Hayor Bibimma Dance Company is a Accra based West African dance group specialized in traditional West African drumming, dance and storytelling. Hayor Bibimma's aim is to increase public participation in traditional African performing arts, enhance cultural awareness and ease public accessibility to the richness of African heritage. The establishment of this company invariably ensures the survival of certain traditional African dances, the symbolic meaning of movements as well as the accompanying music, songs, stories and their cultural significance. With conscientious attention to styles and presentation, Hayor Bibimma will perpetuate tradition and infuse it with a contemporary twist, weaving a tapestry of cultural richness. This genre, appeals to the curious, the connected and kindred spirits of all ages. And thus the company is aptly named Hayor Bibimma means bringing the masses of Mother Africa together.
Hayor Bibimma's instruments are traditional. Specific instruments serve specific purpose. Timing and rhythm are created using rattles and bells. Percussion is supplied by drums. Each drum has a name, a voice, a function and history. The tones and phrases spoken by the individual instruments are interwoven to create a dense and dynamic texture of sound. While the support instruments provide the contours, the master drummer provides the outline and cues of change and transformation. It is he who "talks" in shrouded phrases. The relationship of all parts speaking together creates an acoustic mosaic.
Traditional West African Dance and Music
In the African community,
dance is a dramatic, moving metaphor for life. From the customary to the
extraordinary, African dance depicts life’s rhythms and cycles, labors, values,
aspirations, history, and economic conditions, religious beliefs and
realities. The African dance movement reveals the internal and external conflicts
endured by a community and the path of resolution. The African dancer dances not
alone but with his community, and for his community bringing meaning to
the mundane. West African dance represents our lives and our story is told as the
The African dances which inspire us
today are those which were created by our ancestral artists and have
thrived to become representative of a tradition. Yet, change is
inevitable. As life changes, movements and members change and West African dance is
highly conscious of this evolution. Whereas before, the audience were
not simply spectators but co-creators and participants in the story,
dancers have had to adapt to a new society in which the spectators may
not be ‘’participants’’ but they are still “part”. The message must
still be assimilated and understood; clarity is imperative.
The challenge in expressing
a clear message resides in the specificity of the language spoken. The
language of the African drums. The African drums engage in dialogue with the African dancer. At
times they are the motivators with a playful repartee. In the war
dances, the drums are the enemy, taunting, challenging and provoking the
dancer. When the drum speaks, the body must respond and express the
intensity of all that life is. The drum ignites the dancer and the
dancer sears its’ meaning in motion.
West African dance combines
poetry, imagination, realism, and adornment of a culture with movements
which are sometimes strong, sometimes subtle. The flex of fingers and
hands represent our prayers. The thrusting arms represent our
thanksgiving. The stomp and pause reflects our indignation; the leaps
and turns, our frivolity and foolishness; the tense core, our defiance;
the bow, our allegiance; the halting steps, our reverence.
Our company of West African dancers and musicians
here in Accra Ghana have drawn from a variety of ethnic backgrounds to express the messages
on the stage. They have demonstrated beyond a doubt, that through
sharing the African dance experience, we are effectively made aware not of our
differences, but of that which binds us together – an indisputable unity
of people immerse in the human experience. Our company is here to deliver this message.
Relationship with Community
Knowledge is gained through experience. Respect is earned by accomplishment. Self knowledge and self respect is attained when one is given the opportunity to try something unknown with the freedom to explore it, become familiar with it and make it their own. By reaching out into community, Hayor Bibimma offers the public the chance to know, feel, do, try, learn and appreciate music and dance which may or may not be customary and make it recognizable and distinctive. In this way Hayor Bibimma will realize its' ambition by bringing the masses together for tradition does not stand still, it moves onward to influence the future.