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#VGMANostalgia: How history was created – The Lumba Year

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The annual Ghana Music Awards is the most-anticipated night on our music calendar. Running for 17 years, it remains the topmost music honour in the country –our own version of the Grammys.  As we build up to this year’s edition slated for April 8th, ENEWSGH editor Gabriel Myers Hansen presents a series of essays reliving selected editions of the event. This first installment remembers Daddy Lumba’s era-defining strides with Aben Wo Aha, which earned him the topmost prize:

 

Daddy Lumba’s Aben Wo Aha album is a significant project for many reasons. First, it won him three awards at the inaugural Ghana Music Awards ceremony held in the year 2000, including Artist of the Year. Also, though it was released two years earlier, it is very much considered an album for the new millennium. The onset of this millennium marked the entrenchment of hiplife as a national obsession with the likes of Obrafour and Lord Kenya bearing that torch. Aben Wo Aha was therefore, one of the few records which held the fort for highlife –the others being works from brother Nana Acheampong, maestro Kojo Antwi, perhaps Papa Shee, and a few others.

Aben Wo Aha is straightforward – it’s made up of 8 songs which unfold in specific perfection. Like Michael Jackson’s Thriller (which offers merely 9 songs), the record comprises just the right quantities of listening gratification: Aben Wo Ha equals thrills, Dangerous is chilling and reflective, Doctor Panee is masterful lyrical mischief unsurprising of the man, and Nyame Nyira Mmaa reiterates the awe-inspiring utility of a woman on a daily basis. Hye Woho Den, Fakye, Se Wo Da Ento Pono Mu all meet the definition of what classics are. Classics can be thinly packaged too.

It is a surprise that he has not picked up Artist of the Year ever since, the veteran and pioneer he is, but his music has been consistent, and his catalogue, which began with Yeeye Aka Akwantuo Mu, a collaborative effort with Nana Acheampong perpetually glistens. As of now, he has to his credit over 20 albums and at 52, is still very much present in modern music conversations.

There’s something to learn about how he has achieved this. For most artists, even a slight change in the sound we know them for is recipe for disaster, but Lumba has successfully flipped his template over time –from a comfortable mid-tempo Theresa Abebrese vibe to more revolutionary tunes as Ahenfo Kyiniye (his joint tribute with Pat Thomas for Otumfuo Osei Tutu the Asantehene) while still maintaining traditional essence with succinct string placements.

Producer influence cannot be ignored in Lumba’s melodic transitions. He’s credited with being a key force in the creation of the sub-genre Burger Highlife. It’s true. It’s something he and his contemporaries achieved with the help of German sound engineer Bodo Staiger. At the time, it was the culture to record at Staiger’s Rheinklang Studios by any means necessary. And why not? Staiger is to highlife, what JQ and Da’ Hammer are to hiplife. And so you had everybody from Nana Acheampong, to Ofori Amponsah, to Oheneba Kissi to even gospel acts Tagoe Sisters, and Daughters of Glorious Jesus all embarking on the pilgrimage to Düsseldorf. Sure enough, the legend of Staiger’s midas touch is still being spoken of. Indeed, for several of these artists, creative accomplishments surged (and remained) with Staiger, but not in the case of Daddy Lumba. Post- 2000, and without Staiger, he still spawned, (sorry, spawns) great music. His efforts with the homegrown Appietus have resulted in modern highlife classics too, most prominently Awoso (2014), which contained the song otherwise known as Yentie Obiaa. Remember that Yentie Obiaa was adjudged VGMA Most Popular Highlife Song of the Year (2015), and still holds political weight.

The list that has followed Lumba for the coveted award has been tremendous and constantly hardly-fought: Kojo Antwi (2001), Lord Kenya (2002), Kontihene (2003), V.I.P (2004), Obour (2005), Ofori Amponsah (2006), Samini (2007), Kwaw Kese (2008), Okyeame Kwame (2009), Sarkodie (2010), V.I.P (2011), Sarkodie (2012), R2Bees (2013), Shatta Wale (2014), Stonebwoy (2015), and EL (2016).

For most of the video for Aben Wo Aha, Daddy Lumba is flanked by ladies in pretty white tank tops twirling their bosoms and waistlines in ways that are simply not safe for work. The choreography therein has also proven iconic over the years –those cheeky shoulder moves which both mesmerised and was memorised by every household.

Aben Wo Aha generated significant backlash too, because of the sexual innuendoes it was littered with. Many called for a ban from our airwaves, including broadcasting legend Tommy Annan- Forson. Nevertheless, it remains an era-defining number, and speaks to what a lyrical master Daddy Lumba is. That fact will not be contested.

Born Charles K. Fosu in Nsuta (A/R), his liquid tenor remains a key instrument in music in this country and beyond, and his career, an important case study for the current generation and the ones not yet born.

*This year’s edition of the Vodafone –sponsored Ghana Music Awards comes off at the Accra International Conference Centre on Saturday April 8th. EL, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Joe Mettle, MzVee, Medikal are all in the running for the coveted award of Artist of the Year.

 

 

 

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I’m not just a music producer; I am a very good singer – StreetBeatz

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The culture of music producers releasing their own songs has been rife on the Ghanaian music scene of late and latest to join the bandwagon is StreetBeatz, the producer of Sarkodie’s ‘Adonai.’

According to StreetBeatz, contrary to the notion that he is only into beat production, he is a consummate musician who also sings.

“Most people think I only produce beats for musicians. But I am actually a singer. Very soon the world will know my other abilities in the field of music. I am working on some wonderful tracks with top artists in Ghana and abroad,” he told Citinewsroom’s Kwame Dadzie.

