A Drummer's Testament
Chapter II-10: The First Gonja War:
Naa Dariʓɛɣu and Naa Luro <PDF
Example of the Samban’ luŋa: Gonja wars; the origins of the first war, the
death of Naa Dariʒɛɣu; Naa Luro’s abuse; Naa Luro at Gushie: the blacksmiths and
the bridge; Naa Luro’s victory over Kaluɣsi Dajia; Pakpɔŋ Kachaɣu and Lunlana
Lunʒɛɣu: the origins and dancing of Baŋgumaŋa
Proverbs and sayings
Dagbani words and other search
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audio and images of Samban' luŋa performance [see
Contents outline by paragraph
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1. the talk will resemble Samban' luŋa but will have additional explanation
Naa Dariʒɛɣu’s war with the Gonjas
2. Naa Dariʒɛɣu’s mother’s side from Gonjas; grew up with Gonjas; suffered abuse
3. conflict at Tolon market; Gonjas captured Dagbamba, sold Naa Dariʒɛɣu’s wives; Naa Dariʒɛɣu didn’t respond
4. Naa Dariʒɛɣu abused for weakness by his elders
5. Naa Dariʒɛɣu refused at first, then went to fight Gonjas at Koliŋ
6. how Gonjas cursed Naa Dariʒɛɣu; Gonja chief Kaluɣsi Dajia killed him, carried his hand in a bag
How Naa Luro decided to go to war
7. Naa Luro was Naa Dariʒɛɣu’s junior father; takes no action against Gonjas
8. Koyib-Naa, Naa Luro’s Komlana, refuses to prepare food for Naa Luro’s guests
9. Naa Luro whips Koyib-Naa; she abuses him to see Naa Dariʒɛɣu’s grave
10. Naa Luro prepares for war, despite being in the rainy season
Naa Luro, unable to cross river, seeks help from Gushie tindana
11. Naa Luro stuck at rain-swollen river near Gushie; Naa Luro refused to go back
12. because locals feared Naa Luro, Naa Luro sends a local child, Mbudiba, to call Gushie tindana
13. Naa Luro’s instructions to Mbudiba: “There is something in the river, and I don’t know its head and its feet..”
14. Gushie townspeople go to river with weapons; Gushie tindana also takes corn kernels
15. Gushie tindana sends Mbudiba in front
16. Gushie tindana greets Naa Luro; Naa Luro refuses drinking water; tells Gushie tindana to grow a calabash that day
17. similar challenge from Gushie tindana; gives Naa Luro corn kernel to grow that day
18. Naa Luro stops the challenge; a humorous episode of Samban' luŋa
How Gushie tindana helped Naa Luro
19. Naa Luro explains his mission; asks for help crossing the river
20. they call gbandari people; there are no tools; they send for blacksmiths
21. So-Naa and blacksmith elders come; they as for tools and materials
22. Naa Luro finds trees to make charcoal, stone for iron, kills goats to make bellows; they divert the river
22. how they built a bridge across the river
24. Naa Luro’s horse elders ride across the bridge to test it; the Dagbamba warriors cross the river
Naa Luro’s fight with Kaluɣsi Dajia
25. Naa Luro kills the people of Koliŋ; Kaluɣsi Dajia returns there to face Naa Luro
26. Kaluɣsi Dajia cannot find a good bow to kill Naa Luro; Naa Luro sends him a bow
27. they face each other; Kaluɣsi Dajia does not have arrows; Naa Luro sends him arrows; how Naa Luro avoieded the arrows
28. Naa Luro kills Kaluɣsi Dajia; cuts off his head; takes the bag with Naa Dariʒɛɣu’s hand; kills Koyib-Naa and cuts off her head
29. Naa Luro burns the heads of Kaluɣsi Dajia and Koyib-Naa, collects the ashes to plaster a room at Pong Tamale, where he buries Naa Dariʒɛɣu’s hand
30. the room is for the Pong Tamale buɣli; custom that cannot drumming when passing that room
The starting of Baŋgumaŋa and its place in the Samban' luŋa
31. Naa Luro wants musicians to help celebrate his victory with dance; not satisfied; Pakpɔŋ Kachaɣu calls for drummers
32. Naa Luro sends messenger to find drummers; goes to Lunʒɛɣu and his followers
33. the drummers at Kamban’ Dunoli, near Diari; Lunlana Lunʒɛɣu and his elders are called
34. Naa Luro welcomes Lunlana Lunʒɛɣu with gifts and animals to slaughter
35. Lunʒɛɣu sings of Naa Luro’s campaign and victory; Naa Luro asks for a name
36. Pakpɔŋ Kachaɣu calls a name that becomes the beating of Baŋgumaŋa; Naa Luro praises Lunlana Lunʒɛɣu
