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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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Shatta Wale’s “Wizkid – superstar” comment not a crime – Da’ Hammer

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Veteran Ghanaian producer Da’ Hammer of  The Last Two has submitted his take on dancehall singer Shatta Wale’s recent comments on Nigerian act Wizkid.

In a recent radio interview on Accra-based Kasapa FM, the Kakai man had said that he would never be starstruck by Wizkid as he too holds his own:

“I will not see Wizkid and be stunned, I rather want him to see me and be amazed because I don’t see anything extraordinary about him, even though he claims to the best African artiste”,  Shatta Wale had said in the radio interview, in which he also stressed that he does exactly consider Wizkid a super star.

The comment obviously didn’t go down well with a cross section of Nigerian music lovers, brewing an online feud between the two West African countries on the matter.

 

Read Da’ Hammer’s take, posted on Facebook below:

So I just made time to peruse this controversy thoroughly from its inception and realized the starbwoy Wale said nothing in disrespect to the starbwoy wizzy to begin with. Whoever broke the story first is the one blame here.

My take on this is perspective.

Shatta said “Me I no dey see wizkid superstar oo”. Story quoted him as saying “wizkid is not a super star”. Now why wld u wanna do tht…

 

50cent probably doesn’t necessarily see lil Wayne as a super star cos he probably believes he’s his equal but from where I sit, I do think Wayne is a super star from my perspective. I guarantee u many of Nigerian celebrities don’t even see our Sark as a super star.

This isn’t even about supporting ur own. It’s just a classic case of not being star struck by someone’s art or hustle, and that’s no crime.

There u have it.. superstardom is not absolute.. it’s relative.

There’s no problem here.. stop inciting a rivalry between us and Nigerians. I respect the Shatta movement and their hustle. Salute #SM4lyf

 

Born Edward Nana Poku Osei, Da Hammer is CEO of The Last Two Music Group, which is responsible for nurturing the music careers of such significant Ghanaian rappers as Obrafour, Kwaw Kesse, Edem, and Sarkodie. Young witty Rapper, Teephlow is the latest signing to the label.

Pae Mu Ka (1999), his debut offering as producer,  is widely regarded as the best hiplife project from Ghana till date,indeed, the one project which accurately defines the sound of hiplife.

 

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ADOMAA performs at 2017 Stanbic Ghana Jazz Festival [+images]

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Ghanaian Afro-Jazz Singer, Adomaa performed at  the just-ended Stanbic Ghana Jazz Festival 2017, receiving a standing ovation and unending applause on the night.

Adomaa opened proceedings for the well attended event doing a medley of songs from R2Bees, Stonebwoy and Castro.

A sudden excitement fell over the auditorium as she sang her heart out on the stage with heads nodding and fingers strumming to good melody.

Adomaa was phenomenal on the night alongside the other acts billed on the night acts led by AKA BLAY and the Abiza Band, steve Bedi, the Ayisah Dey duo, Liicks and Riffs, Paa Kow, Adomaa and Stephanie Benson.

The three-day Stanbic Ghana Jazz Festival was under the theme “Sax & strings cruise’, and featured other artistes such as Gerald Albright, Yomi Sower, PFC, Jazz Accra Quintet,  Blue Rhythms, Jasper Band, Francis osei, Paa Kow and Ayisa-Dey.

Check out the amazing pictures of what happened at the 2017 Jazz Festival:

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ONE AFRICA MUSIC FEST!Sarkodie pulls out of DUBAI gig citing disrespect by organisers

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Celebrated Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie (Michael Owusu Addo) pulled out of a November 16 performance in Dubai due to reported incidents of disrespect on his team.

The “Highest” was scheduled to perform alongside other African giants at the just-ended Dubai leg of the widely-patronised One Africa Music Festival, but refused to mount the stage despite a successful soundcheck session earlier.

Journalist Eugene Osafo Nkansah reports that the rapper was shoved aside because Davido was ready to perform, never mind that he had just been announced by host Banky W to perform:

“During the concert, host of the show Banky W announced Sarkodie as the next act on stage after Nigeria’s Teckno performance and Sarkodie’s DJ, DJ Mensah mounted the stage but Banky W came back to announce Davido’s name after someone whipped to him on stage that Davido was next.

