Music born with us or acquired in real life? (1)

What would life be without music?

An­swer: “I don’t know”!

All I know is that from a very early age, music has been in my ears and has continued to stay there to this day.

I am told that it’s our moth­er’s life-rhythm, which we ab­sorb when she’s pregnant with us, that determines whether we shall live with music in real life or not.

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Certainly, my mother WAS musical. When I was a very young infant, she used to sing to herself – and, of course, to me – (as I was tied to her back with her cloth!)

She sang when “we” went to fetch water from River Supong; she sang when we went to cul­tivate food in one of her farms – at Supongso; Koromantang; Popako, Akoosiso or Pusupusu.

We also had a farm at Birem­so, but it was quite far from home.

Also, a wooden bridge that had been felled across the mighty Birem seemed so far above the water (maybe forty feet or so, to my youthful cal­culation?) and did look so far down below us, that we were strictly warned not to look towards the water below, as that would make us feel giddy and cause us to fall into the river and get drowned.

But, of course, we secretly stole a look down at the rushing waters below us! Doing that sent a shiver of fear through us! Was it thrilling as well as fright­ening? Can both exist in the same bosom at the same time?

Maybe it was a bit of both! Certainly, the feeling was never to be forgotten. Imagine falling into a mighty river from that Height! Ugh! Yeah – the bridge over the Birem was so awe­somely frightening, that we only went there when there was little or no food growing in our other farms.

My mother sang a lot when my grandmother, Nana Yaa Wusuaa passed. She sang as we walked on foot, on bush-paths, for five miles or so, to visit our relatives at Nsutem. I loved going to Nsutem because the Supong River was very wide there, and I fondly imagined learning how to become an expert swimmer and fooling about diving inside the water, like I had seen Nsutem native boys in my age group do!)

Such new experiences made my childhood very nice and I never quite caught the melan­choly that my mother exuded in some of her songs.

When I began to compre­hend some of the words that formed the main content of her songs, I realised that she wasn’t very happy in her rela­tionship with my father. For he went and married two other women!

This meant that we kids no longer slept with her and my father in his special bedroom which was situated in a house occupied by his sister, my Aunt Mesoaa Yaa Agyei. And when it was getting to bedtime, my mother would sing this ex­tremely sad song: “Awarefoc eei moadidi akcda, Osigyani….” something-something (I didn’t quite catch her words after “osigyani”.)

We were thus “exiled” to our own separate bedroom, while my father entertained his new conquests in what had once been our exclusive sleeping place!

Now, my mother had to “queue” (as it were) to enjoy her conjugal rights!

Of course, my father com­plied with custom by paying “mpata” or compensation to my mother for this act of heart-breaking cruelty, and indeed, she knew, before marrying my father, that she might face such a challenge in her marriage. (To be fair, she married him when he was already married, though my mother’s rival died a few years afterwards.)

But to my childhood brain, those circumstances couldn’t make up for my mother’s un­happiness. I knew it and hated my father’s action: I heard my mother’s singing sadly from very close by, didn’t I!?

When it was and getting to bedtime, we dreaded the way my father would just get lost! For we knew that melancholic songs would lie alongside my mother. All night.


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