Welcome to our continuing analysis of selected performances from Coke Studio Africa 2016. Throughout this series, ENEWSGH editor Gabriel Myers Hansen looks specifically at Ghanaian reps ( E.L, Efya, Stonebwoy, and Feli Nuna) and how they match up to their colleagues from the rest of the continent.
EL returned to the Coke Studio Africa stage in Episode 4, after a striking debut with Ugandan partner Jaguar. Read our review of it here. The performance was described “most electrifying performance ever”. Do I have reservations about that label? Yes! Still, was it a stellar performance? By all means! Whistling into glass bottles half-filled with Coke, the live audience executed their part with admirable dedication in the organically beautiful medley of his Mi Naa Bo Po and Jaguar’s Kipepeo.
EL is Ghana’s most important rep in the series this year, and perhaps the most brilliant thus far. All three performances from him have been faultless. Without doubt, he has become pro in rap and melody –and with the stage too– because all this is live. I witnessed him set fire to 50,000 fans at the Accra Sports Stadium recently. It can be a very intimidating task — to have to face a crowd that big, but EL dispatched that masterfully. He expertly manipulates both the outdoor crowd and the more intimate one.
Jaguar is the “more reserved” of both performers, and EL automatically assumes “Alpha” role –not just performing, but “supervising” other aspects of the performance and ensuring an all-round performance. Jaguar usually looks to impress his audience (every performer looks to do that), but EL has long retired that anxiety, because he’s sure he’ll entertain, and entertain, he did.
Thanks to an authentic chemistry between both acts, Jaguar appears assured by virtue of standing next to EL. It’s obvious, especially comparing his previous sets, that he is effectively feeding off EL’s presence, which is why in this latest performance, he’s noticeably more vibrant. The expert transition from EL’s song to his is also noteworthy, I must say.
The way the performance turned out surprised Jaguar…very likely exceeded his expectation. You can tell by his exclamation at the end of the performance. The duo was backed by a very creative and professional band, and so the set was sure to turn out right. There was an extra energy both Jaguar and the audience felt. That energy came from EL.
“Wow!”, Jaguar cried after the final note, and then followed it with applause from his own palm.
But EL, knowing what he had just masterminded, remained measured, commending the audience for their contribution. He rounded up the interactive session thus: ” Thank you guys. You guys were amazing”.
The Coke Studio Africa brings top artists from various parts of the continent together to create medleys of some of Africa’s favorite anthems. It has been graced by some of the biggest African stars yet, including Nigeria’s MI Abaga and 2Baba (2Face Idibia), Kenya’s Avril, and Mozambique’s Neyma.