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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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Music

Xtacy announces single “My Baby”… out on Sept. 25

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Xtacy, the name that is fast making the circles of music lovers set to amaze his growing fan base with yet another well-crafted piece of art.

“My Baby”, which is the title of his forthcoming single was produced and mixed by the incredible Qube. It is an Afrobeats song with a Caribbean feel in terms of production with the lyrics expounding how much he misses some special someone in his life.

The song which is due to be released on 25.09.17 is very groovy and relaxing too at the same time.

Xtacy is signed to the Accra based record label supremeRights.

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Pen & Paper: Ko-Jo Cue, Shaker announce first single off joint album – WATCH!

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BBNZ acts Ko- Jo Cue and Shaker have partnered on a new album. The pair are among dominant names in Ghanaian hiphop circles, and as expected, the project (titled “Pen & Paper”) is unapologetically dedicated to the genre.

The result of pleas by fans for them to“take it to the beginning of their music career” and “not necessarily focused on making hits or money”, the work is scheduled for release in coming weeks.

Here are visuals to the title track of the album, shot at the BBNZ offices and directed by Esianyo Kumodzi:

 

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New Video: Amaarae – ‘Lonely’

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Born in New York and raised between Atlanta and Accra, 23 year old singer, songwriter, producer and engineer, amaarae is an artist who describes herself and her sound as an eclectic blend of bold, yet sexy lyricism and longing vulnerable melodies.

The polarizing combination of uninhibited wordplay and amaarae’s small yet alluring vocals are what makes this young woman so shocking to listen to, yet one cannot help but fall prey to the fierce expression of lust, pain, and love lost in the singer’s music.

Here, the artist presents herself in the most intimate setting possible, her living room – performing her song “Lonely”.

Her upcoming project Sex, Heartbreak & The Beach will be available on all streaming platforms in late October.

Follow her on

Twitter: @amaarae

Instagram: @amaarae

Facebook:@iamamaarae

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#ITISPOSSIBLE – Eboo drops official theme song for Bola’s biography – LISTEN!

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The entire country is is gearing up for the launch of media mogul Bola Ray’s biography tomorrow, September 21.

Slated for the Labadi Beach Hotel, the ceremony is expected to be graced by key statesmen, industry colleagues, and admirers alike.  President Akufo-Addo, former presidents Rawlings and J. A Kuffour, John Dramani Mahama, Deputy UK High Commissioner to Ghana Gavin Cook, world renowned cosmetologist Dr Rita Rakus are among special guests of honour.

Ahead of the launch, prolific reggae- dancehall singer Eboo, announces the official theme song for the book. Like the book, it is titled “It is Possible”, and is a touching testimony of the celebrated broadcaster’s journey. It was produced by Legacy Beats, and is laced with uplifting statements by the EIB boss himself.

Authored by journalist Obed Boafo, the 320-pager details the media mogul’s life over four decades, as well as his journey to becoming one of the country’s foremost business persons. It was written over 2 years.

Copies of the book can be preordered via bolaray.com

 

Listen to the song below: 

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Kontihene releases video for “Di” (Esaa Na Asa)

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Royal Family Entertainment frontman, Kontihene has released a music video for his latest banger titled “Di” (Esaa Na Asa).

“Di”, a Twi word which translates as ‘spend’, positively encourages hardworking people to spend all the cash they have toiled for without considering the future.

Just like the song’s concept, Kontihene is seen blowing all his cash at an unknown slum in the music video.

Directed by Yaw Skyface, Kontihene blows all his cash on fancy things, gambling and of course, a voluptuous vixen.

“Di” was produced by Citrus Beatz and the audio was released a week ahead of the video.

Watch the video below:

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Ete Dakitse Launches “L’amour Vrai / True Love” Album

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Alliance Française d’Accra, the French cultural center in Accra will come alive on Saturday 23rd September 2017 when exceptional crooner and gifted African musician, Ete Dakitse, launches his maiden album.

Titled “L’amour Vrai” (meaning True Love), the ten track album is to cement Ete Dakitse’s place as one of the fastest rising and promising African voices on the international music stage having recently performed at a series of private events in London and Scotland.

Some of the singles on the album which have started receiving heavy rotations on radio and television are ‘British Lady’, ‘Love by Nature’, ‘L’amour Vrai’, ‘Persévère’ and ‘Jamais Sans Toi’. All the songs on the album were recorded in South Africa by Sunset Recording Studios.

Speaking about the album, an elated Ete Dakitse said “I am very excited and very thankful to God for all the good things he has done for me and how far he has brought me. One of the popular songs on the album is ‘British Lady’ as you rightly said. It is a song dedicated to the British Monarch and every properly behaved lady. Another favourite song is ‘Persévère’ (Persevere), an inspirational song urging people never to give up in life despite the circumstance or situation they might find themselves in”.

Born Ete Komlan Dakitse – Benissan in the Togolese capital, Lome, he recently performed at the Glam Africa Ball held at the Kempinski Hotel in Accra with His Excellency, President Nana Akuffo Addo and other high profiled personalities in attendance.

 Ete is widely known across the francophone African music space as Ete Dakitse. His unique and sweet soft singing voice is complimented by his ability to sing in two languages – French and English.

 

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