New Music Takes Ghana By Storm

By John Owoo GHANA – Afro Moses, the Australia based Ghanaian star last week surprised live music fans with a magical, compelling and limitless performance that sent a clear signal of an impending return of Ghanaian music to the world music scene.

In a magnetic show that marked the launching of New Music Ghana (NMG) 2010, an initiative by the Institute for Music and Development, Moses worked his way into the hearts of members of the audience with a visually eloquent stagecraft that simply kept the crowd on the edge of their seats.

Moses, who entertained the crowd with dramatic blend of afro beat, reggae, funk, jazz, raga and salsa, engaged the crowd in dialogue that revealed the charm that has endeared him to exuberant audiences in Bahrain, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Denmark and several parts of Europe.

Pulsating rhythms, graceful dancing, glorious confidence and smooth voices emanated from the stage with amazing dexterity as the audience joined in singing while others moved onto the dance floor to appreciate the Ghanaian icon who has been away for over two decades.

Earlier, Wind Afrique, winner of the 2009 edition of NMG, took the crowd on a journey through afro fusion and a rather curious jazz/traditional music formation that created fresh fun and an engaging look at the direction of live music in Ghana.

Clad in colourful kente that have been neatly tied to their waists in gigantic knots, Wind Afrique delighted the audience with a bouquet of compelling tunes that are full of contrasts – old and new – soft and hard – as well as traditional and contemporary.

With an array of horns men, giant drums and other percussive instruments, the group “leapt” into their own world and dished out compositions from their maiden album “Aaya”, which is full of tracks that will help place Ghana on the world music map.

The biggest surprise of the night was Royal Echoes, a youthful group from the Volta Regional capital Ho, who bounced onto the scene a few years ago. With a vivid amalgam of agbadza, borborbor, highlife and jazz rhythms, Royal Echoes proved that young Ghanaian musicians can effectively contribute to the growth and quality of music in the country.

The young group managed to fuse melody, harmony and rhythm into a continuous stream thereby creating an encounter between musical generations and traditions. With one album “Eternal Wisdom” to their credit, Royal Echoes took the third position in the 2009 edition of NMG.

NMG aims at encouraging young Ghanaian musicians to employ the use Ghanaian traditional musical resources to create a new synthesis that would be authentically Ghanaian while encouraging them to learn the playing of instruments.

It is being sponsored by the Danish Centre for Culture and Development, Goethe-Institut and the Alliance Francaises in Accra, Kumasi and Cape Coast. Musicians Union of Ghana, Music Department, University of Cape Coast, Centre for National Cultures in Takoradi, Ho and Cape Coast are collaborating with the Institute for Music and Development.