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A Sergeant’s revival, Irish Skirts & a ‘Falz’ Impression – 2017 Ghana Meets Naija – A REVIEW

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It’s a grim picture, what we are beholding this very moment. Laying still on a gurney in a dark theatre is a soldier. He appears to have been shot. An oxygen mask covers his nose, and on a monitor behind is the haunting sound of his ebbing heartbeat. Surrounding him are a team of doctors wrestling time, and family who observe restlessly. Surgical accoutrements sink in and out of his dying body: a stethoscope, clamps, forceps, scalpels. A well-decorated warrior, his toughness is unquestionable. But this bullet seems to be one against his will.

A spastic rhythm now emanates from the monitor. This is not good. “We’re losing him,” cries a desperate voice. “Work faster…work faster!”

Blood-stained hands pound at his chest in an attempt to keep him alive.

His breath sounds slow down steadily, and finally ceases. The frantic spikes on the screen are replaced by a single flat line. He’s gone.

One by one, comrades Joint 77, Captan, and Addi Self beckon him to return, but there’s no response.

And then, all of a sudden, the hero springs up to thunderous cheers, holding on to his one true weapon – a cordless microphone.

“Holy holy holy, man – a still holy,” he roars, backed by close to three thousand animated voices. These words from his moving 2015 anthem “Kill Em Wif Prayers” reverberate across every corner of the Accra International Conference Center. The energy Shatta Wale (who is now leaping everywhere on the stage) invokes on this momentous evening, and how he maintains it for something like an hour, is one for the gods.

***

Essentially, single-handedly, the “Taking Over” man rescued the night from Nigerian compatriots as Falz, Tiwa Savage, and turntablist DJ Obi, who clearly had taken a comfortable lead with performances on that prestigious Ghana Meets Naija stage. Even African superstar Davido, the closing act, required a bit of Shatta’s oomph; he cleverly negotiated his entrée, singing his verse of Shatta’s “Whine Your Waist”. It is no wonder that he (Shatta Wale) was crowned king on the night.

Born Charles Nii Armah Mensah, Shatta Wale’s heroic performance last Saturday is why he has been on the stage for five years on the trot, and further testament to why he has stayed at the very pinnacle of Ghanaian music for as many years (or more) as he has headlined Ghana Meets Naija, VGMA or not.  An unparalleled charisma, no-nonsense lifestyle, tested street credibility, and consistently zealous work culture culminating into frequent hit releases, have ensured that his acclaim has spread far and wide. “We dey drop hit songs each and every year,” he sings in “Don’t Try”. There’s hardly any dispute there. From “Dancehall King” to “Shatta City”, “Chop Kiss” to “Mahama Paper”, “Kakai” to “Take Over”, this man has influenced the playlist at our fetes more than any of his contemporaries. That is beyond amazing. On the night, Shatta Wale also performed well-liked songs from an inexhaustible catalogue as  “Low Tempo” (featuring wife Shatta Michy) “Enter the Net”, “Cocoa Season”, “If I Collect”, “Say Fi”, “Obodorbidi”, “Hosanna”, “Ayoo” among others.

RELATED: Sports cars, Jollof, fur coats & Mama Boss Papa – The 7th Ghana Meets Naija – A PREVIEW

This is the 7th year for the regularly overbooked show. It has also proved to be the biggest. Ghana Meets Naija has, since inception, excellently served as a platform to celebrate music from the two West African countries. It is put together by showbiz guru Bola Ray’s Empire, and is widely deemed the most influential concert on the sub-region. And why not? Acts which have graced the stage over the years have remained strictly A-list: Mr Eazi, Eugy, R2Bees, Wizkid, Naeto C, The MAVINS (led by Don Jazzy), Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, KCee, M.I, Samini, Kwaw Kese, Guru, 4×4, Timaya and a host of others.