 

The show started at about 9:30 pm and ended at about 2:45 am and all the artistes numbering about 20 from different African countries(Kenya, Angola, South Africa, Ethiopia, Tanzanian, Nigeria etc) performed with the exception of Ghana’s Sarkodie.”

George Britton also reports of scuffles and arrests as a result of the unfortunate incident:

“When Sark was just about hitting the stage, Davido’s guy attacked Black Nana by pushing him to the floor to allow Davido perform. Ugly scenes. Slaps, blows, police arrest etc”, he posted on Facebook earlier this morning.

The rapper, his official turntablist DJ Mensah, and Dancehall singer Shatta Wale have all tweeted reactions regarding the incident.

Sarkodie was Ghana’s only rep at the concert, which also saw performances from 2face Idibia, Wizkid, Davido, Tecko, Diamond, Victoria Kimani, Cassper Nyovest, Tiwa Savage, Flavour, Emma Nyra among others.

One Africa Music Fest is described by organisers as ‘ Africa’s leading platform in showcasing the best and brightest musical talents in the continent, with the sole aim of solidifying Africa’s position within the entertainment industry on a global level”.

 

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Mr Eazi releases “Pour Me Water” (Produced by E-Kelly)

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Mr Eazi finds the time, between being appointed Apple Music’s Up Next artist and touring the world, to quell the fire stemming from an expanding fan base with his new single “Pour Me Water”

The track signals another of his kick-down-doors moments to further cement the Banku chief.

The song was produced by E-Kelly the producer of his global hit Leg over.

Listen to the song below:

 

 

 

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FRA! out with remix of “Happy Yourself” ft. EFYA!

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Music band ‘FRA’ has dropped the remix of its 2016 hit song “Happy Yourself”.
The song which was produced by Reynolds ‘The Gentleman’ features Ghana’s female soul vocalist and songwriter, Efya.
The “Happy Yourself” jam will simply lift your mood and raise your spirits, with its danceable rhythm.
‘FRA,’ in Twi, means ‘to mix’ and the group adopted the name to show the strength of the diversity that they are so proud of.
The band released their first single, “Dumsor”, in 2015, and subsequently created the mighty hit “Happy Yourself” in 2016. This year, on April 12, the band dropped its third single “Party” which was to encourage people to be happy despite their ups-and-downs. They later followed it up with the beautiful love song, “Crazy” featuring Maayaa.
Now made up of Martin Adjartey, Maxwell Klu, Selorm Dornyoh, Joshua ‘Virgen’ Boateng, and George Ashirifie ‘Gogoe’, the eclectic band’s recent single “Crazy” was the band’s last song with the record label, Vision Inspired Music. FRA have won the hearts of many as they to compose music across a wide spectrum of genres: jazz, afro jazz, highlife, afrobeat, gospel, RnB, rock, and afro-pop.
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VIDEO: Boa Me – Fuse ODG ft. Ed Sheeran & Mugeez

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Here is the video of  “Boa Me”, British Ghanaian act Fuse ODG’s latest single featuring Ed Sheeran and Mugeez of R2Bees.

The song was produced by in-house programmer KillBeatz. It follows other recent submissions as Diary (ft. Tiwa Savage), Window Seat, and No Daylight.

The video was directed by award-winning director Gio Gyimah of Phamous Films. The video was shot in locations in Accra Sandbox beach and Akosombo

Fuse (born Nana Richard Abiona) gained global recognition with his 2013 hits “Antenna” and “Azonto”, the TINA frontman has constantly sought to correct various stereotypes about Ghana, and by extension, Africa. His debut album TINA ( This Is New Africa) was released in November 2014 and peaked at number 25 on the UK Albums Chart. He has also been associated with such global music icons including Wyclef Jean, Elephant Man, Sarkodie, Sean Paul, Shatta Wale, Ed Sheeran,and Major Lazer.

Watch the video below:

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