In learning how to play the kologo, I was led down a path of studying a musical genre previously unknown to me. I discovered that it appears to have very close ties to American blues, which probably descended from it. Additionally, I have shown that the traditional aspects of kologo music remain strong to this day, but are in many aspects undergoing a transformation, due to modernity. In some ways, it is being transformed into an afro-jazz genre, in others a hip hop genre. And in a third way it is undergoing an internal modernization, creating a neo-traditional genre within the Frafra recording industry.
Additionally, I have done a close examination on those who play the instrument. Discussions were fruitful with musicians ranging from the “King” of kologo to the undiscovered talent to the talent that never-was. Those in the recording industry also display a great appreciation and love for their music and desire to take introduce to the world. At the same time, they all are aware of their humble beginnings, each teaching himself in his small village in the Upper East Region, usually out of a kologo he constructed himself.
There are many things I would have done differently had I had more time. First off, had I known that Kumasi was so central to the industry, I would have planned a trip there, but scheduling time in Bolgatanga and Kumasi was not possible. Another aspect I would have done differently was the nature of my trip to Bolgatanga. I was not specific enough with Steve-O about what I wanted to accomplish there and so only had one very productive day. Future research certainly needs to spend more time in Bolgatanga, amongst the Frafra to better understand the kologo players’ role in society. Additionally, future research should try to find a proper English speaker, as this could have been very helpful in many aspects of the research, especially in translating songs and interviews. Additionally, future research should look at the “sister” instruments and their roles within their societies and if anything similar to the modernization I have described is occurring or already has occurred there. To do this, one would have to leave the borders of Ghana and travel all around West Africa. It would also be interesting if future research took some of these singers and sang American blues with them, specifically Suley.
Now that I have surveyed the kologo industry, the main question is what will happen to it in the future? King Ayisoba seems poised to take his music and message to the global community and is probably the best face to do so. Within the Frafra community, I wonder where the music will go from here. Will it continue a technological advancement and create even more new sounds? Or will it stop with where it is now and sustain the electronic beats? Will a live band backing a kologo player in concert ever become the norm? These questions and more are the subject of what should be analyzed from my research and looked at when listening to kologo music. As King Ayisoba claims, “kologo music is spiritual music” so it can take a life of its own and change in unforeseen ways. I believe I have captured it just at the right moment of change, when it is possible to see and hear tradition and modernity. In the future, will one overshadow the other? Will one be lost completely? Or will the equilibrium Ayisoba hopes to achieve be sustained within the Frafra recording community? As Suley sings, “Who knows tomorrow?”