It was first played by the Ga ethnic group, most of whom live in and around the capital city, Accra, but is now performed and enjoyed throughout the country. It began in the early 1960s as an innovative dance form, influenced by American rock and roll, and giving the younger Ga generations a point of distinction from their elders. Ghanaian master drummer C.K. Ladzekpo states that kpanlogo "is essentially an urban youth dance-drumming and a symbol of the commitment of a rapidly growing Ghanaian urban neighborhood youth in advocating their perspective in shaping the political vision of post colonial Africa" (1995: web). The kpanlogo dance is often performed low to the ground, with bent knees and bent back, and frequently features sexually suggestive motions. Accounts of police seizing musical instruments and detaining performers in its early days have been documented.
The music accompanying the kpanlogo dance is drawn from older Ga drumming traditions, such as gome, oge and kolomashie. Kpanlogo music uses three types of instruments: nono (metal bell), fao (gourd rattle), and kpanlogo drums. Nono plays the key pattern or timeline of the music, supported by the fao. It is common to have three kpanlogo drums in an ensemble, in the roles of "male voice", "female voice" and "master drum".
The main kpanlogo bell part is one of the most common and oldest key patterns found in sub-Saharan Africa. The bell pattern used in kpanlogo is the same as the son clave pattern heard Cuban music and salsa. It is also similar to the "Bo Diddley beat" popularized by the U.S. rhythm and blues musician Bo Diddley.
- Salm, Steven J.; Falola, Toyin (2002). Culture and Customs of Ghana. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 178. ISBN 9780313320507. ISSN 1530-8367.
- Ladzekpo, C.K. (1995: web). "Kpanlogo Song Book," Foundation Course in African Music. Web. https://home.comcast.net/~dzinyaladzekpo/KpanlogoSongs.html
- Palmberg, Mai; Kirkegaard, Annemette (2002). Playing with Identities in Contemporary Music in Africa. Nordic Africa Institute. p. 67. ISBN 9789171064967.
- Peñalosa, David (2010: 245). The Clave Matrix; Afro-Cuban Rhythm: Its Principles and African Origins. Redway, CA: Bembe Inc. ISBN 1-886502-80-3.
- Unruh, Amee Jo (2000). "Kpanlogo: A Detailed Description of One Arrangement of a West-African Music and Dance Genre." M.M. thesis with videotape. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University.
- Kpanlogo Conflict, Identity Crisis and Enjoyment in a Ga Drum Dance, by Sonja Rentink
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