Goumbé Lawa, Préfecture de Tchaoudjo


Sokodé, capital of Central Region, Togo

This post brings us back to the central highlands of Togo, to the préfecture of Tchaoudjo, via a recording of Goumbé Lawa.  These percussion ensembles are the most popular entertainment at most community events in the region.  This cassette features an hour and a half of songs performed by the Groupe Folklorique de la Préfecture de Tchaoudjo.  Is this the name of the group or a generic label the cassette vendor scribbled on the J-card?  I don't know.  

According to this article, Goumbé and Lawa are both popular Tem rhythms.  Elsewhere in West Africa and the Caribbean, the term Goumbé can refer to a square-frame drum, a style of music, a dance!!, or an ensemble of instruments.  My guess is that Goumbé is the generic name for the ensemble featured on this cassette and that Lawa is the rhythm or style they are performing.    

The ensemble features strident female vocalists, a steady bass drum, a swinging cascara, and a soloist.  This style of Goumbé is a motorik cognate of Afro-caribbean percussion genres; Cuban Guaguanco or Martiniquain Bélé without the Diaspora swing.  

Download Groupe Folklorique de Tchaoudjo, Préfecture de Tchaoudjo

I particularly love the first selection on the B-side.  



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