By the time last Friday’s Citi FM MOGO (Music Of Ghanaian Origin) concert had travelled halfway, I already knew exactly what I was going to do immediately I stepped out of the National Theatre after the show. I was going to find myself a well-shaped medium-sized stone.
With that stone, I intended to look up Kwesi Yankah, the Kwatriot, professor, writer, and academic and symbolically place that stone in front of him to acknowledge what he said some 15 odd years ago.
It was he, who in the face of a mounting assault on highlife music by hiplife and all its derivatives, stood boldly in defence of highlife and “prophesied” at a Goethe-Institut forum that “highlife will never die”.
Almost two decades down the line, thanks to veteran highlife musicians and much younger ones, not only has highlife music been sustained, it has been given newer robes and made more vibrant in the spirit of “celebrating the past and inspiring the future”.
The highlife expectations of the near-full house MOGO audience manifested in the manner they loudly applauded the very first act by a relatively unknown Kumasi duo who go by the name, Ink.
Performing in front of the stage curtain as though the organisers were unwilling to let them in, Ink rolled out a medley of highlife songs including good old Akwaboah’s Odo Yewu Da Baabi to set the right tone for the billed performers of the night to slide in.
The organisers seemed to have done their homework well as far as the runningorder of the evening programme went because they chose to deliver Samuel Owusu next. Fantastic decision it was.
Owusu is a musician who most people would not recognise by face on the street but not his music. Once Owusu hit the stage, there was nothing like a slow start-up.
The audience and performer connected quickly and by the second bar of his first song, the dancing in the aisles had begun. Wowe bese, wowe duawa dea woye free; na wowe mako dea, wo hwene mu beso nsuo waawaa!
A very good ObY band comprising very talented young musicians provided the perfect carpet for the musicians – K.K. Fosu, Ewurama Badu, Sherifa Gunu, Kwaisey Pee, Okyeame Kwame, Tagoe Sisters and Kwabena Kwabena – to deliver their best.
Guitarist George Darko was given a MOGO Lifetime Achievement award by the show organisers for his contribution to the growth and development of highlife. He took the opportunity to render a medley of some of his well-known songs.
In all the performances, two qualities of highlife that became clear, beyond rhythm and melody, were its colours and interactive nature.
Highlife has always been a multi-colour splash that allows expression in different hues be it gospel, traditional, reggae, and even “adult music”!
A very good concert Last Friday’s MOGO was. Although we missed dazzling stage light effects and our MC appeared a little too heavy for his role especially at the start, and the observation that a couple of artistes stayed a bit too long, the total show was characteristically MOGO – smooth run without equipment hitches and a remarkable production that took off on schedule.
A pat on the back of the organisers for placing a traditional music group in the foyer to welcome guests, and thanks to performers Nana Asaase for the appropriate tribute to Mandela; Sherifa for thanking Ghanaian farmers on Farmers Day; and Kwabena Kwabena for reminding us that Christmas is on its way.
|< Prev||Next >|