Atsia Agbeko Togo Atsia Agbeko
Togo Atsia for Drumset
Togo Atsia For Drumset - Atsia is an invitational dance created by the Ewe-speaking people of Togo. The word atsia means "style" or "to display" in the Ewe language. In academic settings Atsia is commonly known as "Togo Atsia" in reference to where it was created. This piece is also known as "Horsetail Atsia" - in reference to the horse tails the dancers use when performing this piece. Numerous pieces are named "Atsia" and/or have an "Atsia" section in them. This has led to seemingly endless confusion among non-Ewe's who learn this music and dance - myself included. To recreate Togo Atsia on the drum set I have assigned the parts traditionally played by different members of an Ewe drumming ensemble to the different limbs of my body. The role of Gankogui (a double bell) which is the time keeper in this music is played by my left foot. The role of Kidi (a small supporting drum) is played by my left hand. The role of Sogo (a supporting drum like kidi but larger) is played by my right foot. In a dialogue (a conversation between the lead drum and the supporting drums) I play the open notes with my left hand and the closed notes with my right foot. The role of Atsimevu (a tall, narrow drum which the lead drummer uses to communicate with the rest of the ensemble) is played by my right hand. This particular rendition is more drum solo based than as accompaniment for dancers. Instead of using a cowbell to cover the gankogui I moved back to a hi-hat using a "splash hat' technique. The pitch hierarchy is a departure from the traditional arrangement. The leading rhythms are the higher pitches and its support comes from lower pitches making it the opposite of a traditional arrangement.
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