The man was billed to perform at one of the annual Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) awards nights at the plush Labadi Pleasure Hotel. By the time the programme got going, the musician many were expectantly waiting for could not register his presence.
Meanwhile, the organisers kept assuring fans that the special guest artiste was on the way and would surely be performing.
Eventually the man arrived and he was very profuse with apologies for delaying the programme and keeping his teeming fans on tenterhooks.
Any person who knows him very well will tell you that he is not pretentious and is as transparent as humanly possible. That is Amakye Dede, the man popularly known in showbiz circles as Abrantie.
When he plunged into business, he made for lost time and sent electric vibes of his music flowing through the ecstatic fans. Music is business and Abrantie is SEEE-RIOUS when on stage.
On Monday, December 27, 2010, Abrantie held his first major solo performance at the Accra International Conference Centre and the attendance and genre of those present were a testimony not only of the acceptance of his music which has outlived time but very significantly, his person.
Amakye Dede has come to represent something which is being pushed to extinction by many of our public figures — HUMILITY — whether in entertainment, sports, politics or any other public service. Many start as servants but with time forget their humble beginnings and begin to play lord.
Amakye Dede has been in active musical career for close to three decades but his stature has neither diminished nor had his music dimmed in any way. Those of the younger generation who may not know may think they were dancing to a song recorded only yesterday but which may be 30 years old.
Good and vibrant music aside, what has kept Amakye Dede going, and which is the message of this piece is his humility and his sense of realisation that he belongs to a place of rich cultural heritage. Amakye has never succumbed to the iniquities of foreign cultures which adore obscenity and profanity.
What others may say with filthy vulgarity, Amakye will weave in intricate proverbs and wise sayings of our great forebears and arrive effectively with the same meaning without any offence.
When he sings love, he does so with passion and the conviction that love conquers all and when it is about sorrow or the vicissitudes of life, he does so with the appreciation of the fact that life can never be one way, and that we should accept misfortunes as they come our way and surmount them with fortitude.
With all the huge popularity, Amakye Dede has remained very simple and will walk pass you without vibrating the air around you. But if you should recognise him and shout ABRANTIE, the man will turn towards you and literally try to kiss your feet.
Everybody can pretend some of the time, but you cannot pretend to be what you are not all the time. So it is easy to say Amakye Dede is real.
We have seen a lot of young musicians who fell by the way even before they attained any national recognition because of foolish pride and arrogance. We know many who do not respect their fans, forgetting that whatever fame or wealth they have, came from those fans.
We have seen some of these performers talking to themselves on the streets because they have soaked themselves in hard drugs and alcohol. You find these people in other areas. For example, some of our young footballers have become swollen-headed and lost direction and focus at the dawn of their career because they failed to manage the fame that came with their early success.
Some of our budding politicians have turned tin gods even before they have matured into experienced national leaders. There are many others in public service who have been consumed by self-glorification and self-conceitedness. Many never reached their peak before floundering.
We do not need to wait and eulogise people only when they are lying in state. We must say it while those with exemplary qualities are still available to serve as a beacon of light to brighten the gloom for others to redirect their faltering steps.
Amakye Dede has proven that it is possible to be successful in one’s chosen career and remain an ordinary human being. He has proven that music, like any other human endeavour, can bring fame and honour once approached with seriousness, dedication and professional competence. He has proven that it is possible to carry those who were on the ground with you along to the peak as long as you are mindful of the fact that they are part of your success story.
On December 27, 2010, the attendance was great and even among the multitude, one could still pick a few faces. They included former President J.A. Kufuor; Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, the renowned pathologists, a former Director General of the Ghana Health Service and a man still nursing the ambition of becoming Ghana’s next President on the ticket of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP); Mr Kwame Peprah, board chairman of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and senior member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC); Nana Oye Lithur, a human rights activist; Nana Kofi Asante Bediatuo, a lawyer and strong member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), and Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere, a diplomat, journalist and Chairman of the National Media Commission.
All these distinguished personalities are journeying through life on their own chosen paths. But they were all brought together under one roof by Abrantie Amakye Dede because they share one thing in common — they appreciate and like good music rich in lyrics — something which is missing in the songs of our young artistes who want to be described as musicians.
Amakye Dede has not only got talent as a musician but character as a humble and disciplined performer, a combination that has made him not only a role model, but a powerful magnet that could bring great men and women together.
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