Lil Win

Though the night belonged to Shatta, a number of other performances deserve mention – like Kwadwo Nkansah Lilwin (celebrated Kumawood comic and musician), whose performance, too, was met with eruptive cheers. His record, “Mama Boss Papa” is, after all, among the most spun tunes on radio right now. When he promised in an interview to give off his best performance yet, it wasn’t just smooth talk. Opting for a chequered Irish skirt in his 3-piece suit, it was clear he was there for more than merely a good impression. “Mama Boss Papa” made lunatics of all present, especially when intermittently, he would lift his skirt to expose red leggings, or fellow comic actor Akrobeto charging unto the stage in a surprise appearance. Lil Win’s set was thoroughly entertaining, and will linger on the smiling cheeks of patrons for years.

MAVIN diva Tiwa Savage also made a mark with her act. Equipped with a classic pizzazz, sultry voice, and a set of steamy dancers in flowery island costume, she poured forth an infectious vim which equaled (perhaps surpassed) most of her male counterparts on the night.

It is important to leave while the applause is loudest, and analysts say that she may have performed a song too many. Still, it hardly takes from the top-notch performance of the RED singer, who recently inked a management deal with Jay Z’s ROC Nation. A unique entrée, vivacious choreography, impressive song choices, and overall energy level did the magic for the mother of one.

Tiwa Savage

“Soft Work” rapper Falz, too, who clearly understood the dynamics of gigs thus: this is the battlefield, this is a war. And so, fire dancers cleared the stage for him, and his name was announced by the dominant baritone of an imposing hype man. It was the perfect way to set the stage for the BET and AMVCA laureate. And what better song to kick things off than spraying from his artillery, the mighty “Clap”. Featuring colleague Reminisce, it is among the brightest points of his sophomore studio album “Stories that Touch”, which ranks among top African works of 2015 for the critical impact of records as “Karishika”, “Celebrity Girlfriend”, “Soldier”, and “Ello Bae”. Falz is set to release his third album later this year. It will be big, judging by recent releases as “Weidone Sah”, and “Baby Boy”, which we anticipate to end up on the album.

Rule 2 of a stage as big as Ghana Meets Naija is to invoke dance. Falz is a party technician, so he dispatched this instruction too expertly, even topping it with his rib-cracking specialised English “azzent”.

This “Bahd” performance ended with his collaboration with Davido and Olamide. The crafty title, which acknowledges the aliases of all three featured acts on the song, also comes in handy in summarising his time on stage: “Bahd, Baddo, Baddest”.

Falz

Ghana’s M.anifest, who came right after Falz, managed a perfect balance between a performance to be listened to, and one to be danced to. Described as a classic presentation which confounded critics and delighted purists,” it saw the “god MC” commendably shuffled between live instrumentation and the skillful fingers of DJ Keyzuz.

On stage for about half an hour, the left-of-center performance made him a top trend on social media. As is characteristic of him lately, the night was not all about him, for he was joined by the talented Worlasi for “100%”, and up-and-coming rap act Kwesi Arthur, who made a bold statement with his “Prekese” freestyle over American singer Future’s “Mask Off”.

M.anifest

M.anifest is among a handful of artists who have achieved commercial success not by conforming to popular trends and methods, but strictly on his own terms. It is what he reiterates in his latest single, released soon after Ghana Meets Naija 2017, and featuring singer Big Ben – “make you leave me make I do my own”, the song demands in Pidgin.

Tema-based B4bonah, Article Wan, Kuami Eugene, Ko-jo Cue, King Promise, Tee Phlow, DJ Switch, and the gothic Eno, all rendered impressive accounts of themselves as supporting acts. DJs on the night, led by Starr FM’s Nii Ayi Tagoe also kept energies at a constant high with rich and timely selections across a wide spectrum of genres.

Ko-jo Cue

Tee Phlow

DJ Switch

Davido’s set was straightforward, yet very potent. At this point in his career, the mere sight of him causes uproar. He mounted the the stage with a glowing playlist he has racked up since first mounting the Ghana Meets Naija stage in 2012. On this particular night though, it was all about one song: “If”. Now, don’t be mistaken, the crowd bellowed along to every song he performed – “Dami Duro”, “Skelewu”, “Aye”, “The Money” etc. But “If”, is what it all came down to. For when DJ Obi cued it in, it was nothing short of chaotic. Word for word, patrons thundered out the lyrics to this brilliant highlife number, which is turning out to be the biggest of his career. A million covers have flooded the internet, including from global R&B icon R. Kelly.  Accompanying visuals to the record have been over 17 million times on YouTube alone. Davido called his Ghana Meets Naija 2017 appearance “emotional” in a tweet afterwards. If you were there in the auditorium on May 27, or have seen any of the numerous videos of his performance via social media, there’s no question about it.

