Why a man from Ghana played the flute with his nose to say goodbye to Kofi Annan

<pre><pre>Why a man from Ghana played the flute with his nose to say goodbye to Kofi Annan

The memorial service of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan included a funeral dirge performed on the Ghanaian bamboo flute performed by an army member with his nose.

The president of the Ghanaian Victoria Association, Ayuba Issaka, said that the use of the traditional instrument at funerals has a cultural significance.

"Everything that comes out of the flute means something, so some of the things that the flute might be saying is: we share your pain, I'm sorry for your pain, and it takes you to your final destination," he said.

The honor guards carry the coffin of the late Kofi Annan during the state funeral.


The flute similar to a bamboo recorder is called atenteben, which comes from the words atente (the type of music reproduced) and aben (Twi: "whistle" or "horn").

The musician Fred Nii Addo, who plays the atenteben, said that it is played more commonly with the mouth, but you can play with the nose, although a more trained musician is needed.

"It's part of the player's step forward, everyone knows that you play the flute with your mouth, but as soon as the player connects (with the audience), the musician can use different skills to advance what he's doing. It can be like: wow! "

"So, if you can control the air through the nose, you can also play the instrument that way."

Ms. Issaka praised the quality of the service, saying it was a fitting farewell to someone of Annan's stature.

"When it comes to a funeral of this kind, with many people, there are many young children who probably have not witnessed such a thing, they did it very well, and it reflects on who he is, everything they did meant something important."

Traditional rites

A Ghanaian from Ashanti lineage, Annan received a royal title by King Ashanti in 2002.

His coffin was covered with the national colors of the country to be seen by the public. Local leaders and clan leaders have performed traditional rites to help the peaceful "travels" of their real and national hero.

The dignitaries sit before the coffin of the late Kofi Annan, during a state funeral in Ghana.

The dignitaries sit before the coffin of the late Kofi Annan, during a state funeral in Ghana.


His death will also be marked in Victoria with a service planned for next month.

Issaka said Annan's funeral service is a unique event in a generation that many young Ghanaians would never have seen.

"He thinks he's a man of humanity," he said. "It is believed that these people are rare, in Ghana, and in many African countries, it is considered with great consideration," he said.

Fred Nii Addo will play the special flute as part of the occasion. He said that the sound of the instrument conveys a special meaning.

"The sound sends a message, the sound is really connected with the soul and the spirit, so we believe that the sound of the flute sends the message, the spirit of the dead person that goes."

Bamboo flute modernized in the 1940s

The instrument originates from the tribes of central Ghana and was modernized by musicologist Dr. Ephraim Amu (1899-1995) in the mid-1940s.

The original flute was played horizontally, like a silver orchestral flute, and was capable of playing five notes. It was commonly used to play funeral dirges.

Ephraim Amu created a modern version, which transformed it into a vertically played instrument with a changed mouthpiece, and two additional holes to play two octaves.

Improved ease of reproduction, clarity in tone and a greater variety of notes have led to its greater use in other musical genres, including classical orchestral arrangements, jazz and pop.