Tue, 23 Apr 2024 Feature Article

Is Music Born With Us Or Acquired In Real Life? (1)

Is 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.
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

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

looked 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
a bit of both! Certainly, the feeling was never to be forgotten. Imagine falling into a mighty river from that b

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
I had seen Nsutem
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 Ibegan 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.