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M.anifest on ‘Why a rapper…not an economist’

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Thoughts on being original and not living an imitation

Nasreddin is a well-known folk character in the Middle East and Central Asia. One of my favorite Nasreddin stories is the one in which four boys (t)asked him to share a bagful of walnuts amongst them.

As the story goes when Nasreddin was approached by the boy she asked whether they wanted him to share the bagful of walnuts  “God’s way” or “mortal’s way.”  They opted for God’s way and he proceeded to share the walnuts unequally amongst them: one boy got two handfuls, the second got a single handful, the third got a mere two walnuts and the fourth received none at all.

The Author

The Author

The boys responded in indignation and disbelief which prompted Nasreddinto explain:”Well, this is God’s way. He gives some people a lot, some people a little and nothing to others. If you had asked for mortal’s way I would have given the same amount to everybody.”

I’m tempted to tell this story anytime (and this happens often) I’m asked by Ghanaian journalists: “of all the things you could have been why a rapper?” We’ve all been blessed with many different gifts, unequally. Yours might be walnuts, hers might be velvet tamarind (yoryee), and his might be aluguintugui.

That said I pity the man with lots of guava but hell bent on only making mango juice because he’s been taught to value it more than all other juices. What makes being a musician/rapper such an incredulous choice to be made with someone who could have possibly been something else?

During one of my post-midnight in Accra soliloquies – I struck gold. I understood it all better finally.

There seems to be a prevailing myth in Ghana that anyone capable of excellence should only vie to be part of a select few professions. This is a terrifying fallacy. What we need is people of excellence in all parts of our ecosystem. Creatives, educators, entrepreneurs, carpenters, waakye sellers, drivers, etc.

To find your calling in life and to commit to it relentlessly will always triumph over being average in a line of work you chose solely for social status or under social expectations.

Born original, why live an imitation.

The prospect of an uncertain future is terrifying to most of us. So far I don’t know anyone yet who can eavesdrop on the future. All we can do is make choices. Will we choose to believe that since our childhood friend Kwasi started a successful photography business we will try to mimichim or will we be inspired enough to find our strengths and use them to our advantage?

The boy who didn’t get any walnuts should have probably just thanked Nasreddin. He might have been allergic to nuts anyway.

By: M.anifest

Note: This was first published by enewsgh.com on April 8, 2014. We have reproduced it as a note from our archives.

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GUEST BLOG: Telenovelas And Excess Brainwashing Of The Ghanaian Woman

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The issue of the high patronage of telenovelas and other soap operas in Ghana has been going on for a while now. From the days of Acapulco bay, passions, to the top most trending Mexican telenovelas like Esmeralda, Juana la virgin, Rosalinda, Maria de los Angeles, cuando sias mia, el cuerpo de deseo, what life took from me etc. It could be argued that, a lot of time and attention have been generously invested into these soap operas.

Women are mostly renowned for their constant interest in almost anything that fully expresses love coupled with a dose of intense passion; and Ghanaian women are no exception! Our market women (who have now become movie directors and producers in their own right), would sit for hours on end to literally debate and sometimes even argue over some specific scenes which in a way didn’t turn out the way they expected.

However, it is an undeniable fact that the kind of “’dramatic romantic love” depicted in our favorite Mexican telenovelas has greatly affected the psychological thought pattern of Ghanaian women by pushing us to raise the bar of our expectations and also redefining the meaning of true happiness in our marriages and relationships.

Let me just use myself as an example. I was (and probably still is) addicted to series from the Mexican Telemundo, Televisa or whatever the name of the production house is. I never made it a point to miss any of those series but whenever I was hindered by circumstances beyond my control, I trusted UTV, TV3, Metro TV or whichever channel in question to grace me with a cool repetition on a Sunday afternoon. These movies successfully shaped up my thought pattern and gave me a definition of what LOVE should be and feel like. Anytime I saw Fernando Jose fight for the love of Rosalinda in the open or whenever I watched Octavio and Marie Cruz go for a swim in the lake as he gently kissed and caressed her body under the sun, placed those lilies in her hair and tried every single day to make her see how he dearly loved her beyond doubt; I always imagined it being done to me instead.

