A panel discussion and film screening at Tulane University’s Freeman Auditorium, in the Woldenberg Arts Center. The film “A Por Por Funeral For Ashirifie,” which compares funeral traditions in New Orleans and Ghana, will be screened. A panel discussion featuring the filmmaker, University of New Mexico anthropology professor Steven Feld, as well as Dr. Michael White and Freddi Evans, will follow. Sponsored by the Tulane Music Department and the New Orleans Film Society.
About the film: Por Por music (pronounced "paw paw") is named for the honking sound of antique squeeze-bulb car horns, ubiquitous on the wooden lorries of Ghana's early transport history. After electric horns arrived in West Africa, these obsolete signaling instruments virtually disappeared. But a union of bus and truck drivers in the Accra township of La kept the por por horns and invented a jazzy honking music, adding bells, drums, and voices. The La drivers only perform Por Por at funerals of their fellow union transport workers, and their music has gone largely unnoticed until recently. In March 2008 the La Drivers Union Por Por Group lost one of its key members, Nelson Ashirifie Mensah. Thisfilm documents the funeral performed in his memory and discusses Por Por's relation to the New Orleans jazz funeral. The film was the winner of the 2010 Prix Bartok at the Bilan du Film Ethnographique in Paris.