Sounds of Accra

Posted on Jun 19, 2011 in Accra, Ghana, Radio

Every place has a particular sound. I created this soundscape of Accra by walking through a busy trotro (mini-bus) station. Take a listen and maybe it will feel as though you are there!

Sounds of Accra

Getting the sound:

I stood awkwardly at the corner of the trotro station, pretending to fumble with my newspaper for several minutes while nervously pulling my microphone from my bag. My intention was to record the buzz around
me, discreetly.

It took about 30 seconds for that plan to fail.

“Obruni! What are you doing.”

The sentence ended with a thud. It was one of two men sitting at the stand next to me hawking cellphones.

“Do you want to interview me?” An accusation.

“No…” I wasn’t sure how to explain my intentions. “I’m… collecting sound. For a project.”

“Ohhhh, sound.”

I was attracting attention. I could hear the “obruni” calls and hissing to get my attention coming from behind me. Before I could decide whether to acknowledge them or move on, other hawkers approached.

“She is getting sound. No interviews. Sound,” the cellphone hawker
informed the newcomers.

“Ahhh, sound. We should make sound?” They asked, beginning to raise their
voices.

“No no… natural sound,” I insisted.

“Ahhh…”

“Go there,  to the bus station,” the cellphone hawker directed me. “Do you know there? Over the bridge. You will get lots of sound.”

Oh. Okay. That was easy. No hassle. No more questions. Just assistance.

And so I walked, microphone fully exposed, through the hectic, cacophonic station.

People were curious – Where was I going? What was I doing? Where was I from? What was my name? – but that was all.

With my now rehearsed explanation, I would tell them.

“Ah, sound.” They would say, satisfied.

This is Ghana.

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