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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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Sarkodie named for ONE AFRICA MUSIC FEST – DUBAI, November 16!

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Celebrated Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie (Michael Owusu Addo) will be joined by other music giants from across the continent for the Dubai edition of the widely patronised concert, which comes off at the Madinat Jumeriah Al Sufuoh Rd. on November 16!

The concert has been successfully held in the United States and the UK, witnessing sterling performances from Wizkid, Davido, Tekno, Jidenna, P-Square, Tiwa Savage, Olamide, Cassper Nyovest, Alikiba, Flavour N’abania, Phyno, M.I, Efya, 9ice, Awilo Longomba, Falz, Victoria Kimani, 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”.

Wizkid, Tiwa Savage, ,and beloved Kenyan band Sauti Sol have all been confirmed for the Dubai concert.

A multiple-award-winning act, Sarkodie is CEO of his independent imprint  SarkCess Music, which is also home to singer Akwaboah, and fellow rap act Strongman. His fifth album “Highest”, is out now!

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GADAM NATION CONCERT slated for Bukom Boxing Arena, Nov 26!

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Popular Tamale-based singer Fancy Gadam takes his annual “Gadam Nation Concert” to the Bukom Boxing Arena this November.

Put together by Sultan INC and 5M Music, the concert is one of the key dates of his ongoing tour of major cities across the country, which has been massively patronised, and seen performances from popular colleagues as Sarkodie, B4bonah, Ebony among others.

Last year, the Accra leg of the tour was held at the National Theatre, drawing thousands to the venue.

Born Ahmed Mujahid Bello, Fancy is recipient of a BASS Award for Discovery of the Year, 2017  VGMA Best New Act, as well as a 2016 JIGWE award for Best New Artist, and has been associated with the likes of Medikal, Wiyaala, Shatta Wale, Sarkodie among others.

Fancy is author of several hit songs including Total Cheat, off his 2017 album “Mujahid’.

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MOBO Awards 2017: Sarkodie, Juls, Mr. Eazi, Eugy up for BEST AFRICAN ACT!

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Ghanaian rapper, Sarkodie has bagged a nomination at the 2017 Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards. The ‘Glory‘ act was nominated in the ‘Best African Act‘ category.

Davido, Eugy, DJ Juls, Maleek Berry, Mr. Eazi, Tekno, Tiwa Savage, Wande Coal and Wizkid are the other contenders in the category.

The awards ceremony will be held at the First Direct Arena, Leeds on Wednesday, November 29, 2017.

 

The MOBO Awards stands for “Music of Black Origin” and was established in 1996 by Kanya King and Andy Ruffell. The MOBO Award show is held annually in the United Kingdom to recognise artists of any ethnicity or nationality performing black music. In 2009, the awards ceremony was held for the first time in Glasgow.

Prior to that, it had been held in London. In 2011, the ceremony returned for a second time to Scotland. The awards then moved to Leeds for the first time in 2015.

The Music Of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards were established in 1996 to recognise and celebrate artists who create Black or urban music. The MOBOs may be the most prestigious but were not the first Black music awards show in the country. In Britain, the Black Music Awards (BMA) show ran from 1992 to 1996 in various venues in London.

The first MOBO award was presented to UK trio Baby D, in the Best Dance Act category.

The MOBO Awards are seen as a UK equivalent to the BET Awards and Soul Train Awards for being the main award show in Britain to focus on Urban music.

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Bola Ray mentors 30 YOUNG BUSINESS LEADERS, October 19!

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Media mogul Bola Ray ( Nathan Kwabena Anokye Adisi) will hold a mentoring session with young Ghanaian business leaders on Thursday, October 19.

A renowned entrepreneur and corporate icon, Bola Ray looks to renew the passions of “tomorrow’s business leaders”, taking them through his own experiences, and his road to success.

Recently publishing his best-selling memoire “It is Possible”, Bola Ray is CEO of the EIB Network and the Empire Group, and has been a key media player for 2 decades now.

