AFRO-CLASSICAL HIP HOP ON THE RISE IN ACCRA

I make music. Afro-classical hip hop and I’m willing to be here for a long time.”

These were words Apollo, also known by the government name Vincent Edgal; a creative director at aYoungin Sound Recording company and a Real Fvture Recording artist passionately said when I asked, “what do you do?”

“Afro-classical hip hop is the sound that I’ve been working on for a while. I just mastered my production. It’s the mixture of African sounds and a lot of classical music. It’s from the great Fela Kuti himself because all along, he was responsible for creating the genre after he stopped making Afro music. He made Afro-classical music because it has something to do with the progression and climax. It’s a build up but sometimes it’s a loop. I get deep into the music, example, in “Oracle” which is dedicated to the great Angelique Kidjo, coming up soon.

 Every artist has their own interest or push or drive that makes them do what they do, For Apollo, there is the spiritual connection to things:

“I have two answers to the question; “why do you do what you do?” I have the shallow/mundane answer and I have the spiritual answer to it. The mundane answer to this is that music is the option I chose. Unfortunately for some of us, we’re slaves to the educational system all our lives and end up in the institutions and then it turns out to be something else. Before you know it we are working on someone else’s dreams. Spiritually I’ve been ordained to do music. I’ve been called.”

We find that music gives one a voice. This is dependent one way or the other on the source of inspiration. Not so?

“I get inspiration. Then I create. Body of knowledge. Body of sound. Body of energy. Body of frequency. Where everything exists. It’s been almost a decade now since I started embarking on my journey towards mental science, mind developing and basically understanding that musical works are dependent on nature- natural laws put together by God and the universe. That’s where my music comes from. Each of us, we have our sacred self, which harbours different intentions and different missions. This sacred self is what inspires me, that’s the foundation of my creative process- pretty much getting in touch with the esoteric.”

Apollo’s background falls in contrast with several other rappers in the crevices of the urban Ghanaian music scene who had to live hand to mouth or on loans from friends to make things happen. He might have hailed from a space where silver spoons were a tad more easy to come by, but that doesn’t go to affect the ‘hunger’ with which he cooks his musical recipes for listeners. “My dad is the Assistant Commissioner of Police in Nigeria. He brought forth a small family of 3 children. My elder sister is in Canada doing her masters. My younger brother schools in Turkey. I’m usually here or there- in UK, Nigeria or Ghana. Artistically I learned how to use all my spiritual senses.” 

Listen to Mastery; a creative cut of alternative music that compounds classical rhythms with hip hop, soul, dub step and more. Young musicians based in Accra are paving new routes in the trade and setting new standards that the boxed global industry needs to catch up with, and Afro-classical music is certainly one genre that’s here to stay.

I am a very restless creative. It takes a lot of thinking because to think is to create. I would go on and tell fans or people who love the brand I associate myself with to follow me because of my art and not the other things. The responsibility of a musician is to channel sound and let people move. It is a spiritual thing. Although I hail from a well-to-do family, musically I started from dust.”

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ACCRA ART SEEN: ARCHIAFRIKA EXHIBITION AND KENTURAH’S ‘THE MARCH’

A HISTORY OF JAMESTOWN: AN EXHIBITION THROUGH THE EYES OF AN INDIGENE

ArchiAfrika Design and Architecture Gallery in Jamestown, Accra opens the exhibition; “Through the Eyes of an Indigene” tonight (Friday 26th February 2016) in the historic Tarquah House in Jamestown.

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This event serves to introduce ArchiAfrika and friends to their new community and family in their new home. The highlight of the event will be an exhibition on the history of Jamestown by architect, historian and former Mayor of Accra Honourable Nat Nuno Amarteifio, as a contribution by ArchiAfrika to the archiving and development of the Old City.

The gallery is located in Tarquah House on John Atta-Mills Street just after Ussher Fort, next to the Old Kingsway Building. Join in for cocktails, music and an evening of lively engagement!

19H00 TODAY, 26TH FEB 2016
THE ARCHIAFRIKA DESIGN + GALLERY
Next to Ussher Fort and the Old Kingsway Building in Jamestown

 

THE MARCH BY KENTURAH DAVIS

In development with Kuyum Arts Investigation Project

The March is a visual and performative piece that weaves together ideas about history, allegiance, pride and protest. Using the function of a flag as the point of departure, it considers the power of cultural symbols to project strength and solidarity. In a world that’s increasingly connected through digital platforms, it raises questions about how we, as individuals, choose our allegiances and how will they project our story. A series of portraits of various artists are drawn on large-scale flags that integrate coding technology to make them interactive. Each image on the flags are made by applying QR (quick-response) codes with rubber stamps to the material to create a pixelated portrait. The stamped code links to this site. A kaleidoscope of images, texts and profiles will be continuously added to this page, looking to our creative community as guides that help reconfigure history and new narratives that can guide us through social unrest.

