Back to listAug 20, 2012

Min-On Hosts Ghana Dance Ensemble's Tour of Japan

JiraPerforming Jira

On August 20, at the invitation of the Min-On Concert Association, the Ghana Dance Ensemble performed at the Nitori Culture Hall in Sapporo City, Hokkaido Prefecture. This performance, the first in a 19-city tour of Japan, launched the seventh installment of Min-On's "Musical Voyage Across Africa." The show featured a wide range of music and dance of the Republic of Ghana and marked the 55th anniversary of the country's independence.

AhengoroDancers performing Ahengoro

The performance included a medley of dances and songs, such as Ahengoro, Atsea, Jira and Gonje. Ahengoro is performed at ceremonial events such as the Akan ceremony during which loyalty to local dignitaries or chiefs is expressed. Atsea is a dance which brings youth together, and Jira is a dance characteristic of Islamic hunters from the Northern Region of Ghana. Lastly, Gonje music is performed on a one-stringed fiddle, usually accompanied by one or two rattle players and songs in praise of kings and other notable individuals. The Ghana Dance Ensemble was established by the first president of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, in 1962.

Ambassador Dr. William G.M. Brandful of the Republic of Ghana expressed in a message to the event his wish that audiences would find the performances uplifting and enjoyable and that cultural ties between Ghana and Japan would be enriched as a result of the tour.

Since its founding by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in 1963 to promote international cultural exchange and peace through music, the Min-On Concert Association has invited artists from all over the world to perform in Japan. To date, Min-On has promoted cultural exchanges with more than 10 countries from Africa.

[Adapted from an article in the August 21, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of Seikyo Shimbun]