StreetBeatz (born Bright Kwame Appiah), is preparing to release a song that features two vibrant acts in the United Kingdom, DunD and Timbo. The song, titled ‘Holiday,’ will be released in few days and will be available on music stores for purchase.

Also in the offing, are songs he is producing with some top Ghanaian artistes and great African acts.Apart from Sarkodie’s chart-topping ‘Adonai,’ StreetBeatz also produced Keche’s ‘Diabetes,’ Edem’s ‘Zero to Hero’ and ‘Biegya’ by Criss Waddle.

Others are ‘Obiba’ by Akwaboah, Donzy’s ‘Club,’ R2Bees’ ‘Plantain Chips,’ Stonebwoy’s ‘Hero’ and ‘Bawasaaba.’

 

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Sarkodie, Edem, Tiffany others endorse Jetey’s new single ‘Fa Ma Me’

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The just recently signed artiste of Supernova records is enjoying a good amount of support from a lot of renowned Ghanaian artistes.

He dropped his single “Fa ma me” featuring Gidochi on 11th May, backed by a very colourful video which is getting a lot of attention on YouTube. Barely a week of dropping the single, he’s had the likes of Sarkodie, Edem, Tiffany, Angel Town and some industry players driving traffic to the song and the video.

Eugene Adjetey, known by the stage name “JETEY” born January 30, 1993. he’s a recording artist who coordinates with engineers to compose Afrobeats and Afropop music; he has worked with producers like AbeBeatz, Bang, BeatzDakay, Fantom, QholaBeatz and Kobystaxx.

Eugene Adjetey is a Certified Political Scientist and holds a Bachelor of Art and Science degree from Ohio University; Athens, Ohio, USA. Jetey has been doing music actively since 2016.

See Images:

 

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Mr Eazi announces 2 singles off ‘Lagos To London’ – LISTEN!

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Following the international success of ‘Pour Me Water’ Happy Boy Mr Eazi reunites with beat master E-Kelly for Overload, the latest offering from his forthcoming project ‘Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 – Lagos To London’.

E-Kelly has once again worked his production magic to create a rhythmic beat that adopts the dark Southern African drum patterns with the warm bounce of original Nigerian melodies.

Mr Eazi calls on Naija’s hottest MC’s Mr Real, the man behind the street anthem ‘Legbegbe’ and official ‘shaku shaku (dance move) master’ Slimcase to feature on vocals. This musical collective layer their bars and tag team between each other to create a catchy tune that you can’t help but press repeat on.

On the other song, the Banku music creator Mr Eazi teams up with The Landlord Giggs for London Town – an anthem for the UK’s capital!

Mr Eazi has been cementing his Uncle London status with the UK charting hits (Decline, Bad, Bad Vibe) over the last few months and now the Happy Boy is ready to give us a sneak peek of his forthcoming EP ‘Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 – Lagos To London’ with the banger ‘London Town’.

Production duo Da Beatfreakz provide a hard beat that features a heavyweight verse from Giggs and sees Mr Eazi switch his style from laidback melodies to hard flows and back to back bars.

Listen to London Town below:

https://mreazi.lnk.to/LondonTown

Listen to overload below:

https://mreazi.lnk.to/Overload

 

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WOYALE! Wiyaala’s GRRRL band drop debut single – WATCH!

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Here’s the debut single by International all-female group GRRRL. Taken from the EP, ‘Woyale’ was released via Delayed Records & Barrio Electric.

A landmark music partnership between Ghana’s Wiyaala, Speech Debelle, Nono Nkoane, Lei Di Dai, Sohini Alam AWA – African Women Arise, and Afrodeutsche, GRRRL is converged by ‘In Place of War’, a global organisation that supports artistic creativity in places of conflict as a tool for positive change.

Described as “a bespoke electronic music collaboration between independent, revolutionary women artists from around the world, coming together to tell their collective stories of life, conflict, inequality and change through music”, GRRRL fuses sounds of dark techno, ghetto bass, hip hop, dancehall, reggae, soul and electronica.

The music project is directed by Brazil’s Laima Leyton (Mixhell/Soulwax), and accompanying visuals, filmed on the cliff top at Mosman -Australia, were directed by Adam Singer.

Watch below:

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FRA! Band announce new song this Friday

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Ghanaian band FRA!, is set to drop a new single this Friday, May 25. Titled “Lover”, the record features singers Kueiqu Afro and Susan Augustt.

Themed around two people professing their affection for each other, it is one of the many tracks from the band’s highly-anticipated upcoming album.

“Lover” is produced by TheGentleman.

The band, last year, dropped the remix of the 2016 hit song “Happy Yourself” featuring revered vocalist and songwriter, Efya.

FRA! which translates as “to mix” in Twi, emerged on the music scene in 2015 with “Dumsor.”

Comprising Joshua ‘Virgen’ Boateng, Martin Adjartey, Maxwell Klu, Selorm Dornyoh and George Ashirifie ‘Gogoe’, the collective has also authored other well-received joints including “Crazy” featuring Maayaa and “Party”.

 

 

 

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LISTEN: Kelvin2Much releases new Afrobeat wave “Attention”

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Ghana-based Nigerian Afro-Beats artiste Kelvin2Much has released another hit song titled “Attention”.
This song comes after “Shury” a hit song released earlier this year which has enjoyed massive airplay across various Radio, TV & Streaming platforms across the globe.
The artiste who has been recording since 2007, has worked with legendary producer BlackFace and currently has 6 songs to his credit.
Listen to the song here
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