Bola Ray joined radio while still in university, Bola Ray has grown to become an authority not just in radio broadcasting, but in the entertainment industry as a whole. He joined Accra-based Top Radio after university and went on to The Multimedia Group, where he served a variety of roles, mainly hosting Drivetime on Joy for 11 years. For the past two years, he has been host of Starr Chat and co-host of Starr Drive.

Dubbed “An Evening With Bola Ray – Accra Edition”, the event is put together by Empire Protocol, with support from uniBank, StarLite, RLG World, Allianz Insurance, Dominion Oil, MenzGold, and Special Ice.

Copies of Bola Ray’s book can be secured via bolaray.com

 

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Stonebwoy, LIL WIN perform @ GOtv MAX Kumasi launch!

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Over the weekend in Kumasi, GOtv Ghana hosted a massive concert to introduce its new package GOtv MAX to the public. The event held at the Kumasi City Mall, attracted thousands of concert goers who defied the heavy downpour to enjoy the music and fireworks display.

The event was nearly marred by the rain storm that started immediately the first set of performers hit the stage. Fans were forced to take shelter within the mall for well over three hours until the storm passed through and the equipment were checked and given the green light for the concert to resume at 10pm.

General Manager, GOtv Ghana, Kingsley Afful performing the launch reaffirmed the commitment of GOtv to bring its subscribers the best local and international TV shows first, hence the introduction of the GOtv MAX package. He explained that “Quality entertainment has always been a key focus on GOtv platform and we are excited to continue building our entertainment options for our customers by bringing them this new package”.

“We understand that times are tough but that doesn’t mean that our customers have to miss out on world-class entertainment. Sports just got bigger and better with the GOtv MAX package which will bring the best football titles in the world, La Liga, along with more entertainment choice for the whole family like CBS Reality, Sony Max and FOX.”

GOtv MAX customers will enjoy access to over fifty channels of the hottest local and international channels featuring everything from the freshest series, music and sport to the latest in fashion reality, celebrity and kiddies programming.  “From 1st October, all active GOtv Plus subscribers have been automatically upgraded onto the GOtv Max package at no cost to them to sample this new package for one full month”, Mr. Afful added.  He also announced a reduction on the price of GOtv decoders to GHs79 and the subscription price cuts on the GOtv Plus package to GHs35.

Fans were entertained by Stonebwoy and the BossNations’ CEO, the pride of Kumasi, Lil Win and crew. Several fans were rewarded with GOtv decoders as part of the launch activities by the artistes. The event was culminated in a huge firework display deep into the night to the delight of the thousands present at the event.

 

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SAMSUNG, Ecobank Launch GALAXY NOTE 8 in Ghana!

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Electronics giant Samsung has partnered with Ecobank to deliver the much-anticipated Galaxy Note 8 device to smartphone lovers in Ghana.

The two companies jointly introduced the Galaxy Note 8 unto the Ghanaian market with an easy payment plan that can enable Ghanaians to purchase the device.

Described as the next level Note, the Galaxy Note 8 targets consumers who want to do bigger things with smartphones. With Galaxy Note 8, consumers get a bigger Infinity Display that fits comfortably in one hand, the S Pen to communicate in more personal ways and Samsung’s best-ever smartphone camera to capture stunning photos.

Speaking at the launch, Eugene Nahm, Managing Director of Samsung Ghana, the technology manufacturer continues to uphold its commitment to lead the industry in battery safety. The Galaxy Note 8 battery has undergone the 8-Point Battery Safety Check process hence making it the safest smartphone in the world.

Mr Dan Sackey, Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana stated that the partnership with Samsung will give more access to their clients, it will also enable them spend less time in banking halls in order to have enough time to do the things they love.

According to the bank, one can pay GHc14 a day over a 12-month period for the device.

Renowned Ghanaian artist Bright Ackwerh did a live display of the S Pen and gave a testimony of how the device makes it easier for him to sketch his artworks.

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