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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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LISTEN: Keeny Ice ft Spicer – Elevate (Prod by Two Bars)

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Musician Keeny Ice is here again with another mind-blowing song,”Elevate” produced by Two Bars.

The song released under the management of Mo’shes Musik features Spicer, whose wonderful performance on the song is something worth talking about.

“Elevate,” tells Keeny Ice’s gradual success story; the hustle, disappointment, temptation and his flourishing career as a musician against all odds.

Signed by a Nigerian record label last year, the Rapper has been working passionately to impact his following and music lovers beyond borders.

Listen to the song below:

 

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BTS IMAGES: Black Avenue Musik’s S3fa readies new single ‘Marry me’ feat Jupiter

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Fast-rising Singer S3fa is getting ready to release her first official single ‘Marry me’ after her highly accepted Mashup.

The visuals accompanying the song, which features Dancehall act Jupiter was shot recently at locations in Kokrobitey in Accra.

The song was produced by in-house producer DJ Breezy and executive produced by Black Avenue Musik.

 

S3fa has been tipped by many as the next big thing because of her vocal ability after the likes of Becca, Efya and others.

See Photos and video below:

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MUSIGA’s “Top 20 Songs of 2017” merely an opinion – Joe Mettle

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Gospel singer Joe Mettle, has described MUSIGA’s recently-released  “Top 20 Songs of 2017” as merely   an opinion.

Compiled by Qisimah Insights, the list, which does not include a single gospel song, comprises solely, the most-played Ghanaian songs on radio. It includes offerings from such acts as Ebony, Shatta Wale, Kuame Eugene, KiDi, Patapaa, Stonebwoy among others.

The reigning VGMA Artist of the Year, during a recent interview with Accra-based Happy FM, challenged the Union’s list, wondering “how the research was done”. Indicating that many radio programmes commence with Gospel songs, he flatly challenged the veracity of the list.

He also stated that even “without research, one can tell gospel songs are played constantly on air”.

“ Until we are shown the bases of the research, the top 20 most played songs is just their opinion and that cannot be challenged,” he further said.

Born Joseph Oscar Mettle, the minister is author of several widespread hymns/medleys, including “Owawani”, which won him VGMA Artist of the Year last year, as well as “Bo Noo Ni”, featuring protege Luigi Maclean. Active since 2011, he has been associated with Danny Nettey, Nii Okai, KODA, Joe Beecham, Daughters of Glorious Jesus, Eugene Zuta, Yaw Sarpong among others.

 

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VIDEO: : Ephraim – I want to be rich feat. Opanka

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Quallo’s Production label frontman, Ephraim has finally released his highly anticipated first single of 2018, titled “I Want To Be Rich”.

The song, which features rapper Opanka, talks about the difficulties broke people go through before making it big in life.

“I Want To Be Rich” is accompanied by a clear-concept music video shot and directed by Bra Shizzle of Shi Studios Production.

The video was shot in locations around Jamestown environs in Accra.

The slow-tempo Afrobeats jam was produced by WillisBeatz.

Watch the video below:

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LISTEN: Jason El-A releases classic song ‘Things’ featuring Kwesi Arthur

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Jason El-A, host of the influential entertainment show on Tv “Rythmz on Ghone Tv” and campus show on Live FM “YWNF” who is also an artist drops new single with Kwesi Arthur and He calls this new Hit Single “Things”

Things is a song that basically talks about what people do for Love.The song’s video is expected to be released in February.

Jason El-A promises that this year, Ghana and the rest of the world are going to hear a lot of his work Musically”. Nana Dope “Right hand” Man of Jason El-A confirms that the musician has a lot of songs that When released, Africa will understand that He is in to Create Something Iconic with his Music because Music has always been El-A’s first love.

He also confirmed that Jason El-A has songs with Darko Vibes, Kurl Songs, Kofi Kinata, Medikal and others yet to be released with their Videos.

Listen to the song below:

 

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Patapaa drops long-awaited video for “One Corner” – WATCH!

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Swedru native, Patapaa Amisty, whose  breakout single “One Corner” proved to be the biggest song in Ghana last year, and hugely influential across the sub-region, has finally published visuals to the song.

Featuring viral footage from various celebrities and regular folk alike, partaking in the cultural phenomenon through dance, crouching, or climbing up structures, the video was directed by APOGA Studios and AFRIKABA.

Produced by Morgan Beat, “One Corner” exploded into national prominence along with its accompanying dance after Patapaa first performed it at the Akwambo Festival in the Central Region sometime in 2017.

Watch below:

 

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