This piece investigates some of the objectives of Afrofuturism and its goal of offering alternatives to current modes of representation of people of color. Its final manifestation will consist of sculpture, dance and a video projection. Kuyum dance company will interpret the symbolic weight of the flags through their choreographed movements as standard-bearers, as protesters and as guides leading us toward a better world. The choreography will incorporate vigorous contemporary African movements fused with neo-traditional elements and visual images that capture the imagination of the viewers with fast flowing scenes. Four young dancers will explore movements with the flags that convey the urgency of grappling with broken and breakable states, war, poverty and political corruption.

19H00 TODAY, 26TH FEB 2016

Alliance Francaise d’ Accra.

Behind Opeibea Hse. Airport Res. Area

 

PHREAK OUT LIVE PRESS RELEASE

Beat Phreaks, a brand that constantly puts the spotlight on people with extraordinary musical talent are back at it! As part of their mission to champion some of the brightest acts on the local and international scene, they are showcasing an amazing lineup of Musical Talent on Saturday the 20th of February 2016. This festival is dubbed Phreak Out Live.

The organizers of the event have recognized a thirst for something different: A common-ground where serious music fans and fanatics (Beat Phreaks) get together to express that love for music and the excitement that goes with discovering new artistes or genres of music and not just what is fed to them via radio.

Phreak Out Live is creating that necessary platform where DJs, Producers, Dancers and Artistes can showcase their craft live and allow music lovers to interact and appreciate each art-form better.

This year’s edition of the festival is divided into two parts:

The Music Concert:
This will happen from 8pm to 10:30pm at Alliance Française Accra and will showcase really amazing Indie acts such as Ghanaian Budapest based artiste Sena Dagadu of Irie Maffia who is bringing an eclectic mix of Electronic/Tropical music, alongside some of the most brilliant young artistes in the local scene Worlasi, Poetra, Yung Pabi, Quayba, Kojo-Cue, King Promise amongst others who are setting the standard with their socially relevant music and great young producers such as Kuvie who are challenging the status quo with their work!

The Electronic Music Rave:
This is dubbed “Electric Warehouse” and will feature some of the best Electronic Music DJs in and out of the country at Plot 7 lounge in Osu. The Funky Professor Kobby Graham alongside Eddy Blay, Keyzuz and more will be bringing a heavy dose of bass and blasting out the best Dubstep, Drum n Bass, Grime, and House Music vibes from 11pm till late! The rave would also give festival goers the opportunity to meet and interact with artistes from the concert. If you have never been to a warehouse rave, you shouldn’t miss this experience!
Leave your inhibitions at home, and come ready to experience exceptional musical talent on the 20th of February to set the tone for the rest of your year. For more information, send an email to beatphreaks@gmail.com or find them on twitter @BeatPhreaks.

Festival BreakDown:
Music Concert: Alliance Francaise, Accra
Time: 8:00pm
The Electric Warehouse: Plot 7, Osu (Nyaneba Estates)
Time: 11pm
Date: Saturday 20th February, 2016

Rates:
Special Festival Package (Allows entry to both music concert and electronic warehouse: 40 GHS
Music Concert only: 20 GHS | 10 GHS for Alliance Française students
Electric Warehouse only: 30 GHS

Discounted rates*
Music Concert: 15 GHS | 7 GHS for Alliance Francaise students
Special Festival Package: 35 GHS
(Discounted rates only apply when you pay with Slydepay)

FOKN PRESS RELEASE: FOKN PARTY-CONCERT

Saturday 27th February | Alliance Française Accra | 7pm

FOKN Bois kickstart the year with a ‘FOKN Party’ featuring some of their favourite acts on Saturday 27th February 2016 at Alliance Française Accra.

FOKN Party is a party organised by FOKN Bois (M3NSA and Wanlov the Kubolor) for their FOKN Snows (their fans who were air cons, but now Snows since dumsor spoils air cons) to enjoy their Gospel Porn and also enjoy music from other artists they love as well. .

They wish to use this event to officially launch a regular physical connection with their Ghanaian Snows who are an inspiration to them because they always have a great time performing for them in Ghana. They say; ‘They know we tour the world often but hardly get to see us perform at home on the same level’.

Performing on the night is: Sena Dagadu, female voice behind VVIP’s hit song “Skolom”, who is coming with DJ Elo bringing their Budapest city vibrations, Pappy Kojo the Fanti Rap Van Damne, Joey B the hitmaker will thrill with his amazing discography. Opening for the night will be one of FOKN Bois’ fav acts: Efo Chameleon. The event will be hosted by FOKN Bois & Sister Deborah will be the MC for the night.

They want their FOKN Snows to expect the gig of gigs with FOKN Bois, an exchange of energies with them and also share their latest Gospel Porn.

