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It was an unremarkable Friday evening in June. I sat across from my road manager – the same guy who told me beer tastes better when someone else is buying – at a local bar. It’s a bar with no signage that we affectionately call “the garden”.

To call it a bar is generous. The garden is, at best, a spot: an unassuming gritty place with plastic chairs, almond trees, an inexpensive sound system, a kiosk, and most importantly for the clientele, cheap booze. On any given evening you will find a random mix of disenchanted elderly men with a distaste for sobriety, and young men with a penchant for staying low-key.

Half the people are too intoxicated to care I’m there and the other half give me friendly dap, shout a line from one of my songs and keep it moving.

The sound of young Ghana, Afrobeats, dominates the playlist at the garden, alongside tunes from our regional cousins in Nigeria. It wasn’t always so. On this unremarkable Friday I’m reminded of this remarkable feat: we have achieved a prolific music scene without a formidable production infrastructure, or the presence of big record labels which can dole out a recording budget to young artists. Underneath the predominantly Auto-Tuned vocals are young voices that want to be heard.

I understand too well the burning desire to have your voice heard even without the backing of a traditional label. About 2005 I had just graduated, with a now dusty economics degree and a tonne of musical aspiration but little knowhow. I took matters into my own hands. Piece by piece I accumulated second-hand recording equipment off Craigslist. My apartment became my studio and in 2007 I released my first album, Manifestations, to much acclaim in Minnesota. Sometimes creativity is simply making a lot out of a little. I smile so broadly when I see my younger compatriots in Ghana adopt the same do-it-yourself approach.

Truth be told, from quaint Saltpond to big city Accra, creative spaces are neither fancy nor spiffy in these parts. Dancefloors are ruled by tunes toasting the glamours of life, tunes that are made in small, bedroom-sized studios, often with broken-down air conditioners rather than platinum discs decorating the walls. Optimists will muse at the irony, cynics will scoff and call it a cruel joke. Both factions would have to acknowledge that a lot of music is being made, regardless.

Our parents’ generation often humblebrag to us about how it was in their day. The plethora of highlife bands, legendary club nights at the Ambassador hotel (now the plush Mövenpick hotel), or how AB Crentsil and the Sweet Talksrecorded their 1978 record Party Time in Hollywood in Los Angeles. And of course they had Osibisa, who were regulars in the charts, and easily the biggest Ghanaian band of all time. Yes, times have changed. They can question our competence but they can’t begrudge us our will and zeal to create in a climate where music is regularly consumed but there is little support for it financially.

I moved back home three and a half years ago after a 10-year sojourn in America. I have not only felt the restlessness of youth here, simmering and festering, I’ve lived it. Frequent power cuts alone (unaffectionately called dumsor) have made music more expensive and frustrating to create. Yet there is an increasing cadre of young hopefuls who invest their lives in creative ventures.

Take, for instance, the Chale Wote street art festival: a colourful yearly arts extravaganza in the heart of Jamestown, a historical neighbourhood along the Accra coastline more famous for its boxers. Chale Wote is an edgy, inclusive and bold initiative that invites artists out of the periphery and encourages young people to unapologetically indulge in homegrown art. Conceived by a pair of visionaries, Mantse Aryeequaye and Sionne Neely, Chale Wote has emerged despite the absence of a big budget.

Art is not a luxury, it’s our identity. It’s our message in a time capsule. It’s our inspiration to break from the humdrum, to know that we can shatter the ceilings of possibility and the frustrations of our daily routines. We’re in desperate need of inspiration to develop our homeland. We want more. No – we need more. We can no longer just cling on to the glories of the Osibisas, El Anatsuis, Ablade Glovers and other greats. We must contribute to shaping the look, feel and spiritual essence of our homeland.

Granted, we have some things to sort out. We’re a generation seemingly more obsessed with commerce than with art. After all “e be art we go chop?” (loosely translated, this pidgin English means, “is it art that will feed us?”). I know many young entrepreneurial visual artists, musicians, fashion designers and filmmakers who make work on shoestring budgets that is magical and can transcend borders.

As I was about to leave the garden my song Forget Dem came on. A group of young guys sang along as loud as they could, eager to let me know they recognised me. I smiled, appreciative.

I contemplate giving them a peek behind the curtain. If only they knew that the song they hear on the radio, which accompanies the music video they see on TV, was recorded in a tiny ghetto studio in Tema. How dumsor rudely interrupted our session, how super producer Killbeatz rented a generator in defiance of the power gods. But I don’t. After all, when it comes to being an artist in Ghana, “nowhere cool” – our way of saying the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Still, we power on, fuelled by passion. Oh the joys of being young, restless and creative in Africa. No stopping us now.