Davido

The Accra International Conference Centre was graced, not just by regular folk, but by some of the most important stakeholders in Ghanaian entertainment, sports and business: Renowned broadcasters KKD and KOD, Yasmin Behzadi (international fashion icon and co-creator of Sark Collection), MUSIGA president Bice Osei Kuffour (Obour), EIB boss Bola Ray, The Ayew brothers Dede and Jordan, Confidence Haugen, Footballer Daniel Opare, Kwabena Duffuor II (MD, uniBank) etc.

This year (like the ones before), the concert did live up to the hype, and as usual, received widespread praise for how professionally it was put up.  This year also represents a major milestone in the Ghana Meets Naija franchise as plans are far advanced to stage a UK version come August 25 at the famous O2 Arena. A Dubai leg is also reportedly in the works.

*Ghana Meets Naija 2017 is powered by Empire Ghana and proudly sponsored by uniBank’s Smile and Mastercard products, Alomo Gold-Natural Herbs and Fruits, Paba Cosmetics, Tang Palace Hotel, Nasco Mobile, Kasi Express, 7Fold, Emerge Ghana and Maaha Beach Resort and ENEWSGH.COM.

More images:

Photo Credit: Kwabena Awuku, Frozzen Second, Vine Imagery, Twinsdntbeg.

 

 

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Final steering committee meeting of “French Solidarity Project” held

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On Tuesday 12th December, 2017, a final steering committee meeting was held on the French Solidarity Project geared towards “Strengthening the accountability of Ghana’s central and local government” at the Residence of France.

In attendance were the French ambassador, the Director of research, statistics and information management representing the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), both of whom co-chaired the committee, the Rector and Deputy rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Executive Chairman of the State Enterprises Commission, as well as other partner agencies such as the Centre for Democratic Development, FD Associates and the Touton company.

 

Support for public sector reform and the decentralization process

Funded with a budget of €800 000 over a period of 3 years, this project sought to facilitate public sector reform and support the decentralization process. It aimed more particularly at reinforcing accountability through a number of actions: performance contracts, training, open forum and dialogue, ensuring  progress of communication and consultation programs implemented by the ministries, improving the capacity of local government, development of coordinating systems, etc. Another objective of the project was to improve citizen participation by consolidating mechanisms of accountability or transparency. This involved the sensitization of the civil society in order to foster a better appreciation of issues relating to statutory reforms and available tools for keeping policy makers accountable.

The first component of the project was principally based on training, which “represents a crucial element in the strengthening of the public service that, in collaboration with the private sector, will nurture a more vibrant, inclusive and sustainable economic development” Ambassador François Pujolas stated. In this vein, more than 200 civil servants have been trained in various sessions facilitated by visiting French experts from the Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA) and Expertise France, whereas 10 civil servants underwent training organised by ENA in Paris. An equal number of women and men have been given this opportunity in each training session.

The ambassador was “pleased with the outcomes of the project, the objectives of which have been attained to a large extent” and emphasized that this project has been “the fruit of an enduring cooperation between France and Ghana, especially in the area of decentralization and the public sector because, since 2006, the French government has disbursed 3.2 million euros to finance three projects within the sector”.

 

Empowering women to participate actively in the public sphere

Furthermore, as a means of promoting citizen participation – especially that of women and youth, a call for projects focusing on the reinforcement of links between civil society and local authorities was launched. Over 10 000 people benefitted from various actions carried out under the initiative. Also, 11 forums bringing together civil society and parliamentarians were organised to encourage interaction between the population and their representatives, in the Western region which served as the pilot site of the project.

The consolidation of the place of women in public discourse and in local governance, as well as the increase in representation of women at the district assembly level were major areas of concern. Sensitization campaigns were embarked upon, resulting in the training and networking of over a hundred women opinion leaders and policy makers.