RATE: GENERAL 20GHC | AF STUDENTS/MEMBERS 10GHC | UNDER 16YRS FREE

For more inquiries contact +233269431489 | bcomonblanks@gmail.com

THE RETURN OF A LEGEND: AFRO MOSES TO ENRAPTURE ACCRA

Afro Moses is a multi-award winning international artiste from Ghana with a magnetic personality due to his highly energetic grooves, powerful messages, showmanship and colourful stage art.

Watch this to the end. Afro Moses solo on mbira and cahun..

https://www.facebook.com/angi.dee.18/videos/10151489601091508/?autoplay_reason=ugc_default_allowed&video_container_type=0&app_id=350685531728

He is a singer, composer, multi- instrumentalist and teacher who is incredibly talented in writing and performing. He has graced many international stages with various artistes including; The Wailers, Michael Franti, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Damian Marley and more.

Currently, he’s mastered 14 instruments and fuses a tasty blend of afrobeat, reggae, funk, jazz, ragga, salsa, percussion, traditional vocals and more. He returns home after a world tour to several countries including Denmark, Australia, Bahrain, Indonesia, Germany, Holland, etc. before setting off for a Japan Tour.

Come with extra VIM and DANCE, JUMP, BOUNCE & SCREAM to the infectious rhythms. Satisfaction guaranteed!

THIS EVENT IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY AFRO VIMS AND HOSTED BY THE REPUBLIC BAR & GRILL, OSU.

24th February

Visit :
AFRO VIMS – https://www.facebook.com/afrovims/
afromosesworld.com
http://www.myspace.com/afromosesojah
http://www.YouTube.com/afromoses1
http://www.reverbnation.com/afromosesojah
https://www.facebook.com/AfroMoses

FILMMAKING AND POLITICS: WORLANYO ANSAH ON WHY GOV SHOULD PASS THE FILM BILL

You cannot skip the magnetism of Fiona Worlanyo Aku Ansah in a discussion about young Ghanaian filmmakers doing it ever so passionately and bringing in refreshing perspectives to the burgeoning film game in Africa. The creative director at Purpleheart Pictures and award-winning indie filmmaker  discloses; “Over time, I’ve just learned to improve myself and the kind of films I make.”

Fiona Worlanyo Aku Ansah. Photo creds: artist

SHOOT OR BE SHOT

Fiona is one of the many talents working in and around urban Accra, shooting films, documentaries, and corporate events. Bεnpaali Young Filmmakers Festival  and Legon International Film Event (LIFE) are two of the very few fora or support platforms for young film artists, aside Accra Francophone Film Festival which awarded Worlanyo Ansah for her production, Dear Valentine.

Chinua Achebe calls storytellers a ‘threat’. “They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit.” Fiona believes that the artist plays a vital role in every society and is responsible for promoting and preserving culture as well as entertaining and educating the public through art forms in whichever possible way. “I love what I do and I do it (especially film) because for me it’s one of the best ways I can express myself and impact the world positively. I usually find inspiration from real life situations especially social ones. I feed off news items but sometimes imagination. I am a film school graduate from NAFTI  and I have about 3 yrs experience in film-making.”

THE FILM BILL

There are a number of film organizations includung Ghana Actors Guild (GAG), Film Producers Association (FIPAG) Ghana Academy of Film and Television Arts (GAFTA), Women in Film and Television, Collective Management Organization of Audio Rights Owners (ARSOG), Film Managers Association of Ghana and Film Crew Association of Ghana. Yet, there is no clear unified front demanding the voice of the stakeholders in the film industry in parliament.

Ms. Dzifa Gomashie, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, as well as a former industry player herself, said in an interview with The Ghanaian Times that, “the bill, if passed into law, would not be the panacea to all the flaws in the industry but would serve as a means to regulate and demand the best from practitioners.”

Chairman of the NAFTI Board, Professor Kofi Anyidoho, keeps elucidating that the motion picture industry is critical to the arts industry and must be treated with all the seriousness it deserves, but how far have we employed tact in that direction? Fiona addresses the situation by saying, “In my opinion, the Ghanaian film industry is still struggling since there aren’t any proper well-defined structures for the industry as compared to other art scenes like the music industry. But the film industry has so much potential and even more should the Film Bill be passed.” I’d point out that this is very true, but more importantly should the concerns of the stakeholders be implemented.

FILM SCHOOL AND TOOLS

Fiona appreciates the impact that film school has had on her career and helped her “appreciate films better”. “It also helped me explore the true art of film-making hence my undying thirst to produce films with quality pictures, sound, editing and all that a good film has to offer.”

About the significance of particular social spaces in her work, Fiona explains; “social spaces are used as and when needed. Every filmmaker chooses specific locations per their script. For “Dear Valentine“, I needed the public toilet and I got it. I didn’t struggle too much to get the place.

