West African Notes

The more recently built ecumenical and state owned edifices have become some of the tourism fascinations found in major cities of West Africa. Along with old and new sculpted monuments of people who were prominent in different ways or of objects that are significant relics or modern art, urban centres and cities in West Africa have their share of appeal to those who appreciate these forms of tourist attractions.

Singing is not restricted to only one culture or prevalent in just a few places in the world. The art of music and song is present in each country and genres have become as multiple as there are songs rolled out virtually every day. In West Africa, the more prominent ones are played and enjoyed all over the region and have even gone as far as gaining global recognition and acceptance. Two important parallel traditions that make West African musical attitudes unique are the Griot tradition, and the praise-singing tradition.

Rhythm and tempo is Africa’s trademark of music. Beats are part of everyday life on the continent and West Africa isn’t left out when it comes to instruments of music that give people of colour the gyration and moves which sets them apart and gives them a musical slant that has come to be recognized and respected over time. The role drums play in Africa’s world is a central one that goes beyond just music and in West Africa certain beats are only known to bounce off certain drums.

Cootton textiles are the most common in Africa and cotton clothes the most comfortable for the prevailing climate. The savannas of West Africa were a leading center of cotton growing and weaving in the period corresponding to Europe’s Middle Ages. Although there is little reliable information for prior to the 11th century, it is believed that cotton was already being used for a variety of cloths.

Certain meals are West African in origin. Yam, Cassava and Beans are staple crops common to the region and present in various forms of food eaten by the people. The introduction of some spices from trade and colonial countries that has influenced the region overtime in numerous ways brought about some “new forms” of food preparation making them into a delight enjoyed by West Africans and many of their guests. In the West Indies, Italy, Australia, Haiti and a few other countries, West Africa’s recipes are thoroughly enjoyed owing to the generosity of the native populations in the region which was shown to these guests who left with a piece of the cultural heritage of the region after their visits. The more prominent ones today are easy to come by in different parts of the region.

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