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Azonto dance
Ghanaians dancing azonto.png
An Azonto move

Azonto is a dance and music genre from Ghana.[1] The dance originated from a traditional dance called Kpanlogo, associated with the coastal towns in the country such as Chorkor, James Town, La, Teshie, Nungua and Tema, in the Greater Accra Region.[2]

Songs in the Afrobeat genre are usually the ones dedicated to the Azonto dance. Other music genres, however, can also be used.

The dance involves a set of hand movements that either mimic everyday activities or are meant to amuse an audience. It began with one- or two-step movements but has been advanced to more complex and almost acrobatic movements[3]. Just like most African dances, Azonto involves knee bending and hip movements. The dance has effectively evolved from a few basic moves to miming actions such as ironing of clothes, washing, driving, boxing, praying, swimming, and others.[4]


Azonto[5]" is a communicative dance believed to originate from "Apaa" which literally means to work. Apaa was used to show the profession of an individual. The azonto dance has since grown further to relay coded messages. The dance later got into the minds of most Ghanaians. In the same year (2013)[6], most Ghanaian music videos were full of Azonto dance and later spread to most African countries and other parts of the world.[7]

Popular music researcher Jesse Weaver Shipley claims that like hiplife, the popularity of Azonto is a direct result of its interactions in diaspora. Azonto[1] is identified with Ghanaian indigeneity by those abroad and with cosmopolitanism by those at home"[8]

International popularity[edit]

Azonto was originated by the producer NshonnaMusick with the song "You Go Kill Me" which had Sarkodie and E.L on it. It was later popularized on social media by the music videos that portrayed the dance form with fast-pace tempos, home-made dance instructional videos uploaded on YouTube with no commercial intent, and group choreographers done by mostly Ghanaians and other African nationals living in UK, Germany and U.S.[9]

Ghanaian footballer Asamoah Gyan and Togolese football star Emmanuel Adebayor and James Anaman have performed the dance as part of their goal celebrations,[10] and John Carew uploaded a video of himself and his son dancing to Fuse ODG's "Antenna".[11]

Following the worldwide interest in the Ghana's Azonto dance, and the name of Azonto itself being used for a varieties of entertaining activities, such as Azonto Petroleum,[12] the Azonto Ghana Commission was created to organise the Ghana's most populous arts and entertainment (Azonto) and also use the Commission as a department to support groups or individuals using the Azonto dance and other form to promote Ghana, peace and unity among people from all walks of life.


The Most Popular Azonto Tracks of 2012[13][14]
Track Title Artiste Album Title
"You Go Kill Me" Sarkodie (featuring E.L)
"Dangerous" Sarkodie
"Zooze" Koo Maanu (featuring No-Tyme)
"Move To The Gyal Dem" Donae'o (featuring Sarkodie)
"Lapaz Toyota" Guru
"Aboodatoi" Gasmilla
"Chop Kenkey" Joey B
"Twame Lala" Stay Jay
"Obuu Mo" E.L
"Kaluu" E.L
"Yenko Nkoaa" Eduwodzi (featuring Stay J)
"Azonto" Fuse ODG (featuring Itz Tiffany)
"Kolom" Buk Bak
"Sokode" Keche
"Body Lotion" Keche
"Azonto Ghost" Bisa Kdei
"Aluguntugui" Keche
"Moko Ni" 4x4
"Antenna" Fuse ODG
"Seke" Dr Slim (featuring Double)
"Ayi" Criss Waddle (featuring Bisa Kdei)
"Azonto" Wizkid

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ghana's new dance craze - the Azonto". BBC News. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  2. ^ "Ghana's Azonto Dance hits global entertainment stage". 1 August 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
  3. ^ Aidoo, Kwame. "The Best Places to Learn the Azonto Dance in Ghana". Culture Trip. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  4. ^ Stephen Atta Owusu (4 February 2012). "Azonto - The New Music and Dance Craze in Ghana". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  5. ^ Chigozie, Emeka (2015-05-11). "What Is Azonto? - Dance, Music, Songs, Meaning". Answers Africa. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  6. ^ "Ghana's new dance craze - the Azonto". BBC News. Retrieved 2019-05-01.
  7. ^ "Could Ghana's new Azonto dance craze take over the world?" BBC News, 18 June 2012.
  8. ^ Shipley, J. W. (2013), "Transnational circulation and digital fatigue in Ghana's Azonto dance craze", American Ethnologist, 40 (2): 362–381, doi:10.1111/amet.12027
  9. ^ Monica Mark (3 September 2012). "Ghana's Azonto craze takes over dancefloors across the world". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
  10. ^ Asamoah Gyan vs Adebayor Azonto Dance (watch). YouTube, uploaded on 9 February 2012.
  11. ^ Dawes, Mike (21 March 2013). "Carew shows off some Dad dance moves to New Azonto track". Mail Online. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  12. ^ "Ghana | Bongo Exclusive". Bongo Exclusive. Retrieved 2018-05-02.
  13. ^ "Top 10: Songs That Put Azonto on the Map". Ghana Magazine. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  14. ^ "GC Music Chart: Top 10 Songs Of The Week". 2012-03-11. Retrieved 27 January 2013.