I can boldly say today, that many of my failed relationships were as a result to paying so much attention to these soap operas. I expected so much from my partners in terms of passion and in our day-to-day activities and whenever they couldn’t make that up to me, I would then conclude with my then popular phrase, “He doesn’t love me enough.”  there were times I would deliberately walk out in an argument and expect my partner to run after me and hug me from behind and whisper in my ears and say “I love you baby, I will never let you go” just like what Mauricio de la vega would tell Juana la virgen… dreamy right?

What we fail to realize as Ghanaian or African women is that, those exhibitions portrayed as love in those series is not the actual deal in reality! There is no running and kissing in the rain with lilies or roses in our hair, there is no swimming naked in the lake forever! In real life, there are arguments, 60% understating and even care, there is stress, there is something called a job which consumes almost your entire life, there is something called space, heart breaks and there are tears… real salty bitter tears which are mostly shed on pillows at night!

The addiction to these telenovelas can literally cause depression. Since they are mostly designed to suit the minds of women, you’d notice that every single scene shows you what you think you might be missing in your real love life; you’re given a new concept of what happiness should be and how your life must go so once you’re denied your new expectation of love, over thinking sets in, then depression comes to stay.

It’s okay to enjoy these series once in a while without getting too involved and attached. We as women should cease to place ourselves in positions where we would be easily swayed and brainwashed to the extent of wrecking our very own marriages and relationships.

It’s okay to love and to desire for happiness in relationships but do not let it be defined by another man’s creation or concept you see on your television. It’s about time we understood that real love in real life is undefined!

BY: Nana Yaa Asabea// email: nayascolumn@gmail.com// instagram: @naya_233// twitter: @naya__233

 

 

 

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MENZGOLD GHANA LIMITED: Why You Should Own Gold!

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There are many options to consider when contemplating an investment opportunity – there are shares, bonds, and tons of other opportunities provided by an always active market.

And then there’s gold.

The mineral of choice for royalty throughout history, gold has many uses besides its utility as an investment tool.

However, this article is to talk about why gold stands out as an avenue for investment.

Many other forms of investment are more common than buying up gold, but gold possesses some unique advantages over stocks, bonds and good old cash in hand. Most especially because in times of trouble, people find solace in the long guaranteed security of gold holdings.

Below are ten reasons why you should go out and get yourself some gold reserves right about now…

 

History

Quite simply, gold has historically held its value, even in times of great financial volatility. So whether it’s as a short or long term investment, you’re guaranteed value for your money.

Holds against inflation

Inflation tends to reduce the value of investments but not that of gold, which historically tends to increase in value as cost of living rises. For the investor, it’s an excellent hedge against when things get hot in the economy.

Deflation

On the other hand, when an economy suffers from deflation, Gold prices actually soar. So either way, your investment is secured.

Rarity

Gold is quite rare on the planet, even though it doesn’t look like it. Because it’s a naturally occurring element which has to be mined and not a human creation like currency and other means of trading, gold is quite rare in relatively.

A substance that rare has immense value as market forces indicate. When demand is high and supply is low, prices soar.

Strengthens as Dollar Weakens

Historically, the dollar has been the world’s foremost trade currency, due in large part to the U.S’ status as the world’s most powerful nation – but it has never been the strongest performing currency. And gold prices inevitably soar as the performance of the dollar falls as people try to put their currency in other forms in such times.

Soars in times of Political Uncertainty

We live in a time of geopolitical uncertainty all over the world, and despite what one might think, gold prices actually go high in such times. The one guarantee that makes gold survive almost all crises is that people trust in its certainty during uncertain times and flock to it, raising its price.

Soars in times of Financial Uncertainty

Just like in times of political uncertainty, gold prices rise in times of financial uncertainty, and the reason for that is largely the same. Gold has always held value to man and is one of the oldest forms of currency we have. When people panic over a financial meltdown, they run to what they know would always have value – gold.

Provides Secure Back-Up To Other Investments

The biggest mistake any investor can make is pouring their money into stocks and bonds and neglect the safe guarantee of gold. As we’ve seen over and over, factors that make other forms of investment go down makes gold go high.

Options

Gold is the jewellery of choice for royalty all over the world and thus has immense value in relation to other items. And owning gold always means you have the option to sell it not just on the financial market, but on your own to a lined up buyer, or to use it for your own purpose. And as we’ve established the value of gold is usually pretty high due to its rarity.

