I love a good hype campaign and if this is who I think it is (the clues are all there, really…), it could be pretty interesting.
I recently decided to only take on DJ gigs that challenge me in some way. Tonight’s challenge? Provide a sophisticated afrobeat/afrohouse soundscape that Long John will freestyle to either on his trumpet or saxophone. All to accompany a play celebrating the 80th birthday of Wole Soyinka, based on his childhood memoirs. That’s all.
Seen the full schedule for the Accra Theatre Workshop‘s Storytelling Marathon today at the Nubuke Foundation and there’s something in there for everyone in the family. In case anyone’s interested, I’ll be taking part in two interesting events.
The Flash Fiction Workshop (10.00 am)
Nkenten collaborates with Flash Fiction GH and the Ashesi Storytellers Club on a morning session of readings from some of the rising stars of Ghanaian flash fiction, who will be training the audience in how to write their own flash fiction pieces.
The Nkenten Discussion: ‘Telling Tales: Are Our Stories Really Telling Our Story?’ (2.00 pm)
Yours truly will moderate a discussion featuring storytellers across different media – literature, music, video, photography, blogs, etc – on how well Ghanaian & African artists are representing Africa’s myriad stories in their work.
Invited guests include Dr. Sionne Neeley (co-founder of AccraDotAlt), Mamle Kabu (writer), Paa Koti (Twitter troublemaker), Kajsa Hallberg-Adu (blogger/lecturer), Kinna Likimani (educationist/blogger), Ghalileo (musician/artist), Wanlov the Kubolor (musician), Eli Tetteh (writer/communications specialist), Seton Nicholas (photographer), David Edem Dotse (writer/musician), Jonathan Dotse (writer), Joseph Oduro-Frimpong (cultural critic/lecturer), Nina Chachu (librarian) and more.
You just can’t win.
I sometimes catch myself complaining that there isn’t enough going on in Accra; that any city really worth its wahala should offer more events and things to do. We should be spoilt for choice.
Well, be careful what you wish for. It seems the Universe is going to have a good laugh at my expense today as I spend my time trying to figure out how to be in three places at once:
Paapa’s ‘Songs for Kukua Decoded’ Concert
Yup: Paapa is going to be revealing the hidden meanings to the lyrics from his album, ‘Songs for Kukua’. Rumor has it that Kukua is a reference to… Well, how about you come down and find out.
Going to be tricky leaving this one, seeing as Paapa persuaded me to DJ.
In case you haven’t heard any music from this gifted singer, check this out:
More info over at Accra[dot]alt.
Song of the Pharoah: a Modern African Play by Mohammed Ben Abdallah
Arguably our finest living playwright, Mohammed Ben Abdallah will be premiering an excerpt from his new play, ‘Song of the Pharoah’ at the National Theatre tonight as part of the PANAFEST program:
‘Song of the Pharoah is a major new musical-dance drama that tells a story of love, incest, and betrayal, and of political and religious transformation in ancient Egypt. It is a modern staged play that combines Ghanaian traditional musical and dance forms with an eclectic, creative blend of styles from Egypt and across Africa. The play mixes dramatic stage acting with various musical and dance forms. The story focuses on the rise and fall of the enlightened Pharaoh Akhenaten who ruled Egypt during a time of growth and artistic flourishing. It also tells the tale of his love for his beautiful wife Nefertiti and the family betrayals that shaped their rule and changed the history of Egypt and the modern world.”
I attended a rehearsal at the invitation of Jesse Shipley earlier this week and while I didn’t get the chance to see the bits involving betrayal, I certainly got an eyeful of love and incest. Dramatic stuff indeed.
It will be on at the National Theatre at 7pm tonight, while the play will premiere in its entirety on 12 September, and thereafter show on the 13th, 26th, & 27th of the same month.
Efya @ Republic Bar & Grill
So my favourite Ghanaian singer will be taking over my favourite bar in Accra tonight, apparently with the assistance of ‘airbrushable models’.
Yes… airbrushable models.
