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Harold Akyeampong

Aug 2007

Original Post

Posted on:
June 27, 2017
Posted in:
Art News

Words have power. Do you agree? If you do not agree, then I am surprised at why you are reading this short TRY article. I can see you smiling because this article is interactive. Yes, you are here reading this article because of the caption. The Caption specifically asked you to do something and you did. Infact all good articles do this. WORDS have POWER. You are here, so now WHAT?

Agoo! Got your attention and your response AMEE! got you here but do you know what it means?  Many of us are using this Call and Response attention seeking technique without taking time to find out about the WHO, WHERE, WHAT, WHEN, WHY AND HOW of the words.

If you live in Brooklyn or New York City,there is no doubt that these words bring the memories of the great cultural icon and arts impresario, Baba Dr. Chuck Davis of Dance Africa fame who transitioned recently into the world beyond. May his caring soul receive perfect rest. Baba has made these two words popular in America. Yes, he did as far as we know, unless you have other stories to tell to challenge what we know.

These two words are from Ghana, West Africa. Part of the Akan group of languages (  Fantse- Gomua,Agona, Enyan, Borbor Fantse, Oguaa Fantse, Anomabu Fantse, Takoradi Fantse, Elmina/Shama Fantse, Simpa Fantse, Ajumako Bisease Fantse,);( Twi- Asante, Akuapem, Kwahu, Assin, Denkyira/Twifu, Ahafo, Bono etc), The meaning of the words are derived most of the time from the intention or mission of the first person who calls out AGOO!.  For example, If I am knocking at any closed door and there are people in it, I am asking for permission to come in.   During our childhood days in Ghana, when you knock and nobody respond with Agoo!, you do not forcefuly open the door to enter, you simply leave. That's how we learned to respect community values.       Another illustration of its use: I am in front of an audience/congregation/class/staff or at any form of gathering/meeting, the moment I say Agoo!, I am respectfully asking for your attention.   So this is the meaning that has caught on with the enthusiastic lovers of world language in America. 

There is another use of the two words which I demonstrated during my performance and special libation at the Ocean Hill Folk Festival at Marion Hopkinson Playgrounds, Brooklyn on June,24, 2017.  ( Do you want to know what is it?   Contact Big Eye Enterprise/ Beareather for a video of the program or watch out for part two of this article).


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