Conclusion

As investments go, you can scarcely do better than good old gold. Everyone knows it has value and it has maintained that value for millennia. It survives all times of crisis, be it economic or political, and it rises even when other forms of investments fall. Gold is secure, gold is familiar and gold is valuable – and people always prove that by flocking to gold when they think they’re in trouble. That alone shows why gold would always be an incredible route for investment.

By Menzgold Ghana Limited, a fully owned Ghanaian company that undertakes dealership in Gold, Diamonds and other precious stones and metals.

Menzgold Ghana is committed to putting smiles on the faces of its loyal customers and the general public and build a formidable business partnership that will be mutually beneficial.

 

 

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Call for Nominations !! Arts and Tourism Writers Association of Ghana (ATWAG) Executive Committee Elections

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After many years of putting their house together, giant personalities in Ghana’s arts, culture, tourism, and showbiz writing circles have formed a well-knit association known as the Arts and Tourism Writers Association of Ghana (ATWAG).

The association, which is duly registered embraces the culture, entertainment and tourism writers, publishers, culture and arts advocates.

Currently, it has a membership of 60 drawn from notable media houses including the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), Graphic Communications Group Limited, Excellence In Broadcasting (EIB), the Despite Group of Companies, Global Media Alliance, the Multimedia Group of Companies and Media General. The association also has many reputable freelance writers and bloggers.

After the registration of the association and completion of other necessary paperwork, the Electoral Committee of ATWAG hereby calls for the nomination of registered members of the association to vie for the following positions:

  1. President
  2. Vice-President
  3. Secretary
  4. Treasurer
  5. Organiser
  6. Research Officer
  7. Public Relations Officer

Members interested in contesting for any of the offices listed above should express their interest in writing addressed to the Chairman, ATWAG Electoral Committee through email – artswritersgh@gmail.com by providing the following details:

  •   Full name of Candidate
  •   Position of Interest
  •   Organisation
  •   Position/ Designation
  •   Telephone Number (s)
  •   Email

The nomination should reach the Chairperson not later than 13TH November 2017. Thank you.

Signed:

Arnold Asamoah-Baidoo

(Chairperson, ATWAG Electoral Committee)

+233244887301

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Blakk Rasta’s “KUCHOKO REVOLUTION” – A Review!

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One author captured it well for us when he stated that “the main aim of our culture is to produce factory workers who think like the herd, behave like the crowd and smother the fire for outright greatness that is the natural birthright of every one of us.” Thus the world struggles to understand those who invent and innovate; those who refuse to stay in line, those who can’t accept the societal pull to fit in and be comfortable with the humdrum of mediocrity. They are labeled as weird. Many describe them as misfits. A lot more tag them as strange. And it ranges through all spheres of life, not forgetting music.

Music is powerful. It is the language for the soul. Life will be unimaginable without permeating music to the soul, without soothing serenades, without an uplifting, enlightening and powerful genre as Reggae. And as an African, music will always not strike a chord within if it does not have the African appeal.

African music is distinct and unique in the sense that we have a cornucopia of instruments, dances, styles and cultural build-ups to spice it up. Most often than not we have musicians from Africa who always cut songs that seek to imitate foreign music styles and culture. We release music without any African appeal.

We sing songs that bring nothing new to the international table because it is a seeming carbon copy of what the originators of that genre are doing. We end up standing in line rather than standing out with our uniquely rich culture. It is more fervid in the Reggae genre. This is what Blakk Rasta seeks to challenge and change.

He believes simply that you cannot surprise or amuse the European or American with cake and ale. You must surprise him with some Hausa Koko, Akple and Fetri Detsi or kuli-kuli. This, he believes, is the number one factor that will give African music and musicians a foothold in the changing fortunes of time. Thus his latest album, KUCHOKO REVOLUTION.

Kuchoko Revolution is an album that further gives fillip to the artist’s belief that we must bring our African culture to be in whatever music form we choose thereby standing uniquely out. We must give it the peppery and smoked fish nuance Africa is noted for.

The album features African instruments like the Kolgo, xylophone, talking drums (dondo), jimbe, Africa Foot percussion, jinbe, cow horns etc. It is sung in five different languages vis a vis English, Dagbani, Hausa, Arabic, Ndebele and Jamaican Patois. It is an album that is revolutionizing the Reggae front. And much more significantly, it was released by VP Records, the largest and most successful Reggae Record Label in the world. I know you are impatient to delve into the music by now.