Finally, the project has enabled the realisation of “green” micro-projects aimed at combatting deforestation, promoting solar energy and fighting global warming.  The co-chairperson of the committee, Madam Dorothy Onny, reiterated the ambassador’s comments by calling on the Ministry of local government and rural development and its partners to explore possible fields of cooperation and future projects to undertake with France in the domain of public sector reform.

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All set for Worlasi’s “Outerlane Concert” tomorrow!

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Worlasi was born and raised in Ghana, and he hails from Agbozume in Volta region. He is a figure painting artist and also a musician. He is a beast of a rapper, producer, singer and songwriter. His songs have been praised for being refreshing and inspiring and his lyrics, unrestrained and African.

Worlasi is an intriguing contrast: hyper confident yet humble, hungry for knowledge and simultaneously overflowing with it. His breakthrough single, Ay3 Adz3 set him apart from his peers. He caps off such focused and realistic lyricism with his mixtape project, Nus3, released in September 2016. Nus3 is a super jumbo bundle of motivation, assertiveness and self- belief. This was his first major project and it already has people calling him a god.

He released a second major project which has also nothing short of breathtaking and shot compelling visuals for two of his singles- One Life and Nukata. Since then he has worked and bagged features with artistes like EL, M.anifest, Hammer of Da Last Two, Sena Dagadu and shared songs with the likes of Sarkodie and Kwaw kese. He has shared stage with some of Ghana’s finest musical acts on platforms such as ACCRA [dot] ALT’s Sabolai Radio, rock group, Dark Suburb’s Awakening concert, Beatphreaks, The Unheard Voices etc.

 Worlasi wraps up this year’s success by performing songs from his upcoming EP (Outerlane) on Saturday, 16th December 2017 at 7pm at the Amphitheatre of Alliance Francaise Accra. The concert would be with the Safoa Band and Fans would be thrilled to a live performance of songs from the Outerlane EP. Also performing would be Alee & Dede, artistes who are signed to Worlasi’s record label.

Other featured artistes for this concert include Manifest, EL, Teephlow, Boyd, Extacy & Kwame X. Save the date and come with your friends and family to enjoy extraordinary mixture of Afro, Rap and Soul music!

 

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‘KOK StopOver Tour’ back this December

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After a successful beginning at Awoshie in the month of September 2017, Koo Ntakra and his friends return on December 16th for another mega street block of the ‘KOK StopOver Tour’.

With over three thousand in attendance at the first stop, the second promises to be sizzling hot inside Bubuashie, BN Pub, Bishop School on Saturday 16th December.

Koo Ntakra who recently released his 2nd studio album ‘KOK’, is to be joined on stage on the night with an array of his colleagues including dancehall diva Renner, Tee Rhyme, Amerado, Phrame, Addi Govnor, Bassaw and a host of other arts, as well as surprises from some of the artists featured on his KOK Album.

The ‘KOK StopOver Tour’ is a Gulfcoast Entertainment & Dekins Entertainment event, powered by Coloured Frutz, with support from ignite Creatives, BankyNation and all our media partner.

The event is a free concept which looks to bring the artists closer to their fans in a more interactive way, as well promote other up and coming talents across board.

 

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Obrafour, STONEBWOY, Pappy Kojo, Medikal, VVIP, others join Kinaata for ‘Made in Taadi Concert’, Dec 23

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Over 20 Artistes are billed to perform at Kofi Kinaata’s 23rd December ‘Made in Taadi Concert.’

The much anticipated concert which will be hosted at Jubilee Grounds in Takoradi will witness 20 known artistes across Ghana thrill the attendees to good music. At a press launch in Takoradi on December 7, Kinaata told the media that he gets calls from his colleague artistes daily who show interest in the concert.

“I get calls daily from my colleague artistes. Some are even ready to pay for their own bills to Takoradi. If people who are outside Takoradi are this eager about the concert, I can only imagine what my Taadi people are waiting for” Kinaata told the media at the Best Western Atlantic Hotel yesterday.

