Dancers Tanya Nicholson and Otu Amoo dancing Bawa onstage at the Homowo Festival, August 21, 1998 Photo: Julie Keefe
Portland's Homowo Festival
This harvest celebration of welcoming and
thanksgiving originated among the Ga people of Ghana, West Africa.
(Homowo is a Ghanian metaphor for mocking hunger.)
As a month-long event in August, the Portland
festival begins with children's days camps, where they learn
African culture through the arts. The festival finale is a two-day
celebration that is held in downtown Portland. More than 8,000
Portland residents and visitors attend this community event, which
features Ghanaian, other African, and Caribbean music and dance
presentations, storytelling, a children's activity area, a folk
arts demonstration area, and other workshops.
The festival was founded in 1989 by the Homowo Arts
and Cultures organization to share the traditions of Africa and to
pass this heritage to new generations. This festival brings people
of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds together in a setting of
celebration and harmony.
Among musical presentations are marimba music from
Zimbabwe, steel drums from Trinidad, and the highlife music of West
Africa. Ethic foods from Ghana, Ethiopia, Somalia and Jamaica are
offered. Merchants' stands display crafts, clothing, artwork,
jewelry, and other items from African cultures.
During the last day of the festival, a procession is
lead by Obo Addy, Homowo artistic director and a master
percussionist, and members of his traditional Ghanaian music and
dance troupe, followed by volunteers who portray the Ga King and
Queen of the Warriors, the royal families of the Ashanti and the
Dagomba, and the Ewe high priest. After the procession, traditional
Ghanaian songs and dances from different cultural groups are
Documentation includes a text report, a slide, 10
photographs, a newspaper article, programs, brochures, and a
Originally submitted by: Ron Wyden,Senator.
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