The album is a 13-tracker all recorded, produced and engineered in Ghana, Africa.

Laa Sharik’Allah: This is Arabic and it means, God is unique. It is sung in Arabic and English. It is a perfect introduction to the potpourri of diverse musical themes on the album. It calls on everyone to come together and Harambee (live harmoniously) no matter how religio-diverse we are just like “birds of a special feather”. Using the Islamic-Arabic statement that there is no other than the Almighty Supreme Being, the track underscores the profound fact that though the name of the Creator may differ in the various religions, it is the same God we pray to. Blakk Rasta sings thus;

Muslims pray to Allahu Akbar.

Harikrishna, Hari Hariya

Christians pray to Jesus the Christ

Gautama Buddha for the Buddhist

Jah Jah Rasta for the Rastaman

I & I, we neva bust no gun….

 

The song is a mid-tempo one and recorded all live. The live drumming and percussion did it for me right from the start. An Adowa bridge with beautiful traditional flutes nailed the song.

In this period of religious intolerance and terrorist attacks, Laa Sharik’Allah is a perfect ode against this canker. I rate it 8 out of 10.

Gaafara: Our bearded elders say that,” A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.” That is how invaluable our mothers are. It behooves therefore on any child who believes he has not lived up to the billing in upholding the promises he made to his mum to render an unqualified apology for his inadequacies towards her. This song sees Blakk Rasta do that in Dagbani.   Sang in a sorrowful and melancholic mood, he begs Mum and Dad to forgive him and that, he has failed her in not becoming what she wanted him to become. But, the solace is in him becoming what God proudly wanted him to be. And the word for Sorry in Dagbani (A language spoken in Northern Ghana) is Gaafara. The song has some crazy modulations and bridges that work perfectly.

I rate it 9 out of 10.

Mbagi Bagi: This is another song sung in Dagbani. It means, I am a peaceful person who values his peace and will not compromise it by getting swallowed up in your nonchalant behavior. The song borrows some melody lines from Abubakari Kaba’s Nawo Yare released in the early nineties. I feel some Alpha Blondy Bori Samory shots in there neatly woven to make this song a masterpiece.

I rate it 7 out of 10.

Serwaa Akoto: Blakk Rasta’s stock-in-trade is love. He knows how to arrange words to permeate the soul of the lady he’s addressing. And he did it this time by resurrecting and giving his own rendition to that powerful love song written almost four decades ago by P.K. Yamoah. The personality of an individual is shaped and harnessed by his experiences in life. The constant play of the song by a young Blakk Rasta’s father at home several years ago, rang a bell to remake the song into Kuchoko style Reggae. That coupled with the purity of the lyrics compelled him to re-cut that song to suit our contemporary taste and fashion.      In the song, a young man, Yaw Bayere Ba infatuated by a pretty Serwaa’s love pens down a letter to her with highly-captivating and compelling lyrics. He sings;

Serwaa Akoto my African beauty

You are so real, deep and witty

You are the heart wey a beat within me

Your love so bright, the blind even see

Make me take you make we go see me family

You are the one me a go call wifey

You are the nectar, I am the bee

Me a go find you pon the tall tree

If love was a thing truly blind, the blind would a see even better

If love was a thing like gold mine, me a go dig even deeper

 

This was the first single released from the Kuchoko Revolution album and it still remains the most popular joint. The Kwao and Amponsah guitars in this song could only come from the fingers of a music legend like Zapp Mallet, Blakk Rasta’s longtime trusted-producer.

I rate this joint 8.5 out of 10.

Flower in the shower: “It just started raining, man and the water run down the drain. Me a take a flower straight up to my woman in a di shower. Love you empress everytime,” Blakk Rasta opens the song with an unusual title.

Love is the most powerful force on earth. Love is profoundly represented in literature by a flower. And that is what Blakk Rasta decides to take to his lover who is having a shower. A lovely tune that sets one in a mood for love. One just has to gratify and glorify the great and creative mind of the artiste. The thought of a flower in the shower is mind-blowing, nerve-racking and mood-setting.  Features a very good singer, Afriyie of Wutah fame who brings more seduction into the song. The song still adds up to Blakk Rasta’s insignia as a great love singer. The saxophones in this song did it for me. When you listen to this song, anytime it rains, you will remember it with passion.

I rate it 8 out of 10.

