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    AB Crentsil: Humour and controversy mixed

    by Nii Laryea Korley, Graphic Showbiz
    posted Wednesday, 20 November 2013 18:44| 0 Comments

    It has never been highlife superstar AB Crentsil’s style to leave stage unceremoniously after a performance but he was compelled on an occasion at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region, more than 30 years ago, to hide backstage and jump over a wall to save his skin.

    Threats to physically harm him had come from some fans who felt offended by his famous ‘Atia’ song. Crentsil was entertaining with his Ahenfo Band and the safest option for him then was to sneak away.

    The man, who turns 70 next January, smiles whenever he recollects that incident. It reminds him of the humour and controversy that often characterise his songs.

    He said the characters and situation he sang about in Atia were real. In his view, many people, especially from the northern part of the country, did not appreciate the essence of the song and assumed he was only mocking them.

    “The song is about alcoholism and its effects on us. I only tried to render it in a funny way,” says Crentsil who already has about 25 albums under his name and is working on a new one.

    Several other compositions of his expose the witty poet in him.

    There has, however, been no controversy at all about his selection by Imajin Advertising as the music legend to be celebrated this year at the MTN Legends and Legacy (LAL) Ball slated for November 30 at the Accra International Conference Centre.

    “I thank the Imajin folks for the honour. Though such appreciation of what I have contributed to music in this country is long overdue, I feel good that it has come,” Crentsil told The Mirror in the company of his wife, Elizabeth, at their Community 9 home at Tema.

    Many people in Ghana and elsewhere have felt good about Crentsil and his style of composition for a long time. His well-thought-out lyrics are flung on the wings of humour.

    The man whose popular songs include Moses, Osookoo, Devil , Adwoa, Angelina, Juliana and Srobom, is also regarded in some quarters as an irreverent and controversial character.

    “I’m a talented composer and each time I compose a song, I try to add some laughable things so people will enjoy them more. Those things mostly come to me in the studio and I add them after putting across the real idea for the songs.”

    “It is up to the masses who listen to my songs to interpret them the way they wish. I do not think it is necessary for me to come out in public to say a wrong interpretation had been put on this or that song of mine,” Crentsil says.

    There was a huge fuss over the lyrics in Moses when Crentsil brought it out in the late 1980s.

    According to the composer, he was insulted by people for the lyrics and for the first time, he was scared that he might be called by some authority of some sort to explain himself but nothing like that ever happened.

    Though he received some flak from various sources because of Moses, the song revealed his intense sense of description. He invoked imagery that has made the song remain on the list of the most iconic tracks ever recorded by a Ghanaian artiste.

    Born on January 25 at Prestea in the Western Region to Alfred Benjamin Crentsil and Mary Yaaba Yawson, Crentsil attended primary and middle schools in Takoradi before being employedas an apprentice electrician with the Ghana Railway Company in Takoradi through the influence of his father.

    Crentsil knew he wanted to be a musician and not an electrician. He could sing well but his parents resisted his moves to join a band.

    “My father didn’t talk to me for five years when I quit the job at the railway company and joined a band. His thinking was that I was going to be a womaniser and ‘wee’ smoker.

    “I proved him wrong and he became my best friend until he died at the age of 115.”

    He was also very much attached to his mother and composed a song, Yaaba for her.Starting off in music as a member of the Strollers Dance Band at Takoradi in 1967,Crentsil moved on to play and compose songs for other bands, including El Dorados band of the Aboso Glass Factory, The Lantics, Sweet Talks and Ahenfo.

    He has travelled widely in Europe, United States, Canada and across Africa.

    He has gathered a lot of experience as a performer and says a lot of that would be on show at the MTN LAL Ball which will also feature performances from Sherifa Gunu, Kwabena Kwabena, King Ayisoba, No Tribe and others.

    “I have already started intense rehearsal for the show and I assure all patrons that it would be a great night of Ghanaian music,” Crentsil said.

    The accomplished musician is married to Elizabeth Crentsil and they have eight children: Joseph Ekow, Evelyn, Priscilla Sesiwa, Alfred Kweku, Juliana Esi, Alfred Ekow, Irene Ekua and Alberta Crentsil.

    He describes Elizabeth as the supportive woman any man can ever marry on this planet.

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