Bantama Kra Kro

Arranged by Mark Weston

This is a fun and easy 2-part treble arrangement that is a great program opener or something to put into the middle of a program to add variety. It is an accessible piece for exploring world music and other languages. Both vocal parts get to play the roles of harmony and melody. The harmonies are very easy to learn, so it is an ideal piece for a young choir that is just starting to explore singing in 2 parts.

About the Music

“Bantama Kra Kro” is a folk song from Ghana about buying sweets in the Bantama market. The sheet music comes with this description:

Bantama is a small section near the center of the historic city of Kumasi, the regional capital of the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Kumasi is located near Lake Bosumtwi in a rain forest region of southern Ghana and is the largest cultural center of West Africa. It has a population of over two million people.

The text is in the Akon language, which is the primary language in the Ashanti Region. It translates:

Bantama sweet treats, tell me where they are so I can try.
So good to eat, now all I need is money with to buy.
They are sweet treats, tell me where they are so I can try.
So good to eat, all I need is money with to buy.

Analysis, Interpretation, and Performance Notes

There is a lengthy repeat of the opening sectional. The composer writes that it is optional, but I usually include it since the piece as a whole is not very lengthy. The composer suggests a language map, but you can create your own. Again, I prefer to sing it as suggested.

The arrangement has percussion parts for cowbell, shaker, hand drums, and djembe. The percussion parts may be omitted if you just start the piano at measure 9.

The score includes a pronunciation guide, which is very helpful.

Related Works

  • “Bonse Aba” arr. by Victor C. Johnson
  • “Dide Ta Deo” arr. by Mark Weston
  • “Obsiwana” arr. by Mary Donnelly & George L.O. Strid
  • “Pete! Pete!” arr. by Victor C. Johnson

Performances

  • Southwestern J.H.S. Choir – April 9, 2016 (ISSMA Festival, Junior Division, Group IV)
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