por por from ghana
Adopted by drivers of timber trucks working forest roads, the squeeze-bulb horns were first brought together with small percussion as a kind of ensemble noisemaking to insure protection to disabled vehicles after dark. As punctured tires—a frequent occurrence on forest roads—were pumped back to strength, driving mates surrounded the vehicles and banged out encouragement on ododompo finger bells and small square tamalin (from “tambourine”) frame drums while honking the por por horns to scare off dangerous animals. In time, the noise of warning transformed into a music, as the drivers layered short por por horn phrases onto the standard dawuro banana-leaf bell pulse patterns of distinct ethnic and national rhythms such as kpalongo, adowa, asafo, ogeh, and agbadza. Likewise, the up and down motion of pumping the punctured tires was turned into an enthusiastic dance of accompaniment.
The Afrofunk Music Forum brings our attention to Smithsonian Folkways’ Por Por: Honk Horn Music of Ghana.