You will not disrespect Nii Funny’s Broken Heart, you will not undermine the rhythm–for the enthusiasm there is fire, and it comes in hurricane tempo.

Let me say that again: when you hear the Spanky-produced number, you will dance…whether you like it or not won’t matter. You won’t know specifically what words you’re dancing to, but guess what; you don’t care, for there is not a single dull moment in the entire song, especially with instrumentation!

Indeed, it’s Spanky’s brilliance with trumpets and kicks that make you not pay so much attention to the subject matter in the four minutes and nine seconds. My God, the song has such vibration. That is not to say that you’ll not memorise ‘ yoo ko ebreaki mi’ (a certain woman has broken me) by the time your first listen comes to an end.

‘Jee nuu pɛ breakiɔ yoo, yoo hu nyɛɔ ebreakiɔ nuu’ (It is not a man who only breaks the woman, the woman can equally break the man)

It’s impossible to take in all of the song’s complexities at one hearing, so you’ll have to listen again, and again, and again…and then suddenly, you’re singing along word for word, and even know the specific points Spanky says ‘legoo’. What’s worse, you pitch your voice in that shrill way he does it. If you lead praises at church, the urge to raise it right after an Elder Mireku chant is so real that it’s the actual reason you’ve been nervous on the podium of late.

In Broken Heart, Nii Funny finally rekindles a very necessary debate on a phenomenon which (as men) we’ve all been thinking but have not said out loud (until now), because it’s not something a man can bemoan, else he’s overreacting; that in the politics of affection, a man can be a victim too…that contrary to what women would have us believe, a man can be used and dumped too—‘ Jee nuu pɛ breakiɔ yoo, yoo hu nyɛɔ ebreakiɔ nuu’.

Don’t laugh yet. When the song comes on, you’ll dance, but listen to the monologue in there and it’s truly a heart-wrenching story, even sadder than journalists being packed into a tipper truck to cover Ghana’s 59th independence anniversary celebration, or Uhuru Kenyatta being presented to us as ‘president of the republic of Ghana’ in the brochure. I mean this is Ghana, and those are embarrassments so normal that they’re hardly embarrassments anymore. But Nii Funny’s song? Nii Funny’s song will break your heart.

For sure, this is a fisherman’s anthem –that new ‘sub-genre’ which is used to bundle all music of similar tempo coming from the Accra coasts of late. The drum kicks, at many points of the song, are frantic but not strange; especially if you’ve listened to traditional Ga music and have seen the ‘gome ’ (that square drum sat on and played with cupped palms and the side of one leg). It is always the centre of attraction not merely for the strong fatherly sound it produces, but also because the player, a man, is usually large and has breasts nearly as ample as a woman’s, yet it’s so nimble in his manipulation of his limbs on it that it’s such a fascination.

Just when we are getting used to Wisa’s Ekiiki Mi, Ishmael Nii Ardey Ankrah (Nii Funny), another budding singer of Ga origin’s breakout single explodes in our faces, and we’re only now fully recovering. It’s mildly controversial and it demands nothing less than spirited boogey when it comes on.

The chorus is simple; it’s essentially a repetition of yoo ko ebreaki mi . At the same time, it is ambiguous, because of the primary interpretation we make when the word ‘break’ is put next to ‘yoo’, which is Ga for woman. Immediately, we think it’s a sex song –about someone’s virginity being broken…but immediately too, we’re wrong, for the song, though about breakage, is rather, about the heart. Now let us both get our minds out of the Korle lagoon, if you don’t mind.

