Kpanlongo is the most recent of all Ga recreational musical types, an offshoot of Gome, Oge, Kolomashie, and Konkoma. Referred to as “the dance of the youth,” Kpanlongo started during the wake of Ghana’s Independence as a musical type for entertainment in Accra. Kpanlongo is presently performed at life-cycle events, festivals, and political rallies.
Slit Bell – Nono
Double Bell – Nononta
Pod Bell – Dodompo
Lead Drum – Atswereshi
Support Drums – Atswereshi x 2
Frame Drums – Tamlali x 1 or 2
Bass Drum – Gome
The Kpanlogo dance was invented by Otoo Lincoln. He was told an Ansee folk story by his Grandfather. Kpanlogo, Mma Mma and Algodzan were the names of three triplets girls. Their father was the cheif and said, how ever could guess their names could marry them. So a man went to their home pretending to be a mad man asking for water, he met the girls and learnt their names as they called to each other. To remember them he kept singing to himself ‘Kp. Mma. Al.’ And of course he married the girls. Otoo heard the story in 1956 when he was 15. He used to tell it dancing and singing to his brothers and sisters, a friend used to drum along as they liked the music and dance and we created our own version of highlife around 1962. The feeling of the music originated from music played by his father from Oge , Liberian music a sort of slow kpanlogo. I mixed this Oge with high life and rock and roll to produce the feeling in Kpanlogo.
In 1962 the Arts Council, banned its playing as one of the beats made the body move in an indecent way. They called Otoo in for a meeting. Otoo said that it ………………… By 1965 Kpanlogo had become so popular that 50+ groups performed it to the head of state Nkrumah.
Kpanlogo was seen as a dance from the youth, arising from the streets of Accra soon after Ghana’s independence, and symbolised the youth and independence of a young nation and so was taken on and played at funerals, state occasions and became an anthem for the ruling party at the time. Up to now its popularity remains hi. There are countless Kpanlogo performing groups, playing for pleasure and at all social and state occasion.
Kpanlogo drumming, was created by Otoo Lincoln, who composed well-known tunes like’Kpanlogo Alogodzan’, ‘ABC Kpanlogo’ &’Ayinle Momobiye ‘.
Otoo was born in the Korle Wokon district of Accra in 1941 and learned Ga drumming from his family. He obtained the name’kpanlogo’ when he used the new beat he was creating to perform an old Ga folktale his grandfather told him about, which involved three Ga princesses called Kpanlogo, Alogodzan & Mma-Mma. Otoo Lincoln and a group of boys from the Bukom area of Accra (Frank Lane, Okule Foes and other members of the Black Eagles dance club) created the youthful Ga kpanlogo drum-dance during the early 1960s by combining older Ga fishermen-styles of music, such as the kolomashie. gome, and oge with highlife or even rock ‘n’ roll dance movements. Because of kpanlogo’s supposedly ‘indecent’ movements, it was banned for a while before it was again in vogue in 1965. Except for a small copyright payment to Otoo in the 1990s, Otoo has never received the financial rewards for having created what has become Ghana’s most internationally-acclaimed drumming style.