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    Sherifa Gunu: The toast of international icons

    by B&FT Lifestyle
    posted Sunday, 25 December 2011 15:39| 0 Comments

    Music is the custodian of the soul. And the clout of great musicians gives them the power to move the world along with them, sweeping over the conscience of humanity and carving for themselves a niche that attracts people of like calibre to want to associate with them, making them the centre of creative attraction.

    Their fame spreads abroad like the biblical Solomon, giving the Queens of Sheba a cause to travel thousands of miles out of their comfort zones and splendour to imbibe, or be part of the artistic revolution that distinguishes their admirers from the world, and gives them the power to rule their world.

    The story of Sherifa Gunu from the molehill of creativity to the zenith of musical excellence is a conscious journey well embarked on.

    But her story cannot be complete without mentioning the alluring impact of her music on some of the world’s icons such as Akon and Craig David, whose proposals to collaborate with her attest to how far the music damsel has come with her unique form of African music.

    “Numerous calls from international artistes like Akon and Craig David to want to collaborate with me have humbled me, and have made me rediscover myself and my responsibility to be myself, and strive to best the best I can ever be,” Sherifa said.

    Sherifa did not hesitate to attribute the new developments to the potential wealth and the compelling power behind traditional African music, which she believes has generated interest in such celebrities to partner her.

    Sherifa thinks African music has the clout. But she believes that it is the originality and the import of lyrics that are the common denominators accounting for the longevity and the impact of the music of seasoned African musicians such as Hugh Masekela, Salif Keita, Mariam Makeba, and Angelique Kidjoe -- compared to today’s microwave generation of studio-bred young African artistes.

    Some enter the music industry with the chief motive of making money. Others do music mainly for the love of it. But some others do music for a multiple number of reasons -- the quest to fulfill their calling, the desire to be enriched to enrich others, and the urge to shape society with the power of music. And Sherifa falls within the latter.

    Sherifa, described by many as a crowd dictator, has so far lived up to her quest to make the world a habitat of humanity, using music as a medium for building peace among all people, and for any other purposes that positively benefit the larger society.

    Music, they say, is the best peace-keeper. And it is no wonder that the entire message of Sherifa’s music centres on the subject of peace which to her is the most expensive commodity the world needs. This has found expression in her advocacy for peace, believing that Africa’s cry for peace must not be ignored.

    “I sing for peace because my heart yearns for peace. Anytime I sit and watch the act of torture by humanity against humanity on television in any part of the world, my heart bleeds through sleepless nights, and I find myself buried in the pool of my own tears,” the crowd queen confessed.

    Sherifa believes that there is something connected to Africa that dampens her spirit anytime she sees suffering on the continent. In her strongest view, “Mother Africa” is probably a living being somewhere looking down over her children.

    The princess of the Gunu Royal Family of Dagbon goes the extra mile to explain why she has a heart for music, and why her entire life is dedicated to music as a tool for spreading the message of peace, instead of the many other opportunities the industry has to offer.

    Sherifa, in reminiscing the budding days of her career as a dancer and backing singer for the likes of Amakye Dede, Kojo Antwi, Daddy Lumba, and Rex Omar, believes that the good old days of live-band music must be brought back into the Ghanaian music industry.

    The future of Ghana music is not in studio performance, it is in live-band music, she says, adding that the time has come for organisations and event organisers desirous of hunting musical talents to focus on brewing talents from the pot of traditional African music and not the so-called western types, most of which are nothing but sinking sands of moral degeneration.

    Sherifa traces her musical career back to previous generations down her bloodline, describing her trademark costume and peacock hairstyle as a unique cultural inheritance passed down to her by her forebears -- which invoke the spirits of her ancestors to rise to her defence anytime she performs in such traditional appearance.

    Sherifa’s dancing ability, besides her supreme melodious voice, is another unique piece of art that will hold you spellbound anytime you watch her perform on stage, which is the reason why she has been co-opted as one of Ghana’s Glo ambassadors.

    Her past achievements as best regional dance champion, runner-up in the 2003 hip-life national dance championship to the late Terry Bonchaka , and her present unimaginable musical prowess that enables her to fuse her traditional ‘gonje music’ with any hip-life or raga beat to create soothing rhythms, make her a different breed of professional artiste.

    Sherifa acknowledged the contributions of other seasoned musicians who blazed the trail for her to thread on, citing Pat Thomas as a towering figure in the music industry who inspires her the most.

    She does not also forget the musical gene she inherited from her mother which makes her an artistic chip off the old block.

    “My mother is a singer and a dancer, but I wear her sandals and I wear it well because as time goes on, you need to modify things and get the best out of them,” she indicated, philosophically.

    You just cannot disagree with her when she describes music as a spiritual thing which loses its potency when musical groups split, making members go solo and getting lost in the clouds of inactivity as a result of greed.

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