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Entertainment of Monday, 8 August 2022

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Maame Ode: Meet the Ghanaian woman who is hired to cry at funerals

Maame Ode play videoMaame Ode

Known for the nnwonkoro hit song ‘Aputor’, Maame Abena Ode has gained prominence not only for her innuendo-inspired songs; she is popular for being a professional mourner, one paid to cry at funeral grounds.

Maame Ode does not need to be a relative of the deceased or the bereaved. Once she is hired, she does her job, just like other persons whose services are hired for successful final funeral rites.

“I just have to see the corpse’s face and tears will be dripping from my eyes," she said in her interview on The Delay Show. “The tears are not fake. As humans, once you see a body laid in state, you’ll be pained. So, when we cry even without any affiliation to the family or the dead, it cannot be attributed to witchcraft.”

Aside from crying more than the bereaved, the services she renders include upsetting a rival. If a man had more than a wife and died, she would not mind spiting one of the wives during the funeral when contracted to do so with her songs. She tagged that as a normal practice because both rivals can hire two different singers in their quest to spite each other.

While sounding braggadocious, Maame Ode said she has the prowess to defeat whoever the other rival would contract because she is on top of her game. That has, however, landed her in trouble before; she was assaulted.

“There was a time I was nearly killed at Abuakwa during a funeral. I was placed in a cage; I didn't know that the other widow had on board soldiers and thugs. I was flogged but luckily for me, someone rushed me into a car booth and straight to the Abuakwa Police Station. If it weren't for the mercies of God, I would have been killed," she recalled.

Before becoming a master of this act, she danced at events that had great personalities as guests. Her first time was when she was five years old during her father’s funeral.

She said: “I hadn’t danced before. I remember when they were dancing, I got up, jumped, and danced so well that it was even better than those who had been hired to dance at my father’s funeral. The woman who was handling the dance team later approached my mother and asked for permission to have me join her team. My mother agreed.

“I was not singing at the time. I started singing in class 6. It was time for ‘Open Day’ and they asked who would want to sing and dance. They were curious because I hadn’t done that before. But I sang and they liked it. I first recorded a song for Nick Abbeam Danso, a very wealthy man. His mother had died.”

Talking about her level of education, Ode said she is a product of a secondary school Kumasi.

The public figure lost her husband two years ago. They were married for twenty-three years with two children. According to her, a mammoth thronged the venue for the funeral for two reasons - to commiserate with her because of the love they had for her and her family and to see how she would cry knowing she is a professional mourner.

"We hired three thousand chairs but they were not enough," she said while shooting down suggestions to marry again.

"I'm old now. I'm over 40 years. I've married before and I'm tired."

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