My African Queen: Love is sweet. It tastes better than the most expensive wine. And one will just have to gulp it and allow him or herself to get gently intoxicated. That is the theme carried in this powerful tune which features Joseph Mensah aka JM who nails the song perfectly for me. A lady’s love has overtaken him entirely and he likens her brightness to that of a diamond ring. He labels her an ‘African queen.’ He goes further to say she flows like an African spring that flows seductively like the River Nile. A powerful tune in the sense that the listener will join Blakk Rata and his lover to take a swim in the Nile. This was produced by Kaywa and recorded live. The live drums here make a strong statement. The lyrics are captivating. No wonder it is the favorite of many a lover. The horns in this song are so African and remind me of Nayanka Bell’s version of Ernesto Djeje’s Zibote.

I rate it 9.5 out of 10.

Kuchoko: Blakk Rasta describes himself as “the Beast of Reggae music” in this song. This song tends to uplift the attenuated spirit in Africa. It underscores the fact that we were once upon a time a great people with a glorious heritage. “We were more than a marching army of elephants.” And we had Jah Music to goad us on. We had Kuchoko, the greatest of all rhythms. The song features Kwame Bediako, a Ghanaian Reggae act based in the US.

“Arise the great African family. Arise and join this movement, stronger than the harmattan, thunder and lightning. Arise and listen to the spiritual forces of Imhotep, Tutankhamen and Tinkamenen Marching like the crazy but focused battalions in the Kuchoko army.”

Kwame Nkrumah stated that “men with great foresight and knowledge all agree that the future of the world will be determined in Africa.” Kuchoko is the ambrosia to get us there.

This is not my favorite on the album. Something seems missing for me so I rate it 6 out of 10.

Natural African Music: This tune reiterates the fact that the trouble with Africa is simply that of leadership, nothing more, nothing less. Kuchoko-ing Bob Marley’s Natural Mystic, Blakk Rasta tackles the issues he has been hard on on his radio programmes. The song features US-based Ghanaian artiste, Jay Ghartey. That it’s about time our leaders rose to the responsibility and put Africa on the map where it belongs. It’s about time they dropped all the political jokes that have bedeviled African political leadership and make Africa great once more.

A Letter to Shabalala: Blakk Rasta may be many things but he is not one who runs away from issues worth talking about. The xenophobic attacks in South Africa hit the world like a thunderbolt. It left us so morose and sad. That Africa could go thus far was distasteful to the ear and, unpleasant to the eye. This should have received the barrage of criticisms from all literati, musicians and political actors all alike. Blakk Rasta condemns that barbarism in a poetic style and fashion. He takes us into history letting us know why South Africa of all countries should be grateful to all of Africa. He terms it Letter to Shabalala and, when he recites a poem, he leaves no room for criticism. This poem is accompanied by a wonderful video shot in South Africa.

I rate it 10 out of 10.

Kalaa Dam: Next time you find yourself in the Northern part of Ghana, ask for many things that make that part a glorious place. And never forget to ask of the powerful drink called Kalaa Dam which is the Orphan’s Drink.

The song is a powerful bend of Soca and Reggae in a unique style. It will surely rock your dancing feet to dust. It is a crazy piece introduced with a Bob Marley guitar phrase.

I rate this 8 out of 10.

Soca Lady: Blakk Rasta’s sojourn in the Caribbean has been eventful and memorable. Meeting great presidents and great musicians like Eddy Grant, Skinny Fabulous, Machel Montana, Mighty Sparrow, Bunji Garlin etc has truly impacted on him. To cup it up, he carried with him a bag of their Soca music, an improvement on their traditional Calypso and added a touch of Kuchoko rhythm to it to form this ‘delicious’ tune. The track features the great Dudu Mahenga, an Afro-Jazz artiste from Zimbabwe who added to the groove.

Calypso fans will rate this above 10 out of 10.

Maluna: Part of the bag of stuff he picked up from the Caribbean is an imaginary beautiful lady called Maluna. He welcomes her to Africa placing before her feet great African staple foods like Fufu, Tuo-Zaafi, Banku and wonderful dances like Adowa, Abgadza, Damba etc. He poured into this song his hearty experiences all the way from Guyana to Jamaica to Africa. Maluna is a Soca classic.

Dolay: Dolay means ‘a must’ in Hausa. It lives to its bidding as a must dance to Soca joint. It is a unique blend, crazy and dreadful. It comes with a funny video.

