No other weekend could compare to the Volta Region trip. Beautiful place for beautiful people.
I took this little video several weeks ago while we were in the bus, driving through the heart of Kumasi’s central market. Enjoy the commentary by Kayla and Lana (discussing scandals associated with Barclays), as well as the bus’s music, courtesy of Robert, eerily synched to the pace of the events unfolding out of the window. Voodoo…
Didn’t do much editing, but I figured with our limited internet access, it was more important to finally post this video. Also, I just realized that maybe they are crocs, not gators? I don’t know, but if that’s the case then just pretend the title is “Crocs in Chana” instead of “Gators in Ghana.”
My favorite part of this clip is at the end when Mary (Crocodile Lady) is just cracking up at all of the scared Obrunis. And also that despite what happened, Jan managed to find a cool bird’s nest. Ha ha.
A few days after arriving in Accra we met the freshest, hippest Ghanaian to help guide us along this emotional ride. I wasn’t entirely sure how it happened. Bjorn and Rob were doing some spontaneous jig, and out of nowhere Sonny starts breaking it down, his hips grooving side to side as he rubs his foot into the ground. The dance reminded me of a 70s disco move as he punched his fist several times between his legs and lifting his arm into the air.
We all kept noticing the dance move ever since then. It’s called “Azonto.” According to an article I read in Dust Magazine, it’s more than just a move; it’s about “the dance, the music & the mindset.” My co-worker TK said that typically a dance will be popular with one song and soon fade out within a few months, but now artists are writing music to go along to this dance style. It’s here to stay.
Sonny invited us to a birthday party that he was DJ-ing, and I was way too amused with his friends’ impressive dance skills. One guy would show me how to do Azonto, and then I would make up some move entirely irrelevant to popular American culture, but hey, we break danced. I have even seen children try to show us their skills whenever we are visiting a new region. Ghanaians know how to get down. Just like anywhere else in the world, there are movements that older generations just don’t understand. Azonto isn’t any different.
Dust magazine writer KG wrote about how Ghanaians used to look to America for trending dance styles like the “Dougie,” which I still have not understood exactly what that even is. Now they are more excited about their own style of dance even when listening to American music, but Ghanaians commonly dance to high life music when practicing Azonto. The unique blend of reggae, jazz, and synthesizers create the perfect mood. But if they really want something pumpin’ then hiplife is the obvious option, mixing high life and hip-hop. Check out Edem’s “Over Again” or Sarkodie’s “Azonto Fiesta” to get a feel for what is hot right now.
KG also said that adults think “Azonto” means “uncultured,” but it has become anything but that, creating a sensation just within the last year.
“It represents a mindset in which Ghanaians specifically (and Africans in general) start taking pride in our own creativity and potential, something we all too often do not do, especially in culture where we too often relegate what is local to ‘primitive’ or ‘lower class.’” – KG, Dust Magazine
Apparently last month there was a segment on BBC that broadcasted the Azonto trend, saying people are even flying form the UK to learn what the dance is all about.
It looks like Sonny’s dance is bigger than I thought!
I hope you enjoy this short video that Dan Le and myself weaved together (no pun intended) from our footage at the Aburi Gardens outside of Accra.
In Mole National Park we witnessed the amazing wildlife the park had to offer. While we viewed some of it from the comfort of our hotel that sat on a cliff overlooking the park, we were also able to get up close and personal with them on a walking tour that led us as close as 15 feet from the largest mammals on earth.
With almost all of us together in Ghana now, some of us enjoyed a great night of food and dancing while others barely made it through the meal without resorting to using the table as a bed. Nonetheless, we are all very excited to be starting our trip.
Coming into Accra after our ten hour flight was pretty incredible as we passed by huge thunderheads and over small villages. While the grey clouds may make it look chilly here, rest assured that after we got off the plane it was still definitely 85 degrees and probably 90% humidity.
Catherine and Elise practice their Twi (the native language of Ghana) during a pre-trip pizza party three weeks before everyone heads to Accra, Ghana for the summer.