7.  Naa Shitɔbu appointed his brother Kuɣa-Naa to look after Naa Nyaɣsi; gathered Naa Shitɔbu’s brothers and elders and their children
8.  Gaa the first town; Naa Nyaɣsi appointed Gaa-Naa Tuuviɛlgu; called a son
9.  the tindanas ran away; Naa Nyaɣsi put a follower as chief; Naa Nyaɣsi made Dagbon stand
10.  those who followed are called sons of Naa Nyaɣsi; list of Naa Gbewaa’s children and their chieftaincies
11.  list of Naa Nyaɣsi’s “children” and their chieftaincies

How drummers praise “children” of chiefs; explanation of discrepancies in calling names

12.  drummers use the names of Naa Nyaɣsi’s children to praise the towns; Savelugu’s name
13.  Naa Nyaɣsi’s followers who became chiefs are praised as his children
14.  Naa Nyaɣsi’s first-born discrepancies with Naa Zulandi and Gaa-Naa Tuuviɛlgu
15.  Naa Nyaɣsi’s followers are his children because they followed him to war
16.  example:  John is taken as Alhaji Ibrahim’s son because following him in work
17.  Naa Nyaɣsi’s followers who became chiefs were not his actual children
18.  some Yendi chiefs or other chiefs, can take brother’s or sister’s child as the zuu
19.  if chief is old or impotent, the children of his wives are still taken as his children
20.  Yaa-Naa’s child who dies is given a chieftaincy name by Yendi drummers; other towns’ drummers won’t know; differences in extent of knowledge
21.  Dagbon has two sides:  Toma and Naya; drummers learn praises of towns nearby
22.  Yendi has moved from former location; many towns also moved

Bagli and Yɔɣu traditions

23.  stories about Naa Nyaɣsi’s succession of Naa Shitɔbu; Naa Shitɔbu died at Bagli
24.  traditions at Bagli when a Yaa-Naa dies; dead chiefs go there
25.  similar traditions at Yɔɣu; Naa Nyaɣsi gave chieftaincy to Naa Zulandi and went to Yɔɣu
26.  stories about Naa Nyaɣsi’s chieftaincy; creating wells; died at Yɔɣu

Assimilation of the tindanas

27.  Dagbon not standing well; no tindanas to make sacrifices; chiefs suffer madness
28.  the tindanas returned and aligned with chiefs to make sacrifices; pre-Islamic customs remain
29.  chiefs are close to tindanas from starting; most are not deeply into Muslim religion

Dagbamba’s relationships to the cultural groups of northern Ghana

30.  Naa Nyaɣsi’s time, the starting of Dagbamba chieftaincy; senior to Mamprusis and Nanumbas; relations to Mossis; connection of Walas and Dagartis through Naa Zokuli
31.  “playmates” with Mamprusis, Nanumbas, Mossis; relations to Gurumas and Yaansi
32.  stories of Guruma origins of drumming from Bizuŋ, Naa Nyaɣsi’s son; eldership of Gurumas
33.  Mossis relationship shown during Fire Festival; Mossis get grandchild’s gift
34.  Dagbamba are close to Mamprusis; Yaa-Naa and Mamprugulana dispute seniority
35.  Namo-Naa:  Frafras, Talensis, Kusasis were under the Mamprusis; mixed
36.  Tampolensis, Kantonsis have similar language to Dagbani and Mampruli; Kantonsis close to Mamprusis; Zantansis their own tribe
37.  all these groups and black Dagbamba are one tribe; have similar languages
38.  relationship of Dagbamba to Upper Region people except Gurunsis; Chekosis and Bimobas no relationship; Builsas, Lobis no relationship; Kotokolis, Dandawas, Zambarimas are related; Bassaris and Chembas have similar languages
39.  Konkombas:  under Bimbila-Naa; original inhabitants in eastern Dagbon; related to Bassaris and Chembas
40.  Konkombas are part of Yaa-Naa’s line; mothers of Yaa-Naas; merging with Dagbamba
41.  Chembas and Bassaris:  no relationship
42.  Gonjas:  no relation; fought wars; typical Gonjas similar to Dagban’ sabli; under the real Gonjas who came to that place
43.  don’t know how many people were originally in Dagbon; Kaluɣsi people may be Dagban’ sabli and Zabaɣ’ kparba
44.  the Kaluɣsis ran away; had much land; became “typical” Gonjas; Zabaɣsi a modern name for Gonjas
45.  Gonjas living as friends but have different way of living; less farming; Dagbamba no relation to Vagalas
46.  Dagbamba invaders may not have been many; Dagbani is a regional language
47.  summary:  related to Mamprusis, Frafras, Talensis, Tampolensis, Zantansis, Kantonsis; also Walas and Dagartis; similar languages, similar ways of living