It is not my favorite but who cares?

 

A great album. Every living soul must imbibe the content. Lest I forget, Kuchoko is Blakk Rasta’s coinage for Africanized Reggae music traditionally blended with African instruments, vibes, dances and rhythms. It is creative, original, energetic and refreshing.

It is of less wonder that the KUCHOKO REVOLUTION album is being considered for honors at the 60th Grammy Awards. When this album grabs the award, it would have been the first ever for Reggae for Africa.

All the best…!

 

Inusah Mohammed

Okoromaazi@gmail.com

NB: The Writer is a Youth-Activist and a Student of Knowledge.

 

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TALES FROM THE BITTER ROOM: He’s Fathered 2 Kids With The Maid… What Do I Do?

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Roland and I have been married for ten years without a child. I’ve already had six (6) miscarriages and three (3) still births but my husband unlike the regular typical Ghanaian man stood by my side through it all.

In our sixth year of marriage, I employed the services of a house maid through the assistance of an agency to help run the domestic affairs of our visibly big house in our absence. Matilda (the maid) did a really great job to the astonishment of Roland and myself hence, the insane decision to permanently keep her! I trusted this lady with my life, my money and even my husband but she never gave me any reason to ever doubt her authenticity.

Tilly as I fondly addressed her hails from Odumase Krobo in the eastern region of Ghana. With her visibly wide hips and perfect set of white teeth, it would be impossible for any man of this era to walk past her without taking a second glance and little did I know that my very own husband had fallen prey to this beauty of a predator.

Roland was a serial entrepreneur whose normal closing time was 5:30pm but due to some reasons unknown to me, he started coming home at 2pm; on the other hand, I was a banker who never got home till after 7pm each day. The bond between the two got visibly tighter and I had no cause to worry because Tilly was my very own trusted employee, at least that’s what I thought till I realized what had been going on for four years behind my back.

My house help started showing signs of possible pregnancy in the seventh (7th) year of our marriage which prompted me to question her on the fatherhood of the unborn child. She responded, “Kofi Boateng (the security man next door) is the father. Madam, please I didn’t know how to tell you and boss about the affair.”  I immediately informed my husband about it who asked that I sent her away immediately; with some cash, and a fully furnished single room self contained apartment at North Kaneshie, we sent Tilly away one weekend to her new abode which was fully paid for by Roland.

Two months after the birth of the twin baby girls, I noticed a sharp resemblance between them and my darling husband but kept it to myself. Fast forward, my husband, after facing intense pressure from Tilly’s family (unknown to me) to marry their child, confessed to being the father of the twin girls…What a blow! He further explained how it all happened and asked for forgiveness and in addition agree to him bringing Tilly into our home as the second wife.

What do I do?

From Anonymous Facebook user

By: Nana Yaa Asabea// send your views to nayascolumn@gmail.com // instagram: @naya_233// facebook: Nana Yaa Asabea

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Black & White Keys, Trumpets and Angels on Earth for a Harmonious Chorale at 10

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by Patrick FYNN

Deep bass rumbling voices and sopranos bounced over the auditorium roofs like a bunny frolicking through a field. Like trumpets announce an impending doom, these brass instruments too injectedsome edginess into us. But for the pianos’ tranquility.

The last time sounds of this decibel were heard somewhere around the world, walls went crushing down. So, when reverberations began striking each square meter of the auditorium and high pitched voices rose up above our heads, we sat up. We are not sure if the walls of the Dome were stronger than Jericho’s. But we’re sure this isn’t the impact of a multitude; it’s  just a group numbering a little over 60 – nothing dramatic, nothing scary. Assuredly, this sound is angelic, this orchestra won’t break a brick. It’s harmonious and rather soothing. This is heaven!

 

It’s the “Nyame Ye” concert, 10th anniversary celebration of Harmonious Chorale – Ghana, happening at the Accra International Conference Centre. A talent exhibition of classicals and symphonies has already charged up an already spirit-filled atmosphere. Each song is performed with finesse and the realm owes its air of sensation largely to the harmonies.

 

Music giant, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Queen of the Night” and “Hallelujah” were reproduced to near perfection. “Funniculi Funicular” was both addictive and amusing. And for most part of this session, the lyrics were incomprehensible; sounding Italian or Spanish or a cocktail of both. All these are served in stellar theatrical fashions. Four keyboardists did the job of an instrumental ensemble and improvised for the woodwinds, brass, percussions, violins, viola and cellos. Indeed, theatre came alive!