Guardian/Manifest

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Music

OMAR STERLING joins call for WEE LEGALIZATION! – SEE VIDEO!

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Video has surfaced of R2Bees member Omar Sterling calling for the legalisation on Indian hemp in the country.

In the video sighted by ENEWSGH, the prolific rapper, in the middle of cutting what appears to be a birthday cake decorated with the substance, calls for the decriminalisation of the herb, pointing out that it could prove valuable to the country.

The Starboy Worldwide president is not the first to advocate for the legalisation of the substance. indeed, quite a number of his colleagues in music (including Samini, Kwaw Kese, Blakk Rasta, Ekow Micah etc) as well as other top Ghanaian personalities have all advocated for its legalisation, indicating its potential to draw in foreign income, as well as proven medicinal purposes.

Watch the video below:

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Music

#CokeStudioAfrica: Bisa KDei Makes EDDY KENZO “Ampesi & Abom” – WATCH!

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Ghana’s Bisa KDei made Ugandan counterpart Eddy Kenzo a true believer of indigenous Ghanaian cooking.

Both singers are housemates at the 2017 Coke Studio Africa series, and ahead of their musical collaboration, they took some time out to explore each other’s story and culture a bit more.

Bisa revealed that he learned to make the dish from his mum as a young boy, and it has become part of him ever since.

A popular name in contemporary Ghanaian highlife, Bisa KDei is one of 5 Ghanaian reps on the programme this year, the others being Joey B, Masta Garzy, Killbeatz, and Worlasi.

This year, housemates come from countries as outh Africa, Rwanda, Angola, Zimbabwe, Togo, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, DRC, Ethiopia, and Cameroon.

Nigeria’s MI Abaga and 2Baba (2Face Idibia), Kenya’s Avril, Ghana’s EL, Stonebwoy, Efya and Mozambique’s Neymar have all performed at previous editions of Coke Studio Africa.

Watch the video below:

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Corporate

Stonebwoy, LIL WIN perform @ GOtv MAX Kumasi launch!

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Over the weekend in Kumasi, GOtv Ghana hosted a massive concert to introduce its new package GOtv MAX to the public. The event held at the Kumasi City Mall, attracted thousands of concert goers who defied the heavy downpour to enjoy the music and fireworks display.

The event was nearly marred by the rain storm that started immediately the first set of performers hit the stage. Fans were forced to take shelter within the mall for well over three hours until the storm passed through and the equipment were checked and given the green light for the concert to resume at 10pm.

General Manager, GOtv Ghana, Kingsley Afful performing the launch reaffirmed the commitment of GOtv to bring its subscribers the best local and international TV shows first, hence the introduction of the GOtv MAX package. He explained that “Quality entertainment has always been a key focus on GOtv platform and we are excited to continue building our entertainment options for our customers by bringing them this new package”.

“We understand that times are tough but that doesn’t mean that our customers have to miss out on world-class entertainment. Sports just got bigger and better with the GOtv MAX package which will bring the best football titles in the world, La Liga, along with more entertainment choice for the whole family like CBS Reality, Sony Max and FOX.”

GOtv MAX customers will enjoy access to over fifty channels of the hottest local and international channels featuring everything from the freshest series, music and sport to the latest in fashion reality, celebrity and kiddies programming.  “From 1st October, all active GOtv Plus subscribers have been automatically upgraded onto the GOtv Max package at no cost to them to sample this new package for one full month”, Mr. Afful added.  He also announced a reduction on the price of GOtv decoders to GHs79 and the subscription price cuts on the GOtv Plus package to GHs35.

Fans were entertained by Stonebwoy and the BossNations’ CEO, the pride of Kumasi, Lil Win and crew. Several fans were rewarded with GOtv decoders as part of the launch activities by the artistes. The event was culminated in a huge firework display deep into the night to the delight of the thousands present at the event.

 

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Music

EBOO readies 2ND VIDEO ahead of NEW ALBUM [+images]

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Empire’s franchise music star EBOO is back to take his! Since announcing his return to active music after a significant hiatus, he has swung into full force –dropping major anthems in quick succession, and mounting key stages reserved for only the best in the game.

A month ago, the Once/ Twice hitmaker was in the beautiful coastal city of Cape Coast shooting visuals for  one of the songs off his yer-to-be-released comeback album “Good Life”. Over the weekend, he partnered with friend and creative genius Director OJ for another video shoot, this time, in Jamestown- Accra.

Director OJ ( CEO of Big OJ Films), is also responsible for accompanying visuals to Eboo’s “Honey” (released in 2010). On set, the rare creative partnership between artist and director, fostered over several years, was apparent, and as Eboo reveals, it made the project effortless.