Dagbamba customs compared to other groups

48.  Dagbambas more eye-open than all others, including Ashantis
49.  example:  Kusasi funerals have similar customs; Ashantis are different
50.  Dagbamba:  know respect; customs have some differences
51.  the people Dagbamba conquered are now Dagbamba, including tindanas; the chieftaincies of the towns started from Naa Nyaɣsi

Yaa-Naas after Naa Nyaɣsi

52.  Naa Nyaɣsi’s zuu was Naa Zulandi; succeeded Naa Nyaɣsi
53.  Naa Naɣalɔɣu died in war, so called a Yaa-Naa even though did not eat the chieftaincy
54.  Naa Daturli, also called Naa Dalgu and Naa Dalgudamda; Naa Briguyomda; sons of Naa Zulandi
55.  Naa Zɔlgu, then his four sons:  Naa Zɔmbila (Naa Zɔŋ); Naa Niŋmitooni, Naa Dimani, Naa Yenzoo
56.  Naa Dariʒɛɣu, son of Naa Zɔmbila; Naa Luro, son of Naa Zɔlgu
57.  four sons of Naa Luro:  Naa Tutuɣri, Naa Zaɣli, Naa Zokuli, Naa Gungobli
58.  Naa Zanjina, youngest son of Naa Tutuɣri; Naa Andan’ Siɣli, son of Naa Zaɣli; Naa Zanjina’s sons:  Naa Jinli Bimbiɛgu, Naa Garba; Naa Garba’s sons:  Naa Saa Ziblim (Saalana Ziblim), Naa Ziblim Bandamda, Naa Andani Jɛŋgbarga
59.  Naa Mahami, Naa Ziblim Kulunku, Naa Simaani Zoli, Naa Yakuba
60.  Naa Abilaai (Abdulai) Naɣbiɛɣu, Naa Andani Naanigoo, sons of Naa Yakuba
61.  Naa Alaasani, Naa Abudu, Naa Mahama Kpɛma, Naa Mahama Bila, Naa Abila Bila (Abdulai Bila)
62.  Dagbon spoiled after Naa Abila Bila’s death; lines of Naa Andani (Andani) and Naa Abilaai (Abudu); Naa Abila Bila’s son Naa Mahamadu eats; dispute between Naa Mahamadu and Mionlana Andani; Naa Mahamadu removed by government of General Acheampong
63.  Adubu house drummers do not call Mionlana Andani a Yaa-Naa, nor his son Yakubu; Yaa-Naa cannot be removed
64.  if Yaa-Naa runs away from war, not considered a Yaa-Naa; example:  Naa Darimani
65.  drummers know the customs; Andani house did not follow custom; installed by soldiers

Conclusion

70.  transition to the talk about Yaa-Naa’s chieftaincy and other chieftaincies, and the work of chiefs



Proverbs and Sayings  <top of page>

“Landing with war”

“I have met good luck.”

“You are going to be in front of this person, so that when you come across a bad stone, you will remove it, or when you come across a bad root, you will remove it.

It is from the time of Naa Nyaɣsi that our Dagbon came out and stood.

Our Yendi matters have got a lot of talk inside, and only we drummers know it.

“Truly, you will be going in front, and we will be following you.  And we will leave your towns for you.”

All the chiefs are from the bone of Naa Gbewaa.

Every chief sacrifices to the god in his town, and it is there like that up till now.

“Do your work and give it to these children of mine, and some time it will come to benefit them.”

If you bring forth your child and your child becomes very fat, you won’t want to be seeing him.  And you child also will not want to be seeing you.  If you always sit and see one another too much, you will come to see that your child’s eyes will not have trust in you again.