The song’s structure –our prejudice to it, like

Gasmilla tempo , is jovial–you know, a man in an afro wig and singlet tripping and falling behind a woman with a humongous back area. The man could appear in another costume; a white long–sleeved button-down shirt, khaki shorts, long white socks and  sandals made of lorry tyres which you may know and have referred to as ‘Afro-Moses’

At the same time, it is themed on a scenario which is both real and disturbing. A young hardworking man with impressive ambition smiles at himself and walks with meaningful gait because he’s sure he’s found the woman every man seeks at the point in their lives when they start having thoughts of settling down. The old men advise that once you’ve laid hands on that woman, don’t let her go. So our persona, logically, would go the lengths to keep her happy…including sharing his shelter and bread with her –never mind that it’s merely a roomlet and a gari meal. Our young bachelor is not rich so he can’t give much…but then again how could one expect him to, he’s only a young bachelor. What is remarkable though, is his gesture; the fact that he’s willing to share his meagre resources with this woman who remained unnamed for most of the song, presumably because of how the story ends…in a tragedy.

The sacrifices a man in love would take are marvelous; using a cheap phone, a ‘yam’, just so his lady can have an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. Yet, when the heart is remarkably bruised, the tongue refuses to name the perpetrator because it re-sparks delicate wounds. The Ga woman is usually loyal. How do I know? I’m a Ga man talking about a Ga woman, deal with it. But bloody Lamley is such an exception, for something happened to her taste buds which altered her preferences –suddenly she’s finding solace in the bosom of Papa Ajasco (that pot-bellied moron ) for the mere fact…well maybe not mere…but for the fact that he has houses at Trassaco Valley.

Aajeei, aajeei

Akɛ mi inya ei

Akɛ mi inya ei

Akɛ mi inya ee ei, ko ni okwɛ

These are contained in the wails of someone bundled and sent off to a far prison. Bloody Lamley!

I give you give you my heart

I give you give you my soul

I give you give you my body

I give you give you my money

but you take me as a fool fool (legoo)

but you take me as a fool fool ( le, le, le le lee)

These lines are Spanky’s, who appears briefly on the song…the same Spanky who made this beat which could inflict lunacy. His words are also rich because they contain some of the most essential romance clichés aside ‘I love you’.

The song draws also, from nostalgia from about a decade or so ago. Papa Ajasco, for example (indeed, all Wale Adenuga productions), which was shown on Metro TV, was incredibly popular back then. Papa Ajasco was bald –only had hair on the sides of his head, and wore a shirt and tie over a wrapper, instead of trousers. In the company of old Pa James, Ms Kpekpeye, Boy Alinko and other mischief mongers, we were assured seemingly endless entertainment on many nights. Now we’re left with Mexican telenovelas which have the same ending, so it’s unpalatable.

Kasapa, the phone, used to be popular too because it was affordable…but also due to the adverts we saw on TV and heard on radio. The signature gong sound is important history for children of my generation, and until Expresso took over, we looked forward to the gong at the end of the adverts. Nii Funny brings all this back. Even the gong! I didn’t realise how much I had missed the gong. Don’t deny it, you too have missed the gong.

Broken Heart is of commercial orientation, yet it’s well put together. There are indigenous sounds and harmony in the singing. There’s a message we can relate to, and there’s pa na na at the end of the first few lines of verse 1. Oh yes, we sing that trumpet part in the song, else we are not singing the song completely. Indeed once you get used to the song (which doesn’t take that long anyway), you can sing the entire song as a sort of extended chorus.

For starters, it has gained nomination in the unsung category of this year’s VGMAs. That’s an important pat on the back of Funny, and indeed the entire team at Lyrics and More, the management outfit he’s currently with.

When we both come across Nii Funny, who is also senior brother of Nii-Soul, or Joe of TV3 Mentor fame, we shall ask him what he really says after he says ‘Nii Funny eeh’ at the very beginning of the song, or what ‘abudum budum budu bandei’ specifically refers to. Most importantly, we shall inquire from where he drew information for this song, though we strongly perceive that it’s from personal experience and probably won’t accept any other answer.

You know what a Jamestown damsel will do to the song in dance…You’ve seen what she did with ‘Ekiiki Mi’, and marvelled. No further details then…

 

 

@myershansen on twitter .

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