I wonder if any other cultures make dance music with religious themes of worship, thanksgiving and praise to God. Ghanaians make the most upbeat songs of praise in contemporary highlife and hiplife styles which lend themselves to dances at parties , gatherings, festivals and all kinds of get-togethers. We unabashedly join our voices to the compelling refrain of soulful voices extolling the virtues of God alongside the guitars, saxophones and high strung synthesizers while the drums pound a beat irresistible to dancing feet. We dance, we we stomp, we twist and turn merging our joy of community and worship into one, with laughter spilling unreservedly from mouth to ear, filling the spaces between conversations with ease, sweeping us all into healthy release. We look into each others eyes as we speak, shake hands with firmness and hug with warmth, seeking the exchange of good will.
All this at Joel's first birthday party, where the sauces and stews of the women's cooking fill us with desire for pepper and ginger and onions and salt, and the fermented corn rich dumplings of West Africa. The back door is open and the children careen in and out, playing hide and seek or catch. Sometimes they pause to breakdance to the admiration of uncles and aunties, clapping their hands and shouting: Go, go, go, Joshua! Our laughter mingles. We are one with the music, the praise, the joy, the food and with one another!
Shout out to Joel, Janet, Eddie, Joshua, Araba and Buadi!