We know respect more than any other tribe.

We know:  “This is a stranger.”  

If you are going to collect your friend’s work and do it, can you do it the same as your friend was doing it?

“His father died and he also died that evening.”

Our custom did not make him a chief, and so he is not a chief.  

A drummer does not dislike a chief.

There is no chieftaincy in Dagbon today, and our Dagbon is now spoiled.



Key words for ASCII searches  <top of page>

Chiefs of Yendi
Nimbu
Kumtili
Zhipopora  (Ʒipopora)
Naa Abila Bila
Naa Abilaai
Naa Abudu
Naa Alaasani
Naa Andani
Naa Andani Jengbarga  (Naa Andani Jɛŋgbarga)
Naa Briguyomda
Naa Dalgudamda  [Naa Daturli, Naa Dalgu]
Naa Darimani  [Bukari Giya, Kukara Djee]
Naa Darizhegu  (Naa Dariʒɛɣu)
Naa Dimani
Naa Garba
Naa Gbewaa
Naa Gungobli
Naa Jinli Bimbiegu  (Naa Jinli Bimbiɛɣu)  [Naa Jinli]
Naa Kulunku
Naa Luro
Naa Mahama Bila [Naa Mahamambila]
Naa Mahama Kpema  (Naa Mahama Kpɛma)
Naa Mahamadu
Naa Mahami
Naa Nagalogu  (Naa Naɣalɔɣu)
Naa Ninmitooni  (Naa Niŋmitooni)
Naa Nyagi  (Naa Nyaɣsi)
Naa Saa Ziblim  [Naa Saalana]
Naa Shitobu  [Naa Siglinitobu]  (Naa Shitɔbu  [Naa Siɣlinitɔbu])
Naa Sigli  [Naa Andan’ Sigli]  (Naa Siɣli  [Naa Andan’ Siɣli])
Naa Simaani Zoli  [Naa Simaani]
Naa Tutugri  (Naa Tutuɣri)
Naa Yakuba
Naa Yenzoo
Naa Zagli  (Naa Zaɣli)
Naa Zanjina
Naa Ziblim Bandamda
Naa Zokuli
Naa Zolgu  (Naa Zɔlgu)
Naa Zombila  [Naa Zong]  (Naa Zɔmbila [Naa Zɔŋ])
Naa Zulandi
Naa Zhirli  (Naa Ʒirli)

Naa Gbewaa bihi:
Naa Zhirli  (Naa Ʒirli)
Naa Shitobu  (Naa Shitɔbu)
Fogu  (Fɔɣu)
Mamprugulana Tohigu
Bimbila-Naa Nmantambu  (Bimbila-Naa Ŋmantambu)
Salagalana Kayilkuna
Kuga-Naa Subee Kpema  (Kuɣa-Naa Subee Kpɛma)
Karaga-Naa Beemoni
Sunson-Naa Bugyilgu  ()unson-Naa Buɣyilgu
Sanglana Subee Bila
Nyensung Yaambana
Savelugulana Yenyoo
Nanton-Naa Baatanga
Yamolkaragalana Kayetuli
Zugulana Bohinsan
Zantanlana Yirigitundi
Zoggolana Sungburi
Nyingaa Ʒibie  (Nyingaa Ʒibie)
Kpugli Kungoo  (Kpuɣli Kungoo)
Gundo-Naa Kachagu  (Gundo-Naa Kachaɣu)
Yaantuuri

Naa Nyagsi bihi  (Naa Nyaɣsi bihi):
Dalunlana Yagrinaa  (Dalunlana Yaɣrinaa)
Demon-Naa Daasangolin  (Demon-Naa Daasangoliŋ)
Diarilana Shelin
Dipalilana Dangzhiya  (Dipalilana Daŋʒiya)
Gaa-Naa Tuuvielgu  (Gaa-Naa Tuuviɛlgu)
Galiwe Nin Fong  (Galiwe Niŋ Fɔŋ)
Gbulunlana Lukpaa
Gukpe-Naa Tulebi
Kpantinlana Nyolgu
Kumbun-Naa Bimbiem  (Kumbun-Naa Bimbiɛm)
Lungbunglana Tuuzabli
Naasaalana Ziba
Namogulana Bizung  (Namɔɣulana Bizuŋ)
Nyankpalalana Beyom
Singlana Lalyogu  (Singlana Lalyoɣu)
Tampionlana Kpimbee
Tibunlana Sandaani
Tolonlana Naadima
Vo-Naa Bambilia
Zangbalinlana Burizambo
Zugulana Yenwaa