“NORMAL IS BORING”

“I’ve had overwhelming responses, even though I am still a bit skeptical about it because I know it could be better in terms of picture quality, sound and editing. The superpower I’d wish for myself is super strength. I have lots of dream projects but for now, I’ll say a powerful story on the history of Ghana. I’d love to work with Ousmane Sembene, Abderrahmane Sissako and Kathryn Bigelow in future.”

Fiona’s favourite place to tap in inspiration is “anywhere quiet, serene and full of life.” She as well loves traveling. She always looks happy and is about results, and even as she opens up about a thorn in her past- “the strongest memory of my childhood is when I saw my dad abusing my mum,” it doesn’t restrain her focus. “A good advice to myself is to stand for what I believe in and never give up. My goal is to be one of the best and most celebrated female film director in the world and to touch the world through my films. To all upcoming artists, I’ll say believe in yourself. You can achieve all your dreams. Just be original and different. Normal is boring.”

TRAP ON ACCRA STREETS- IT’S A PURPLE VAL W/ $QU¥B,THE PARADOX

Only a few artistes from Africa are really capable of designing our trap music fix to keep us coming back for more, but ever since Accra-based rapper, singer, sound engineer and entrepreneur Squyb touched the mic, he’s been dropping nothing but refreshing alternative vibes, especially with his latest work; Purple Val EP which he dropped on 14th February, 2016. The music compounds vocal flair with woven puns and fire homonyms which are delivered in the Ewe, Twi and English languages with style and sheer grip of urban Accra crisp trap sounds.

DISENTANGLING “TRAP”

“Trap” refers to “a drug deal zone usually more impoverished than spaces outside its perimeter.” The music genre originated in the early 1990s in the Southern parts of USA. In Ghana, especially Tema and parts of Accra, several underground artistes have grown a keen interest in the genre and added their own touch to it. It would be interesting to follow progressively the Ghanaian artiste’s take in the field of trap music and its cultural significance as well as the response from the industry.

“Purple Val is based on doing something different. You expect to see red when Valentine is mentioned but that shouldn’t be the case. We must have the approach to re-examine celebrations like this and use artistic methods to discuss and get people thinking and talking about issues,” Squyb explains.

SEX, DRUGS, 808s

The lyrical content unravels from themes which are vivid reflections of urban street life, sex, love, drug politics, etc. The gaunt 808 kick drums, deep extended sub-bass lines, piano chill and layered synthesizers make the Purple Val music what it is. “Our ‘purple’ essence is some sort of the different inspiration and what we go to create based on simply being different from what is already there is magical.”

We remember how trap producer Lex Luger gained huge popularity especially between 2010 and 2011 and made a global statement with trap. Not forgetting FutureAtlanta,Georgia-based recording artiste, who premiered his fourth album EVOL this month on DJ Khaled‘s We The Best Radio’s debut on Beats 1. “I just get the beat and treat the studio like a workplace because that’s what it is. I do not need to write. I started recording my music only about a year ago and got better and better each day so I took it serious, also because of the response I got from friends, fans and loved ones,” the artiste reveals.

A NEW SUB-GENRE CALLED STAMP TRAP

The 3rd track on the piece, Hi Hell Lo’ accentuates the musician’s tilt on Greg Kurstin with Adele’s Hello beat. The EP was mostly composed by Hym and mixed by MixedbyShiqee. Purple Valentine brings you pieces like C18H21NO3 which are worth a couple more replays.

Squyb takes us on a journey into his musical experience, creative process and background: “It’s always been hip hop for me. Though I can do all versions of music. I actually have songs of diverse genres, but concentrate on hip hop since that’s sort of my strong hold. I created a new genre I call Stamp Trap. I create beats too so I have the opportunity to give my ideas life, and watch the music form before my eyes. In over eight(8) months, we’ve recorded over hundred songs. And I’ve dropped two tracks; o’lblack and the cedi.”

Squyb touches on the pettiness of the industry as he chips in, “I don’t expect much for now” because “we know how the Ghanaian listeners and music lovers generally are slightly slow to catch up, but when they do, are enthusiastic about following the music and trend forwardly.”

Squyb’s most favorite part of the creative process is after he’s done delivering the vocals. “I get impatient trying to hear as fast as possible what was recorded and how it sounds like. Even since I was very young when my mum playfully called me ‘American boy’ because I acted like I was not from this place. I think identity and culture are open concepts and independent of location, people can adapt or sound as if they are from other cultures, and I as well had some unique experience with respect to both simple and sophisticated life situations and that made me into a go-getter.

The artiste relates to his past career life as “that kept me going but now I’m into the music full time.” Squyb believes; “everything will fall in place and it’s a gradual process, example I am not the type of musician to approach Sarkodie and pay him some exorbirtant amount for a feature. The music will speak for itself.”