“People should just watch out for the videos”, concluded the talented singjay.

Born on December 15 in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, Eboo (known privately as Andrew Joel Adisi) describes his life as one dedicated to music. He started music at the tender age of twelve (12), and has hardly looked back ever since.

Widely praised by connoisseurs at a listening session sometime back, Eboo’s “Good Life” album  consists a staggering 21 songs, and will shake up the terrain without doubt.

 

See behind-the-scenes shots below:

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Music

I wrote a lot of songs for Castro – Afezi Perry

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Takoradi based act, Afezi Perry says he was behind a some of the hit songs released by hiplife gem Castro.

The 2017 VGMA unsung nominee disclosed this in an interview with Regina  Van Helvert on the Rymthz show on GH One Television. he told the host ” I was Castro’s protege. I stayed with him for so many years just to undergo grooming to be a successful artiste. There are several things that I can’t disclose on air but to be frank, I wrote a lot of his hit songs for him, not just Under, I have written for several artists, I wrote Sister Afia’s Jeje featuring Shatta Wale ” he said.

Afezi Perry is a sensational Ghanaian singer and songwriter whose lyrics cut across all genres of music. He is acknowledged for smash hits such as “Dedew”, “maabena”, “Sika Beba” “wonkoaa”, and much more.
Music lovers probably may have fallen in love with the soul crooner during the 2017 VGMA nominees jam in Suyani where he was put in the Unsung category with Eshun, Cina Soul, CJ Biggerman and Kwame Eugene etc.
With all the outlandish performances by these acts, the Takoradi based entertainer was at his usual entertaining best on the night. His ability to control the crowd aided his presence on stage and boosted cheers from fans. To many, Afezi Perry put his craft together without blemish and as such was ahead of other competitors vying for the Unsung Artist of the Year Award at the VGMA Nominees Jam held in Suyani, early on in the year. Entertainment critics rated his performance eight of ten.
To many, Afezi Perry put his craft together without blemish and as such was ahead of other competitors vying for the Unsung Artist of the Year Award at the VGMA Nominees Jam held in Suyani, early on in the year. Entertainment critics rated his performance eight of ten.
Afezi Perry managed by HYPHEN INC a talent management company based in Accra owned and founded by Gh one TV’s VJ Xpliph.
Watch the full interview below:

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Events & Places

DJ Mic Smith to shutdown Accra with the biggest DJ Concert In Ghana as part of his 10th year anniversary

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Sunday October 22nd will be etched in the memories of many Ghanaians as a tall list of top stars converge at the Accra Mall food court to party and pay tribute to the contribution of DJ Mic Smith to the Ghanaian and international music industry.

For the past decade, Mic Smith known in real life as Michael Owusu-Smith has demonstrated a monstrous mastery of his craft. His flawless control of the turntables has endeared him to the hearts of many in Ghana and across the shores of the country. So on an occasion to recognize his efforts in putting the country on a different pedestal, “A” list DJS like Andy Dosty, DJ Kess, Nigeria’s finest, DJ Neptune, DJ Mensa, Killa Fingers, DJ Vyrusky are amongst the DJs on rotation to celebrate with him in mega style.

The Shutdown King as he is affectionately called has paid his dues both to the music and Djing fraternity.

So on the night, expect artiste like Mr. Eazi to take things easy as he delivers explosive tunes from his arsenal. E.L, A.I, Magnom, Kojo Cue, are also part of a tall list of performers to thrill patrons at the free concert dubbed SHUTDOWN 2017.

About DJ Mic Smith

Micheal Owusu known as DJ Mic Smith is an event, club, radio, mixtape and artist DJ and also an entrepreneur from the republic of Ghana.

He also currently holds several nominations from Ghana DJ Awards; The Redbull club DJ of the year awardMic Smith is also the official DJ for international Afrobeats star Mr Eazi signed to the highly successful Ghanaian record label Miester Music .

Mic began DJing by “accident” when looking for a job over 10 years ago, where he had an embedded passion for music and allowed this to take more of a forefront in his life than it had previously. At Hot fm (93.9) in the early stages of 2008, he started as a radio presenter who presented the entertainment news on the Drive Time Show hosted by Okyeame Quophi. Within a year of life in the media world. Mic began spinning, his talent was pushed to the next level, when he became resident DJ at one of the most recognised clubs in Accra, Rockstone’s Office known to many as Django. Over the years he was the main focus entertainment at the club and his talent on the decks quickly earned him the nickname ‘The Shutdown King’ exposing him to many opportunities including national and international gigs.

 

 

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