37. at Samban' luŋa, when reach the story of Baŋgumaŋa, they beat the dance for the chief’s wives and housechildren
38. Baŋgumaŋa stands for war and victory; important dance; after dancing it, the eat and then resume Samban' luŋa
Variations in the Samban' luŋa of Naa Luro
39. drummers can vary the details of the story; from the way they learned it
40. the stories have been heard but not seen
41. the Samban' luŋa witnessed at Tolon was different from at Tamale Dakpɛma and from Namo-Naa’s; example
42. singer chooses path through the Samban' luŋa; from learning; compared to different ways of writing
Example of calling names; bad names
43. differences also from calling of names; example of Naa Jinli’s two names
44. the river Naa Luro crossed has different names; even some drummers don’t know them
45. difficult for others to know; princes and princesses don’t show their knowledge; can spoil chance for chieftaincy
46. example: Savelugu princess reprimanded for asking about the river
47. other names for the river; custom not to beat a drum there similar to Pong Tamale
48. the custom respects the bad names of the chiefs
49. variations can enhance the Samban' luŋa performance; not a fault; compared to dancing styles
Relations with the Gonjas after Naa Luro
50. the Gonjas occupied parts of what is now Dagbon; Gonja people now many but have much land
51. chiefs after Naa Luro; Naa Tutuɣri moved Yendi from Yaan’ Dabari; Naa Zanjina and Naa Siɣli resumed war against Gonjas
52. wars not fought for land; Naa Dariʒɛɣu and Naa Luro fought but didn’t collect Gonja land
53. war with Gonjas started again under Naa Zanjina; Naa Siɣli collected the war and finished it
Proverbs and Sayings <top
A ram walks backwards before it’s going to go and knock.
A Yaa-Naa does not run from fighting.
There is no greediness in chieftaincy.
My truth will push down somebody’s lies.
There is something in the river, and I don’t know its head, and I don’t know its feet.
The one who has singed his hair is the same person who will smell the scent of it.
Wisdom is too much; one person cannot hold it.
They will look for me, but they will not see me again.
Lunlana Lunʒɛɣu is someone who can beat and people will fight.
Lunlana Lunʒɛɣu is someone who can beat, and someone can come after a fight, and his heart will cool.
They will find us, the bad thing, and it will catch.
The Samban’ luŋa is just like a school with different classrooms.
Everybody has the talk he has heard.
You can’t compare hearing and seeing.
If they tell you that a talk is forbidden, you have to fear it.
Something that has passed and something that has just come, they are never the same.
As he is singing, he wants the talk to be sweet.
These small differences are nothing. It’s like the way we beat our dances and add styles to make the dance sweet.
We the blacks, we don’t forget.
Key words for ASCII searches <top
Chiefs of Yendi
Naa Bimbiegu (Naa Bimbiɛɣu)
Naa Darizhegu (Naa Dariʒɛɣu)
Naa Ninmitooni (Naa Niŋmitooni)
Naa Nyagsi (Naa Nyaɣsi)
Naa Sigli (Naa Siɣli)
Naa Tutugri (Naa Tutuɣri)
Naa Zong (Naa Zɔŋ)
Naa Zagli (Naa Zaɣli)
Persons and titled persons
Kalugsi Dajia (Kaluɣsi Dajia)
Lunlana Lunzhegu (Lunlana Lunʒɛɣu)
Lunlana Merimuni Kuyela Sheli (Lunlana Merimuni Kuyela Shɛli)
Lunlana Nmendigando (Lunlana Ŋmɛndigando)
Pakpong Kachagu (Pakpɔŋ Kachaɣu)
Tolon Lun-Naa Wulana Adam Gbagu (Tolon Lun-Naa Wulana Adam Gbaɣu)
Warichin-Naa Zomzhebieri (Warichin-Naa Zomʒɛbiɛri)
Yamolan’ Dapielgu (Yamolan’ Dapiɛlgu)
Musical and miscellaneous terms
Bem bo ma, be pam bo ma je (Bɛm bɔ ma, bɛ pam bɔ ma jɛ)
dazuli [Gardenia erubescens Stapf & Hutch. or Gardenia ternifolia Schum. & Thonn.]
galinzhegu (galinʒɛɣu) [Ficus platyphylla Del.]
kpalga, kpalsi [Detarium microcarpum]
langjina (laŋjina) [Prosopis africana (Guill. & Perr.) Taub.]
lug’ yilgu (luɣ’ yilgu)
Man’ dan yeli, mam be lan nya (Man’ dan yɛli, mam be lan nya)
Nun tooi kurta o ku kuri zoli (Ŋun tooi kurta o ku kuri zoli)
Samban’ lunga (Samban’ luŋa)
Ting’ kurli (Tiŋ’ kurli)
Yel’ kurli (Yɛl’ kurli)
Towns and places
Kambang’ Dunoli (Kambaŋ’ Dunoli)