Names and persons:
Alhaji Ibrahim
[General I. K.]  Acheampong
Issa Lunga  (Issa Luŋa)
Kalugsi Dajia  (Kaluɣsi Dajia)
[Kwame]  Nkrumah
Mionlana Andani  [Naa Andani Bila]
Namo-Naa  [Issahaku]
Wumbee  ([Naa Nyagsi]  (Naa Nyaɣsi)
Yakubu  [Andani]

Chieftaincy titles:
Balo-Naa
Gbonglana  (Gbɔŋlana)
Mionlana
Namogulana  (Namɔɣulana)
Salagalana
Sanglana
Singlana
Tali-Naa
Tampionlana
Vo-Naa
Yaa-Naa, Yaa-Naas
Yamolkaragalana
Yoo-Naa
Yogulana  (Yɔɣulana)
Zohi-Naa  (Zɔhi-Naa)

Miscellaneous terms
Abudu
Andani
bia, bihi
bila
bugli  (buɣli)
Champuu
dabogu, dabari  (dabɔɣu, dabari)
Dagbani
dala
Damba
gingaginyogu  (giŋgaɣinyɔɣu)
guinea fowls
houseowner
kpema  (kpɛma)
kuga  (kuɣa)
Kulunsi
Kusaa
lunga, lunsi  (luŋa, lunsi)
Mampruli
Naanigoo
Nagbiegu  (Naɣbiɛɣu)
pito
saambugli  (Saambuɣli)
sagim  (saɣim)
Samban’ lunga  (Samban’ luŋa)
Setang’ Kugli  (Setaŋ’ Kuɣli)
tindana, tindanas
Yoo
zuu

Cultural groups:
Ashanti, Ashantis
Bassaris
Bimobas
Builsas
Chekosis
Chemba, Chembas
Dagarti, Dagartis
Dagban’ sabli
Dagbana, Dagbamba
Dandawas
Frafra, Frafras
Gonja, Gonjas
Guruma, Gurumas
Gurunsi, Gurunsis
Kalugsi, Kalugsis  (Kaluɣsi, Kaluɣsis)
Kantonsis
Kasena
Konkomba, Konkombas
Kotokolis
Kusasi
Kusasis
Lobis
Mamprusi, Mamprusis
Mossi, Mossis
Nanumba, Nanumbas
Talensi, Talensis
Tampolensi, Tampolensis
Tiyaawumiya
Vagalas
Wala, Walas
Yaansi
Yaawunde
Zabag’ kparba  (Zabaɣ’ kparba)
Zabagsi  (Zabaɣsi)
Zambarimas
Zantansis

Towns and places:
Atakpaama
Bagli
Banvim
Bawku
Bieng  (Biɛŋ)
Bimbila
Biong  (Bioŋ)
Biyoo
Chereponi
Daboya
Dagbon
Dalun
Demon
Diari
Dinga
Dipali
Fada N’Gourma
Gaa
Galiwe
Gbano
Gbulun
Gbungbaliga
Gukpeogu
Kakpaguyili
Kambonaayili
Kanjaga
Karaga
Kpalba
Kpatinga
Kumbungu
Lungbunga
Maankaragu
Mion
Moglaa
Naasaa
Nalerigu
Namogu  (Namɔɣu)
Nanton
Naya
Nyankpala
Nyensung
Pusiga
Saambuli
Sagnerigu
Salaga
Sambu
Sang
Savelugu
Singa
Sokode
Sunson
Tali
Tampion
Tenkurugu
Tibun
Tolon
Tolon Sabiegu  (Tolon Sabiɛɣu)
Toma
Tugu
Tumu
Voggo
Wa
Walewale
Wanchigi
Yaan’ Dabari
Yamolkaraga
Yelizoli
Yendi
Yiwogu  (Yiwɔɣu)
Yogu  (Yɔɣu)
Zangbalin
Zantana
Zoggo
Zugu