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Entertainment of Monday, 27 July 2020


Remembering Francis Kodzo Nuatro, borborbor originator and icon

Borborbor as a genre and dance form could be likened to the spirit and soul of the people of Eweland Borborbor as a genre and dance form could be likened to the spirit and soul of the people of Eweland

As religion becomes the ‘opiate of the masses’ according to Karl Heinrich Marx, a German philosopher and political theorist, so is Borborbor music and dance to the people of Kpando and by extension the Ewe communities in Ghana and abroad.

Borborbor as a genre and dance form could be likened to the spirit and soul of human beings especially people of the Eweland are easily ignited by the stroke of drums, metals, marrakash, and singing.

So strong is the tie that it is believed that even the dead and domestic animals united with the beats of Borborbor and has since become the rallying point for entertainment and fits into any occasion?

The genre did not drop from the heavens directly but through human beings, who played leading roles in formulating such feats or assembling instruments or accompaniment lyrics.

Borborbor genre ranges from folk, ballads, love, mourning, dance, work, ritual, and religious songs. These are played at most public gatherings including the Church.

Mr. Francis Kodzo Nuatro, of blessed memory, is perceived to be the originator of Kpando Borborbor Posse in that jurisdiction in the 1950s. Some forms of renditions of Borborbor may have evolved before this day but the individual, who played a major role to rebrand and put finesse to Borborbor music was legend Nuatro, a native of Kpando-Anyigbe.

The famous and gifted composer and dancer was an Ex-Policeman, who nurtured, developed, and promoted Borborbor music to becoming the pride of the Kpando Traditional Area and beyond.

Borborbor dance is the most popular cultural music and dance form in the Volta Region.

The musical performance has over the years been performed in dynamic ways with some advanced instruments just to sustain the brand that once pulled almost every politician to the Kpando (Akpini) land due to the different forms and stylish performances of the dance.

Due to the uniqueness of the musical performance, which comes in three forms namely: the marching rhythm, the slow highlife and the hot highlife rhythm, it could be played as a patriotic song, dirges and even during joyful occasions.

The dance that goes with the music usually involved the use of two white handkerchiefs and accompanied by choreography as standard practice at most outdoor musical events.

Mr. Innocent Victor Korku Nuatro Jr, founder of Kpando Mawuli Borborbor Band and son of the late originator told the GNA that Borborbor dance is a form of dancing that involves a variety of movements in a circular or linear form and done in accordance with the rhythm.

He added that there is Akpese, which is performed similar to the Borborbor but the main difference between the two music dances are the instruments used: instruments used in performing Borborbor include the base drum, the middle drum (asivu), a small side drum (Pati), twin drums (Bongus), dondo, marrakesh (Akaye), double metallic instruments known as ‘’krettsiwoe’’ and two standing instruments made of iron known as “Gakokoe.”

This dance involves circular forms from performers and swaying to the rhythmic beats of music produced by the drums played by the band. It comes with performers, who twirl two handkerchiefs in uniform gesticulation, while demonstrating prowess of ‘waist power’ to entertain and sometimes bait the men. In fact, Borborbor grounds are avenues to land intimate relations.

Mr Nuatro said though there were other cultural music forms of dance in Kpando such as the "Akaye", Akpi, Adewu and Egbanigba before the introduction of the Borborbor music, it supplanted all those music and dance.

Mr. Michael Yao Gborgblorgbe, drummer for the Kpando Borborbor group in the seventies affirmed the origination of Borborbor from Kpando, which later extended to other neighbouring areas for tutoring and mentoring.

He said the late composer after gathering folks from the Kpando community also helped in boosting the carving industry some of the instruments used in playing the Borborbor music after suggestions by some members to add those instruments.

“Nuatro made Borborbor so special that the group is always adjudged the best performing group at many competitions we participated in all over the country,” he said with excitement.

There is no special instrument that leads in the Borborbor music dance but occasionally the ‘dondo’ was played to prompt the other instrumentalists of the kind of rhythm to play, whether marching, slow highlife or hot highlife.

The uniqueness of the Akpini Borborbor bore many fruits with students resident in Accra and attending Secondary School in Kpando, those days were referred to as ‘’Kpando Borborbor Students,’’ deepening acknowledgement.

Most of the Borborbor songs by the late Nuatro were patriotic songs in honour of the country’s first President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

The music dance was so popular that almost all the prominent individuals in the country after Dr Kwame Nkrumah, General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong and Dr Hilla Limann became adept lovers of the Kpando Borborbor.

The popularity of the music and dance then attracted foreigners from around the globe and this led to massive economic growth as artifacts by people of the land were sold to enrich the people’s lives.

Mr. Newman Ayimah, Kpando Municipal Cultural Officer, Centre for National Culture said neither the burgle or trumpet was part of the original Borborbor but have become additions and spicing to modernise Borborbor.

Borborbor has actually become the opium of the masses that understands its sanctity and rhythm, its lyrics, drums, and dance forms invigorate body and soul, its power even united itself with animals and especially reptiles such as snakes, cannot stop dancing, let alone humans. Borborbor manipulates personal moods, arousal, and feelings. So next time you hear the drums and lyrics twist, twirl, and turn with special emphasis on one’s waist.