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    About rap music and live performance: How far so far?

    by Samuel A. Baah, Flex Newspaper
    posted Monday, 25 November 2013 07:35| 0 Comments

    The call for activation of live band performance in this country has been immense over the years with entertainment platforms leading this crusade. Most pundits are saying, for the industry to identify real talents and musicians, event promoters and the artistes themselves should include live performances in their scheme of things.

    The live band business always leave our gospel musicians out of the picture because we all know performing live is how most of our gospel artistes were brought up to mainstream gospel music. The church is their root and foundation and has never been a place for miming or “karaoke” therefore their penchant for going live any time an opportunity is presented to them. Now the question we intend to ask today is whether the people who play live, especially our colleagues from the hip life divide have been succeeding in such attempts.

    Talking about hiplife artistes and live performance, Samini, though not into mainstream hiplife music currently started that revolution before switching to dancehall music which has become his trump card at the moment. He is that musician who makes live band performance so easy and interesting to the extent that, if you are a musician and you see Samini doing it live, you feel terrible when you have to follow him with a miming act.

    In this edition of Flex newspaper, we will not throw more light on highlife artistes because just like the gospel musicians do, they also believe that live band music is the root and foundation of their genre. That is why one is likely to see artistes like Kwabena Kwabena, K.K. Fosu, Felix Owusu, Quarme Zaggy, Bessa Simons, Kwaisey Pee, Kofi B, Pat Thomas and the rest always going live when it matters most. You can call them the dons in live performance and no one will grudge you because they have honed their skills perfectly in that arena.

    Our bane is our brothers and sisters championing hiplife and how they fare anytime they attempt a live performance.  I have seen Sarkodie, Okyeame Kwame, Kontihene, Obour and in fact a few others try live on some occasions and the story has not been the same as in the case of highlife musicians and the gospel stars. Now where do they fail the most?

    BREATH CONTROL:  Known for their cut and paste kind of recording in the studios, most of them try to perform live and they struggle breathing freely when they have to take long lines in their rap verses. Fatigue often sets in and when such happens, you find them leaving some of the lines out and calling for assistance from the audience. How pathetic and boring they become in such circumstance. Okyeame Kwame and Sarkodie have passed on  some one or two occasions and we give thumbs up to them. Their ability to move energetically on the stage also gets affected because their weakness will show if they add that bit to the performance.

    BEATS AND RHYTHMS: Another area which affects live band performance for hiplife artistes is the kind of rhythms they use in the studio during recording sessions. The computer generated beats are sometimes hard to play live because the tempos and the grove in them cannot be mimicked so easily all of the time by instrument players who are not experienced. It is either they will be faster than the original beat or slower for the rap artistes to deliver his punch lines. Due to that, when some hip life artistes perform live, it becomes always clear that some tones and ingredients get missing taking away some level of excitement.

    LESS PRACTICE AND REHEARSAL SESSIONS: Finally, let`s talk about their inability to rehearse continuously with their chosen bands men. Because of their upbringing with Djs and hype men, they fail to rehearse often with their bands men and find themselves performing abysmally on stage all the time. To make matters even worse, most of these artistes do not have a team of players, they only go for what we call “Shabo” (assembling different players for a performance) anytime they have a gig to perform and it causes their downfall.

    There are solutions to these selected problems and we hope to tackle them hopefully next week in your favourite Flex newspaper. Keep reading!!!

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