Bizung children are bringing their talents to their communities. Having performed at several events around Ghana, and been broadcast on live television, word on the Bizung school got out. Like traditional lunsi drummers and gonje fiddlers, they started getting invitations to provide the entertainment for nearby weddings and naming ceremonies. Music forms a customary, indispensable part of all Dagbamba gatherings.
The past few months at Bizung school have since been busy, and children eagerly volunteer their free time on weekends to show their stuff. Matrimonies are made much sweeter with the boys swirling Takai dance, the bumping girls Tora and the jive of Ga-originated Kpanlogo. The students carry the drums and costumes from the school to the household hosting an occasion with pride and excitement, and they return, tired, with take-away rice as tokens of appreciation from their hosts. It is the beginning of what for many will be their life-long callings as musicians. Lunsi and gonje musicians act as social mediators: proverbs and praise names embedded in these meaningful musical forms honor guests and their ancestors, neighbors dance adeptly to their admiration of their peers, and the community participates in profound cross-rhythmic communication. Movement builds mutuality and respect. This is certainly where a child can learn real life lessons, and it is also the one arena perhaps, where in strict and disciplined Dagbamba childhood, they are given positive attention and communal encouragement. Of all the places I have seen the children perform, it is undoubtedly here, in the recognizable context of their local communities, that their confidence and self-esteem, to put it simply, shines. Crowds comprised of their mothers, brothers, cousins and neighbors cheer them on with wonder and joy. After their first wedding, residents of the Jisonayli suburb of Northern Tamale were hooked to this added dimension of youthful exuberance to their soundscape.
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