The Public and Media Relations Officer of the concert, Nana Kwesi Coomson mentioned that Obrafour, Stonebwoy, Medikal, VVIP, Kwaw Kese, Pappy Kojo, Donzy, Nero X, Ayesem, Sayvee, Afedzi Perry, Aya, Ayma, Ras Ebo, Snow B and almost every Sekondi-Takoradi Artiste will perform at the concert.

He also reiterates the concert as a “strategy to project the Artistes from Sekondi-Takoradi.”

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Christiana Addo Memorial Foundation to Fete Beneficiaries

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The Christiana Addo Memorial Foundation (CAMF) established in memory of the mother of the MUSIGA President Bice Osei Kuffour aka Obour is to fete youngsters in the Juaso area as part of its activities for the Christmas holidays.

According to Obour, CAMF will undertake a series of clean up exercises in Juaso and Obogu on December 24 and 25 and climax with the Christmas party for the youngsters. In addition to providing the youngsters with entertainment and refreshing them, they will also receive sanitary products from the Foundation to promote their personal hygiene. Some of the items to be presented include personal hygiene products like toothbrushes, toothpastes, deodorants and soap. Meanwhile the Foundation has begun processing application forms from applicants for support for their education.

Speaking at the launch of the Foundation, the Chairman of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) and National Youth Organizer, Sammy Awuku applauded Obour and his siblings on such a bold initiative to both honor the memory of their late mother while contributing to the socio-economic development of the community. He assured the Foundation of the support of the agency in their operations.

The Asante Akyem South MP Lawyer Asante Boateng on his part commended Obour and his siblings on the establishment of the Foundation and assured them of his support to realize their aspirations.

The Christiana Addo Memorial Foundation will provide scholarships to successful applicants to pursue courses at various levels of their education. CAMF will support brilliant students who are financially handicapped especially the girl child from the deprived rural communities of Juaso and adjoining communities through the provision of scholarships at the tertiary level. The Foundation is also to promote sanitation and personal hygiene as critical pillars to health, survival, and development in the Asante Akyem area.

According to Obour, the decision to establish the foundation is due to his mum’s selflessness and strong, unshakable conviction in education as a lifeline to poverty eradication. He says, knowing the value of education, his mother endured enormous sacrifices to educate him and his siblings. He added that the foundation is also to celebrate the unwavering and strong leadership qualities of Christiana Addo as a role model for all women especially single mothers.

The Christiana Addo Memorial Foundation was set up with the vision to become an organization that impacts lives and helps transform and bring sustainable development to the Asante Akyem Area especially the South, Central and North Districts of the Asante Akyem rural area.

 

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Richard Addisson Foundation Marks Ten Years Of Successive Growth [+images]

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The RICHARD ADDISSON FOUNDATION (TRAF) a non-governmental youth philanthropy is marking 10 years of giving assistance to the less privileged in Ghanaian communities.

TRAF was founded by Richard Addison, the CEO of Kent Investment, a multi-layered firm that currently holds investments in the fields of Agriculture (Kent Farms), haulage services (ARE Haulage Services), an IT/information system and management company (K.SIS) and recently acquired major stake in a Digital Graphics and Advertising company  (Beyound Graphics).

The foundation which was set up to put smiles on the faces of the very poor, needy and under privileged across the country is marking the decade of doing good with the launch of an after school programme in collaboration with Matic Foundation run by Award winning Hiplife act Trigmatic.

The After Work Programme which will be cordinated by Trigmatic, Teachers in the chosen communities benefiting from the programme and leaders of TRAF will focus on Maths and Science, Sex Education and First Aid.

“When charity began at home, me, you and every young adult did not sit down for Bill Gates to dole out money for the eradication of Malaria on our, we gave up a bottle of beer for one treated mosquito net everyday”- Richard Addison

“TRAF started ten years ago by distributing thousands of mosquito nets on annual basis to help eradicate malaria which is a predominant illness killing these poor and needy who sleep around the central business district of Sekondi Takoradi, and also to all the major hospital in the metropolis.”

The Richard Addison Foundation (TRAF), now focuses on projects ranging from farming, provision of water and renovation of schools for deprived communities.

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