I don’t even know what that means, but it for damn sure sounds… well… interesting. These people seem to think that the picture above is the cover of her new album. Maybe she’ll let us all know.
Either way, the Republic still offers both the best drinks and the best vibe in town, and Efya is excellent live. I’ve been seeing less and less of her out about town, which (I hope) means that her album will be dropping soon. Or maybe she’s just doing more gigs abroad, like this:
Either way, I’m happy. Now I just need to figure out how to make it to all three of these events…
Over the past few years, young Africans privileged enough to find themselves online have started not only consuming content, but also putting content online. To my mind, this is a good thing: the more of our own stories (please note the use of the plural here; stories) we put out there, the less likely it is that others will concoct any for us. More importantly however, we will get to know ourselves and each other a little better, and build the networks we need to in order to build this little continent of ours.
There is an event happening this Friday, organized by a team called AADAT! exploring how African photographers are actively taking charge of how their continent and its people are portrayed.
The forum will be hosted on Google + livestreamed on Friday, and also livetweeted through @aadatart. The great thing about this event is that you can participate.
If there any questions about the topic that you would like to have answered by the panel on the topic, all you have to do is:
a. Tweet your questions today at AADAT @aadatart (or send them through the AADAT Tumblr Ask Box: http://bit.ly/18WrUmu)
b. Tweet them during the discussion, as @aadatart will be livetweeting the whole thing.
Besides the photographers – each of whom I’ve been a fan of for awhile (except Diop, who I’m just discovering) – I will be following this event because of the involvement of two of my favourite young Ghanaians: Sharon Obuobi & Deborah Frimpong.
Sharon has been championing African art for while now in the form of ‘Auburn Butterfly’, an arts blog I follow that seems to have metamorphosed into AADAT!
Deborah, on the other hand, writes one of my favourite Tumblrs, Bittersweet, where she expresses some of the most intelligent opinions on life and faith that I’ve heard from any young Ghanaian.
Both are cool human beings very worth following.
I completely missed the boat on early hiplife. I simply wasn’t around when it happened. I remember coming to Ghana on holiday sometime in the ’90s and hearing Reggie Rockstone for the first time. I think the song was called ‘Plan B’ (the one where he impersonates a car horn…) Loved it, but as a DJ, I have this huge gaping hole when it comes to old school hiplife.
*Enter Jesse Shipley from stage left*
So, it turns out that instead of simply listening and dancing to the music, ONE person set about documenting it. I heard of the documentary, ‘Living the Hiplife’ almost as soon as I moved back to Ghana (wow. Almost a decade now).
I was lucky enough to meet the man behind the documentary – Jesse Weaver Shipley – the other day. Quite an honour: when Dr. Esi Ansah suggested to me a few years ago that I switch over to academia (as it was the only thing that would allow me to do all the different things I wanted to do… and make a living), she used Jesse as an example. An Associate Professor at Haverford College in the US, Jesse is also a filmmaker, writer, and ethnographer.
He recently turned the documentary into a book: ‘Living the Hiplife – Celebrity & Enterpreneuship in Ghanaian Popular Music’. The good news is he’s launching it this Thursday (11th April; 6pm) – where else but at the house that Rockstone built: Grandpappaz, next to Rockstone’s Office.
It’s basically an historical and social account of hiplife, from the 1990s until today, featuring an all-star cast that includes Gyedu Blay Ambolley, Reggie Rockstone, Panji, Hammer, Obrafour, VIP, Tic Tac, Sidney, Buk Bak, Okyeame Kwame, Tinny, and Abrewa Nana as well as newer stars like D Black, R2Bees, Samini, M3nsa, Wanlov, M.anifest, Efya, Edem, Mzbel, Sarkodie, and Kwaw Kese.
I’m a popular culture fiend, so I’ll definitely be there. I hear he’ll have a few exclusive signed copies and besides showing the documentary, there will be DVDs too. All that and some of the aforementioned GHelebrities will be there. Plus my old office-mate from Joy FM, Bra DJ Black (naturally, on the wheels of steel).
Hope you can make it too.