In performing, an artist honours one part of an unspoken covenant. The other bit of the undertaking rests with the audience before whom he presents. Few congregations exhibit this like Decemba 2 Rememba patrons, who are devoted participators of Citi FM’s annual Christmas eve tradition.
Distinguished by its white top and jeans dress code, which allowed for anything from ankle-length wardrobe options to those exposing a bit of fluff, the event has proven itself not only a visual majesty, but also continually created boogie easement. Observing the crowd, numbering about five thousand, and smattered with top dignitaries including the Minister of Tourism and the Mayor of Accra, one could appreciate the art of partying more as a mission than merely a social interaction. The assemblage, unified by party diligence and imbued with the youth that hiplife invokes, sailed the emanating tempos excitedly.
Within the last decade, which is around the same period Decemba 2 Rememba has run, a prevailing opinion has been that a concert bereft of the Stonebwoys and Sarkodies is a show bereft of premium pleasures. While there’s some logical validity to the above, it hardly applies to the station’s end-of-year concert which, for the last edition, went with a roster consisting KiDi, Kuami Eugene, Dope Nation, Adina, Camidoh, Okyeame Kwame, Praye, and Kofi Kinaata.
And so, way before singer Krymi mounted the stage at a quarter-past nine as the first performer on the advertised roster, during musical interludes superintended by DJ Mingle, and JayJay, the turntable goddess (who was undoubted energy conductor and MVP for her masterful old school hiplife selections), till the morning of Christmas day when the show ended, the audience was in full effect.
Anointed as the next great vocalist, Krymi, kicked off his set with, “Toffee,” followed by “DWE,” a new single on which he invites the great Sarkodie, and then “Dede.” A convincing showcase, it proved once and for all, that the Kaywa production is suited for the large crowd as effectively as it is for intimate listening.
Camidoh (expected to be the show stealer), when he took his turn, pranced about the stage, and within the audience like he had something to prove, and yet, his nerves got the better of him. His acclaim has arrived as a result of a marvelous vocal instrument. Instead of varnishing the gathering in a serenade, he opted for the role of a hype man. It didn’t fly.
That he chose to come out to “For My Lover,” his biggest hit was mistake number 2. Is it not primary in the performance rule book to exit at the height of the applause, after all, instead of arriving to it?
Again, a setting bonded by a resounding desire for boogie and little else is hardly the place to advertise new music, but Camidoh did: he followed “Yawa” with the obscure “Mama.” To redeem himself he returned to the record to which he had mounted the stage, finishing off a passable set.
A galvanising performer, Adina sits comfortably within the top tier of chanteuses in this town. On the night, she was the sole female headliner, and emerged as easily the best of the first batch of performers. Offerings like “Makoma,” “On My Way,” “Killing Me Softly,” and “Sika” ensured a resonant vibration that was instantly recorded both in excited veins and the Snapchat mobile app.
As it was the Year of Return, hitmakers that began this decade returned too: Castro, R2bees, 5Five, Zigi et al dominating the DJ interludes and attracting loud cheers.
When he took to the stage, Tulenkey summoned a rapturous time too, falling largely on Sarkodie-esque tongue-twisting and singular cleverness with his social commentary, his ultimate selling points these days. He dished out new material, but Proud Fvck Boys remains his most potent jam a year later.
Comedian OB Amponsah was announced by the sound of “Fa Me Ko.” Seeing that it had constituted trolling fodder on Twitter, the song proved a great entree, and set the tone for a rib-cracking set. Opting for practical, music-related witticism, the funny man sustained mirth all through. If a Mahama joke would make him the centre of controversy a day later, it didn’t show on the night, for audiences carried on laughing even after his exit, reliving the jokes to those in their immediate company.
(The night’s other humour merchant was the comic actor trading by the stage name Mmebusem, who has attained celebrity status for his hilarious, anachronistic portrayal of Jesus Christ. Due to the sensitive nature of his act has courted him as much criticism as plaudits. At Decemba 2 Rememba 2019, where he made a surprise appearance, he was a darling).
