Akom (for percussion ensemble)

Christopher Lee

About this work:
Akom is an African ceremonial music performed to compel spirits to enter the human realm. It is an integral part of traditional religious expression among the Akan of Ghana, and is used as a medium for healing through possession and trance. Akom is the Akan word used in Ghana to talk about spirit possession and the ritualistic drum music and chants that invoke the spirits. These spirits and deities, which are believed to abound in the region, are associated with natural features, such as mountains, rivers, trees, and stones. The three drum parts are intended to be played by hand drums, such as djembes. However, other substitutions may be made according to instrument availability. The parts approximately correspond to the authentic parts traditionally played by Akan drummers: the High Drum to the Atumpan and Oprenten ("master drums"), the Mid-range Drum to the Agyegywa (stick drum), the Low Drum to the Apentemma (hand drum), and the Bell 1 and Bell 2 to the two Dawuro (bell) parts. The first main section of this work uses rhythms that in Akom drumming are associated with the invocation of spirits. The second section, in fast triple meter, is related to music used in ritual healing.
Year composed: 2008
Duration: 00:07:30
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Percussion Ensembles
Instrumentation: 5 Other Percussion Instrument(s)
Instrumentation notes: For 5 players: High drum, Medium drum, Low drum (dbl. pedal bass drum), High bell, Low bell (dbl. shekere)

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