By Lillian Walter:
The Simpa Dance, which is known for its emotional expression and education was discovered in 1948, according to Dagbon historians. Dagombas regard dancing as a form of emotional expression, social interaction, a spiritual performance or even a physical exercise that aids them articulate or illustrate ideas or tell a story.
In most cases, music in Dagbon is accompanied by dancing in order to form a complete story. The Simpa Dance is one where a male singer leads women in the act accompanied by background drummers and singers to whip up enthusiasm. For a woman to be a successful simpa dancer, she must be agile and be able to gyrate ---shake her waist in such a way it would attract the interest of men.
It was in this regard that Zaa Radio organized a Simpa singing competition under the program Zaa Baansi Saha for the youth in various rural communities in the northern region. The program is usually aired every Sunday between the hours of 8 and 10 p.m. The competition was to take advantage of the growing interest in the local entertainment industry. It was also to engage the youth in the region and discouraging them from traveling down south to do ‘kayayei’.
The initiative was to further revive and create the awareness of Simpa to the world, more especially to people from the northern sector of the country. The three month-long and second edition of the Simpa competition, which just ended, started with 21 male contestants who throughout the competition entertained both listeners and supporters of various competitors.
It would certainly not be out of place to describe the competition as a ‘Talent show’ because interested individuals are given the platform to showcase their God-given talents to the country and world, and, it is transmitted live.
At the end of the competition, Mr. Kofi Adam from Bagurugu emerged the winner and took home a colour television set. Mr. Abdul Rahaman Issahaku from Libi won the second prize and walked away with a standing fan, and bringing up the rear was Mr. Asaafo Salifu from Toroyili who took home a wall clock.
The programmes manager of Zaa Radio, Mr. Alhassan Seidu Kayaba, congratulated the winners of the competition , adding that the program is a continuous show, which will be done seasonally but called on the people of Dagbon, philanthropists, NGOs, and other institutions, especially the tourism sector to support the initiative. The initiative, he said, will show the youth in the north as well as the entire country, dagbon history.
Ms. Memunatu Abukari, head of Dagbani programs at the station stressed the need for peace to exist among the youth, especially among individuals who take part in the competition.
The host of the program, Mr. Alhassan Abdul Mumin said though the program started and ended successfully, it did not get sponsorship, hence the need for organizations and individuals and the people of dagbon to embrace the initiative by forwarding their contributions towards the improvement of the laudable initiative.
The winners thanked Zaa radio for giving them the platform to showcase their talents to the region, but wished for similar initiatives.