From July through December 2011, this is where I'll be. Here are the tales of my adventures!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pop Band!

One of my biggest time commitments recently has been the Pop Band Ensemble. Yes, even as a 21-year-old and in Ghana, I am still and probably always will be a proud band geek. I auditioned last week, nervous as usual, and ended up being placed on piano (no surprise there). We met on Tuesday and Thursday night (rehearsals are 10pm-midnight every week!) and had our first performance on Friday night (also every week).

We played a few traditional Ghanaian songs and then did covers of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Frankie Beverly and Maze’s “Before I Let Go,” and my personal (and I think the crowd’s) favorite, Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” Check out the videos below. Also in the showcase were the other student and faculty groups, which were all awesome to hear. I cannot get over how cool the music is here.

After a few slip-ups on my part, again, as usual, things went really well! We got people up and dancing and it was a great feeling to be performing again. What I’m most excited for is to get closer to the rest of the band and also to learn a lot from our directors. I’m really hoping my piano skills get stronger by the end of the semester!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Funeral! Yes, an exclamation point for a funeral!

On Sunday, I went to my very first Ghanaian funeral. Let’s just say that funerals here are nothing like they are back in America. It’s a celebration of life and essentially a giant party/family reunion. Everyone in dressed in white accented with black, most in traditional wear, but a few modern outfits from the younger attendees.

This particular funeral was that of my drum teacher’s brother. He was a man involved in a number of different sectors including commerce, military, and public health. There were armed guards outside the gated house and hundreds of people in attendance.

Aside from the quality feast, the best part of the event was the music. There were four different bands: Local Dimensions (composed of teachers from the University’s Music Department), a traditional drumline (Johnson, my drum teacher, is the director), a youth brass band, and another local band. Each band had its own unique sound and I took a few videos to show my experience!

Everyone danced, even me! It’s amazing how healthy and fit people are! I would see a man who looks like he’s approaching his eighties moving his body at the same pace as a woman seemingly in her thirties! It’s unbelievable! I love that though; I love how much this culture is surrounded on rhythm, whether it is in dancing or music.

Wli Waterfall

Last weekend we took a trip to see the Wli Waterfall. After walking through the forest for about a half hour, we arrived at the shoreline. I can safely say it was one of the most breathtaking sights of my life. This waterfall was HUGE and after a few failed attempts to get directly underneath it, I finally made it. Aside from the crushing force of the water that literally feels like you’re being punched in the back over and over again, it was absolutely beautiful.

Sadly, we didn’t get to venture to the Monkey Sanctuary, which was part of the original itinerary so instead, I’ve included a picture of a bug that I saw on the trail.