The 2016 La kpee Homowo/Anniversary celebrations lived up to its hype as the capacity attendance showcased our rich cultural heritage amid pomp and jubilation.
Indeed it was a breath of fresh air as many forgot their sorrows in the past year as they enjoyed the festivities and had a spectacular time as Lakpee UK and Gamei supported by their friends turned out in their numbers to thank God for witnessing another edition of the festival and also affirm that though many of the sons of the land had left home, they have not forgotten their roots.
Diplomats as well as royal dignitaries showed up as a proof of their solidarity and goodwill. The special guest of honor Nii La, Nii Kpobi Tettey TSuru the Paramount Chief and over lord of La traditional area was represented by Nii Leshie Yemo,Divisional chief of Leshie La. Nii Yemo in his speech said he was so impressed by the event that he called on La authorities and citizens to document it and package it as an international festival.
The function was under the chairmanship of Dr. Eric Boye who handled the program excellently. In his speech he said the location of the University Of Ghana, the Airport and the Burma camp to name a few were lands donated by La, it is reasonable therefore that whilst the indigenes make effort to construct a library government should as well chip in to make it a reality as a reciprocation.
He said though the association has the welfare of Lamei in Uk as its main objective the main Mission of the association, is a broader commitment to the interests of the La Township especially in education. No wonder this silver jubilee year, we have adopted a library project as our contribution to enhancing the culture of knowledge in the youth of La and its residents.
It was indeed a time for the people to thank God for his blessings and protection over the last year in a wonderful burst of colour. Our authentic rich culture was on display and lots of good and delicious Ghanaian food not least kpokpoi was in plentiful as evidence of the of the bumper harvest after the famine and the celebration of the new year Afi which is the end of the work circle and the beginning of a new one.
For instance, the talking drum music which heralded the entry of Nii La and the royal dignitaries was spectacular. Those of us inside the banqueting hall were awoken by a short and sudden burst of sounds and rapid rolls followed by a sustained sound raptures and the wailing of the women followed by a retinue of royal dignitaries resplendent in their royal costume. The fusion of our wailing women who accompanied the entry of the royals interwoven within the dense structures of talking drums provided a richer density to the of the atmosphere
African music, from the communal nature of African society, is marked by the simultaneous sounding of two or more pitches. Melody and rhythm are interwoven within this dense structure of various instrumental and metric combinations. Ornamental devices, either vocal or instrumental, are commonly used to create additional layers, providing a richer density to the texture. Another important feature of African music is its related movements or body percussion, such as hand clapping, foot stamping, and dance. Body movement is strongly encouraged by this type of music that means audience participation which we had in abundance.
It is a pride to see how these cultural drummers and performers had preserved the rich cultural heritage in our music genre .While traditional drumming or dancing connoisseurs of each style of music picked up by our cultural groups will see some dissipation in the nuances of their tribe’s music, the versatile performances of these talented drummers and dancers, the Mii Shejeloi led by Nii Boye Owoo was breathtaking and impressively diverse.
The dances performed by the culture groups are a form of story-telling, often documenting important historical events or recounting ancestral folk tales. The dancers and drummers, for instance, express communal desires, values, and collective creativity. The drumming represents an underlying linguistic text that guides the dancing performance, allowing linguistic meaning to be expressed non-verbally.
In all, those who were there were full of praise for the cultural groups who entertained the audience and may their efforts to keep our culture vibrant and alive live on. It was a harvest and cultural festival and that was what they gave us in plentiful.
The rituals and libation ceremony was performed by Nii Ashaley Asuku 11Head of the Nii Tetteh Kpeshie we of Sempe who traced his ancestry to La.The elegance and delivery of his incantations whilst explaining the rationale behind some of the ceremony held us spell bound like a master teacher who had captured the rapt attention of his students. In fact it was worth been there to learn from the master himself the meaning of some of our ceremonies and their implications in our Ga culture.
The festival itself is highlighted at varying times by different quarters of the Ga tribe. The Ga-mashie group of the tribe celebrated theirs’ a little earlier than the La group.The Homowo festival recounts the migration of the Gas and reveals their agricultural success in their new settlement. According to Ga oral tradition, a severe famine broke out among the people during their migration to present day Accra. They were inspired by the famine to embark on massive food production exercises which eventually yielded them bumper harvest.
Their hunger ended and with great joy they “hooted at hunger” this is the meaning of the word HOMOWO hooting at hunger to say no never again.
In her remarks the Chairman of La kpee Mrs. Mabel Doku thanked the invited guest and all those present to make the occasion a grand affair. She said the present La Kpee of U.K. and Ireland was formed as an umbrella body of the community based organization, the La Mansaamo Kpee (LMK), which was established by the youth in the town of La to mobilize community resources for community development.
La kpee U.K. was formed in the autumn of 1995, initially to be the UK mouthpiece of La Mansaamo kpee before changing its name to a kpee to give enfaces to the welfare of Lamei in UK in line with our objectives.aShe said during a holiday to Ghana, Mr Gans Lartey met the late Mr Trebi Kumah Ollennu the then chairman of La Mansaamo kpee, who advised that an umbrella organization be formed in the U.K and Ireland to help promote the interest of La and to mobilize resources for development of the La township.
As a result of that meeting Mr Gans Lartey approached Mr Charles Ashitey Ollennu on his return from his trip from Ghana, who then approached Mr Abeka Gogo who in turn on the recommendation of Niifio Sowate introduced the group to the late Dr Ashie Okpoti.This was the beginning of the formation of what has come to be known as the La Kpee of U.K and Ireland.
She said Lakpee Uk,is one of the best organize associations in the Uk and is proud of its members and acheivements.
The founders of the association Joe Gans-Lartey,Charles Ollennu,Abeka Gogo,the late Dr.Ashie Okpoti and Niifio Sowatey were presented with a commemorative plague as an appreciation for their pioneering efforts. She again thanked everybody for making the festival grand and hope to look forward to repeating same next year.
Source: Charles Ollenu