Music in Ghana evolves each passing day, as each generation comes with a new breeze of rhythms that in a way or the other challenge the course of melody and the definition of Ghanaian music. In the midst of this has emerged the birth of a new sensation and over the past year, he has introduced a brow-raising genre, which delivers soothing eclectic dance music called Afro EDM. Afro EDM is simply evolved from the global sensational genre called EDM (Electric Dance Music), which is characterized by a broad range of percussive instruments with synthesized rhythms. Joseph Awuah-Darko, stage name Okuntakinte, strongly inspired by the love of drums, and everything African, is leading the charge in Afro-electric dance music.
Okuntakinte seeks to dent the crater with his music and to carry the torch of the legends (Osibisa, Fela Kuti, Mariam Makeba etc), who came before him. Okuntakinte who rose to popularity after breaking the internet with his controversial #MelaninGirls campaign against skin bleaching is slowly but steadily pushing the limits and forging a deep sense of Africa in his art. He seeks to cross borders with his music and sear the global musical terrain with sounds from Ghana. And in under a year, his potential to cross borders has earned him a huge publishing deal with Sony ATV in South Africa.
This UK born Ghanaian phenomena, Okuntakinte’s talent showed very early in his life in 2007 when he was selected by his school to sing for Ex-President George W. Bush during his visit to Ghana. In addition to many other musical and acting stints as he grew up, Okuntakinte found his passion early and nurtured it till he was ready to showcase it to the world professionally. As far as creativity and originality go, Okuntakinte comes with a mixed bag of fine art, painting, writing and singing which makes him the perfect vanguard to champion the course of the new genre. If anything is clear, his song ‘Summer of X’ plays on the uncertainty of love and takes you through his thoughts with a video that clearly gets you to not just appreciate but understand the thinking that guides his art. His musical and artistic influences come from historical figures such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Billy Holiday, Fela Kuti, Nat King-Cole and Amy Winehouse. Okuntakinte as a brand shows a strong commitment to minimalism as a way of life and is becoming a part of the minimalist fashion movement with a dedication to clean aesthetics and timeless pieces entwined with Afrocentric trinkets.
His biggest song so far, ‘Melanin Girls’ celebrates dark skinned girls and brings to light the beauty that radiates from being black. This song was supported by a social media campaign that blew it out of proportion and attracted interviews the world over raging from BBC to CCTV. For the future of music and Ghanaian music for that matter, Okuntakinte provides a great springboard for the adventurous while giving the up and coming dreamer the hope of better things to come. The success of the Melanin Girls campaign has paved way for a remix with sensational South African singer Moonchild Sanelly. The two artistes plan to release this Melanin Girls remix in South Africa to reiterate the message of beauty in being dark skinned.
Also ahead of the elections in Ghana, Okuntakinte just released his “Black Magic song and video to address the socio-economical emancipation of the African man and the need to change the mindset of interdependence. It preaches the fact that Africans as a people have the capacity to generate their own wealth and sustainability. Okuntakinte says “In the face of adversity we possess an enigmatic strength (“black magic”) that empowers us to attain greatness. You have black magic, I have black magic and we have black magic”.
There is more to definitely come from Okuntakinte and he is bent on significantly putting Ghana on the world map. Okuntakinte is signed to Jah Lion records and is managed by Meister Music management same label with Mr Eazi owned by Mr Benard Kafui Sokpe, a management label based in Ghana focused on putting unique West African artistes on the world map.
Watch Melanin Girls video below