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Of SENA DAGADU/ RedRed @ REPUBLIC the other day

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In what they described as a farewell gig,  singer Sena Dagadu and pop group RedRed (consisting FOKN Bois rapper M3nsa and Hungary’s DJ Elo) took over the Republic Bar – Osu two or three Wednesdays ago –farewell because it would be their last performance in the country for many months as they honour a lineup of international engagements.

Wednesday nights are reserved for live band sessions at Republic, but an exception was made on that particular occasion. It was worth it!

Founded on significant freestyle offerings on a blasé night, the treasured performers, who had drawn hundreds to Alliance Francaise merely days before, led the well represented crowd through a collection of songs from their sterling catalogues, which span decades. DJ Elo steered background music from turntables and a laptop mounted on shiny steel drums, as Sena and M3nsa (taking turns in a seamless flow) dished out affective singing, or poured down our faces, torrents of powerful rap .

The crowd; a delightful cosmopolitan convocation, required little enticement –because, this was a pack not unfamiliar with whom they had turned out to see. They consisted a cult following which has been built over many years, and have cultivated an attachment with the profound artistry typical of both Sena and RedRed. Therefore, there was absolutely zero traces of cynicism in the way of the tender air which blew past our cheeks and noses. Rather, cheers accompanied curling cigarette smoke into the firmaments, beer bottles caressed  lower lips, eyes twinkled with genuine approval smiles, and applause kept coming. This kind of crowd is rare gold — the preserve/reward of those truly dedicated to essential art.

The show commenced later than the advertised 8 pm, and there were seconds of technical glitches at the beginning. That was rectified swiftly, and the show was in full force after that. M3nsa himself admitted minutes into the performance,  to how quickly “things had escalated”.

The concert itself was disarmingly frank, taking the manner of a long uninhibited conversation among friends.  There were neither MCs nor opening acts, nor other known constrictions of a “perfect”  show as extravagant lighting or ancillary stage effects. Even their attires as headline acts were uncharacteristic of many a modern performer. Without blinding jewellery, or excessively befuddling fashion impressions, Sena’s signature cheekbone dots, and the grey patch on M3nsa’s head, would serve as the “loudest” bit of their look. Profound, I know.

The Republic Bar gig came off the foot of a hugely success Connection Concert to crown the 2017 Hungarian Cultural Week celebrationHeld to highlight and strengthen the harmony between Ghana and Hungary, especially in the area of art, it saw a thrilling display of talent from both countries. Acts as Hungarian urban folk band Zuboly, Wanlov The Kubolor, Stevo the kologo player, hiplife veterans VVIP, fast-rising Worlasi, Gyedu Blay Amboley and Tumi Ansah all took to the stage on that historic Friday, March 17.

Surely, it is a profuse need to dispatch surplus energy from the Connection Concert that occationed the Republic Bar meeting. And it showed on Wednesday, March 22. Pure fire! Pure fire!

A pulsating marathon, M3nsa and Sena (who manned the microphones) traded verses, choruses, and provided rich ad-libs for each other’s songs, and of their collaborative pieces. This was all discharged with such astonishing originality that, it constantly invoked startled expressions on the faces of the beholding crowd.

The intimate make of the show is also worthy of mention. At the end of the day (artists will tell you), the “small” shows carry immense potency.

“I always like the intimate ones”, singer Worlasi told me in an interview before a March 18 Jameson Accra Connect gig at Cafe KWAE (One Airport Square). Incidentally an intimate gig too, he was joined by guitarist and Sobolo singer Six Strings, and they gave off impressive acoustic renditions of some of their best-known hits.

 “They don’t even know when the time is flying…with big shows, people can’t even ask questions, people can’t even make comments whilst you’re performing. Even if they do, you won’t hear it. And you can’t see them, so you can’t actually connect with them…”

That last part about the “connection” question, is what strikes me most about his answer. There was no doubt about the rapport available in the yard that night. Worlasi (who also graced the event) felt it heavily. So did Wanlov Da Kuborlor. So did Gyedu Blay Ambuley. So did broadcaster and fitness icon Giovanni Caleb. So did renowned contemporary painter Bright Ackwerh, and indeed everyone of us gathered there.

“There’s always something nice about connecting with someone”,  Worlasi concluded his response in that interview. I agreed with him after the Jameson show, and further, at the Sena/ RedRed gig.

Sena and RedRed come from deep and uncommon musical backgrounds, and their craft, littered with endless experimentation.  Sena has, since starting off in hiphop/drancehall collective Gimmeshot in 2001, gone on to publish several works of critical acclaim: Sena First One, Lots Of Trees, Grow Slow, Azdanê, Natural High, Take a Look, Only Solution Remix, Vol. 1, and DA 1 YAH EP 03. Months ago, she announced her latest: FEATHERS. Possessing a dynamic music palette, no one genre has successfully tamed Sena. And so, her influences have ranged from hiphop, reggae, funk, rock, among a host of others.

The third son of  Osibisa guitarist Tumi Ebo Ansah, M3nsa is an unlimited store of creativity, and so is restless –constantly seeking out new outlets for his boundless stream of ideas — as founder of hiplife group The Lifeline Family, as music producer (creating for  V.I.P, Obrafour, Tic Tac, Tinny, K.K. Fosu, Samini, etc), as solo act, and (simultaniously) as member of controversial duo FOKN Bois and pop band RedRed. He’s also a filmmaker, and sixty-two other things.

Social commentary is a core  in the music of both Sena and RedRed, and even as they thrilled fans present with toothsome melodies, and wrote realtime jokes from what was happening around, they still poked at our conscience intermittently…like when M3nsa, hearing the sound of an aeroplane in the skies far above, suggested that it was Chinese who had come to take our gold away. Ghana is at the verge of a water crisis as a result of illegal mining activities on our water bodies. Currently, production potable water has reduced to 60 percent, and all life in most of our rivers is gone, leaving behind only saddening brownness and disease. For residents in the city, the effects of galamsey (as illegal mining is called in Ghana) many not be as tangible as it is in the hinterlands. There therefore requires reminders as these, even at events as the Republic show, to awaken us to what consequences are impending as a result of our inaction.

Streets around Osu are always lively, because Osu is the hub of all nightlife in Accra. That Wednesday though, it experienced an extra pep.

 

See exclusive photos from the show:

          

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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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