No matter how many people would want to be part of this event, the Dome couldn’t take much. It looked like a gathering of a selected few. The 1,600 people here looked like the biblical metaphorical 144,000 for heaven. Basically, we are here to patronize an angelic host praising the Lord on the day He rests.

10 years of existence as a somewhat front lining heavyweight, they are now telling a story that goes far into the hearts of the Ghanaian  underworld of chorale music. So when James Varrick Armaah took his place as conductor and commander-in-chief of this force, he executes his role with the demeanor of a true disciple, like the Biblical “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Behind him a loyal crop of audience which has lit his torch with flames for a decade and counting. Facing him is a family that has been endearing to him. The only thing standing between him and them is a rack holding sheet music. From here, a tall repertoire of songs stares at him.

This is the choir that had started off as a quartet, and still remains a living organism, chalking major milestones and is now a precious mine of gifts on the continent. Indeed, the day you stop growing is that day you start dying.

The stage is lit. It was observable the night will be a remarkable one. But the mind cannot hold all the memories. So cameras of varying pixels levitate to capture the moments and voice recorders go down to pick each wave of sound. Social media enthusiasts are at their usual bests.

 

For hours, the choir treated us to the best classical, contemporaries and hymnals from around the world; climaxing it with purely indigenous Ghanaian compositions. They are the songs we have been humming to on a regular day –in the bathroom, on the sick bed, at workplaces. You are sure to come by the most familiar words: Yesu, Calvary, Adom, Nhyira, Aseda, Hallelujah. But a certain novelty accompanied the renditions. The creatives that married the voices brought soul to the art. It was a a sight to behold, as the group switched from one glamourous anniversary regalia to the other. The costumes gave them off as a ready army in battle.

“How vain is a man, who boasts in fight. The valour of his gigantic might!”

 

Mention must be made of Nigeria’s celebrated concert tenor singer, Precious Adokiye, whose act exposed him as a well-oiled machine in the business.

 

Assuming a typical elite South African accent, a boisterous Michael Dingaan also pulls off a show in what appeared like conducting the choir to widespread appeal. He would break the ice with an inspiration or a comic relief at one point or the other.

 

We got tired applauding. But they haven’t been tired after 10 years an unbroken praise to God and country. Therefore, on they went to raise the bar on Josh Groban’s “You Raised Me Up”:

When I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary;

When troubles come and my heart burdened be;

Then I am still and wait here in the silence,

Until you come and sit awhile with me

 

Occasionally, James would fly a hand to throw an invitation to the audience. With or without it, we would frequently hijack the singing and chorus it with so much rudeness. We did it off-key, cluelessly; with pride. Then the choir would take over and finish them to a riveting, thunderous applause

Newlove Annan’s “Your Grace and Mercy” brought tears to many pair of eyes, goosebumps to the flesh and a reminder to the mind that life was meaningless but for the doing of the Lord. So everyone snapped off their ego, social statuses and sang along in solemnity, in spirit, in harmony. That was the only time James looked back at the audience, motioning us to keep the unison and chorus. Oh James!

“Drommɔ sɔɳɳ, Drommɔ sɔɳɳ,

Drommɔ sɔɳɳ, kε mɔbɔ nalε,

Your Grace and Mercy has brought me thus far!

Adom ne ahumɔbrɔ, Nε de m’a be du ha nnε

Your Grace and Mercy has brought me thus far”

 

And then the voices burst out into another one that sent cold chills down our spines: “Meye Dede” (I Shall Make Noise). It was one of the many others authored by James himself. Nevertheless, this ministration is  been about him or the choir. Nothing has been about them, in a long stretch.. But no matter how much they tried to exemplify this, they failed. We couldn’t take our senses off them.

 

“Our focus has been on ministering to God, and God thorough the ministry to Him; ministering to human beings’, patroness and Executive Chairman of the group, Rev. Dr. Joyce Aryee had maintained.

In the end, Harmonious Chorale is let down by their own incredible talents.  We have become so spoilt by their brilliance that greatness is no longer enough.  We expect exceptionalism. The maiden African World Choir Olympics in South Africa which is expected to host them in 2018 will be an opportunity to deliver phenomenal flawlessness to the world like a courier.

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