Fameye possesses the narrative of 2019, one advanced by his widely popular plaintive appeal, “Notin I Get.” His set was characterised by severe passion. This was Decemba 2Rememba; there was a lot at stake. It is not for nothing that the show has habitually sold out. There’s a science to it; a meticulousness in planning that is sadly an exception– not the rule–in curating music festivals in this town.
Kelvyn Boy exuded a similar fervour to Fameye’s. Unlike his predecessor on the night, though, he channelled a more victorious energy. His spirit has been informed by the 2019 he recorded (or endured); a tumultuous series of months which he’s ridden in a way that is impressive to watch. Perhaps he foresaw this. His debut collection is titled “Time” after all. Tonight, he conjured charged atmosphere by himself, lest there was remaining doubt about his potential.
To many, the Lynx boys were the men of the hour, starting with Zanku kins, DopeNation who, backed by DJ Vyrusky, invoked bouncy legwork with such radio its as “Eish,” “Confam,’ and the Olamide-assisted “Naami.” They also brought out S3fa for a rendition of their lust-filled dance anthem, “Shuga.”
KiDi has never had a bad day since he became first-rate. His performance was a flavoursome medley and melding of a live band a DJ set. He was the first to utilise the live band set. Wearing a mature elegance, he checked every box on the performance index: a slick wardrobe choice, ageless songs, and stage charisma.
He was followed by Kuami Eugene, who took the more populist route, falling on “Obiaato,” “Never Carry Last,” “Aku Shika,” the ubiquitous “Confusion” among others. Hearing one’s song being sung back at him by a crowd this great must do something to the performer. And yet, he must also know when he’s overstayed his welcome. That moment came when he segued into his gospel music medley.
At this stage in his career, Okyeame Kwame operates in the realm of a distinguished few. He was the most seasoned named on the roster, and he delivered with class. An overflowing playlist that balances old classics with the new, a fast tempo with a slower one will do that. A continual run as among the nation’s most elite performance rank; habitually dispensing heart-rending love songs right next to perfect romance tales and spell-binding party records help you accomplish that. And so, is it at all surprising that sometime during his performance (which saw him invite Obour and YaaYaa as complements to his performance), the voluptuous lady who joined him for a dance onstage also fled with a piece of his garment, much like the biblical story of Joseph and Potipher’s wife?
Kofi Kinaata, at least at the time he climbed the stage, was the single most sought after musicians, particularly for “Things Fall Apart,” his clinical appraisal of our attitudes vis-a-vis our fanatic religious persuasions. Produced by 2 Bars, the song, steeped in the same deft highlife grooves and intelligent storytelling that have made him the leader of the current Fante Confederacy, perhaps this generation’s most trusted songwriter, and a keen contender for VGMA 2020 Artist of the Year, is how he closed out a thoroughly enjoyable set. The other songs that attended his time on stage (including “Susuka,” “The Whole Show,” “Adam and Eve,” “Confessions” and “Sweetie Pie”) are equally great demonstrations of a dazzling career that posterity will look upon favourably.
Praye, who brought the curtains down, remained in the province of nostalgia; their best bet, to the minds of many. Their catalogue, lined with essential staples as “Angelina,” “Jacket,” “Shody,” and “Kakyere Me” meant that their job was pretty much cut out for them. Big J touted their longevity in the game, stressing how hard it is maintaining number one status. The first claim is indisputable, the second isn’t.
Once again, Decemba 2 Rememba was a screaming success, but that is hardly a surprise to anyone at this point. The show’s reputation as a party headquarters; the “official Christmas party” has been deepened remarkably. The verdict, therefore, is this: for the foreseeable future, at least, the Citi FM people will continue to attract your Bronya money. They’ve mastered the formula.