Azonto Goes To University

A symposium to look at ways in which Azonto, the latest dance and music fad to hit the nation could be exploited for economic and social development is in the offing.

Planned to take place at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon  by the end of next February, the conference will have among its panel of discussants Azonto proponent, Obidimpon Sarkodie and music producer, EL.

They will hold the discourse with musicologists and the intellectual and corporate community to trace the development of Azonto, and find ways to give the craze longevity, and make it a symbol of modern Ghana.

Azonto is bitingly originally GH – a construct of the new Ghanaian! It lends a parlance for describing everything popular that happens in the country, like this year’s African Nations Cup (AFCON) which has started being regarded as the Azonto AFCON!

Azonto is swagger, but more importantly, it is GH, and is gaining increasing a lot of  national and international popularity, growing to become one of those cult trends that tend to bind us as Ghanaians by default.

If culture is constructed as ‘the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively’ or the ‘attitudes and behaviour characteristic of a particular social group,’ then  Azonto, whose display enthralls everyone, cutting across young and old, must become part of our culture now,” contends conference convener, PaJohn Dadson.

The impending symposium, titled Harnessing Azonto for Ghana’s Socio-Cultural and Economic Development is being organized by ACVB Events in collaboration with The World Bank Ghana Office and Graphic Communications Group Limited with assistance from a number organizations including Bentsifi.com, GH One, Ameyaw Debrah.com and Dust Magazine.

There is a school of thought  that as a nation and a people, we recognize that even fads can hold their own and grow organically so that in another generation, their foundation can be referred to in terms of tradition, and thus become part of our culture. Azonto is a part of our living culture today, a part of our reality.

Ashesi University lecturer and one of the interlocutors at the upcoming symposium, writer Kobby Graham sums it up succinctly: “The concept of Ghana, after 55 years still has not much symbols that hold it together. Try a call to rally round our national flag and see if the euphoria that will generate will be anything like that which the ultimate Ghana symbol – the Black Stars – can cause! Then, try it against Azonto! Azonto,  I can see in my mind’s eye, can pull us together in euphoria more than the Ghana flag!”

Though Azonto seems to be a derivative of the Kpanlogo dance,  it is wildly adaptive to Adowa, Kete and any other kind of dance, or gesture. Another of the pluses of Azonto is how it is not any tribe’s dance but a dance move done by Ghanaians. It is a dance form with a burgeoning music style and a mindset that can potentially spew an industry like Hip Hop has done in the US!

The school of thought that seeks to promote Azonto believes it is time to wake up to its promise. Growing rather organically, from among the ghettos and now onto You Tube, with images of people doing the dance all over the globe on the streets,  it is insightful that the dance gingers everyone, and gets people from all walks of life, pumping blows into the air whenever they hear its fast accompanying beat!

A  highlight of the movement that is Azonto, has been when Obidimpon Sarkodie was on BBC Radio 1 Extra, a mainstream radio station in London to demonstrate the moves as his music was being played, scenes captured for You Tube! Now, that’s taking things beyond the Ghanaian Diaspora, prompting time to dance!