There is nothing more exhilarating than being served a sumptuous Ghanaian cuisine prepared in a music pot, spiced with poetry, drama and dance, in a flamboyant environment like it happened on 25th March, 2017 at the Gold Coast Kempinski Hotel.
The Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City came alive on the night of 25th March, 2017 when Ghanaian music stars that have cemented their brands in highlife and its variants, took turns to enthral music patrons drawn from the general public, corporate world and the academia.
With a 350-odd audience, the 2017 Music of Ghanaian Origin (MOGO), started with the enactment of Ghana’s music history and its evolution, by the Heritage Theatre Series group, Wogbejeke.
Starting with Kwame Nkrumah’s declaring peace and freedom for Ghana, the theatre troupe told the story of how Ghanaian music had transmuted from its folk nature, to the indigenous highlife, to the German pop induced burger highlife, then to the present day hip life and dancehall. The house went agog when Lilwin’s Papa Boss Mama was played in the beauteously crocheted narration.
After that, the leader of Wogbejeke, Chief Moomen who was co-emcee to Citi FM’s Queen of the Airwaves, Jessica Opare Saforo, introduced the show in earnest and the next act, Adane Best, took charge of the stage.
Adane Best did renditions of his songs including the ever-popular Gyata Bi which drew patrons to the dance floor. As usual, he was on stage with his ‘lion’ to complement his artistry in telling the story of what dangers there are in picking a lion’s cub to rear – the moral of the Gyata Bi song.
It was surprising how Paapa Yankson could muster such energy to perform, even in a wheelchair. This is a sign of an artiste who has gone through the mill. The Okukuseku man, Paapa Yankson, did not disappoint even in his unwell state. He sustained the excitement with his evergreen songs and really proved his mettle as a veteran musician.
And there was Nana Kwame Ampadu! Yes, he had earlier promised on the Citi Breakfast Show that people should not underrate him with his old age – that, he was going to surprise the audience. Indeed, he did exactly that. At a point, I wondered if he was, indeed, 72 years old. His agility and aplomb on stage even at that ‘old’ age could possibly explain why he was called the ‘King of Highlife’ during his hay days.
What even caught the fancy of the audience the most was when Nana composed a song at the programme and sung on the spot. He performed the song with only the lead guitar and drum kit as accompaniments. For someone who is noted for telling stories in his songs, it did not come as surprise when Nana themed his newly composed song on a young man whose unbridled womanising attitude brought him problems. The object of the story was to advise and to deter young men from living promiscuous and debauched lifestyles.
One person whose appearance on stage got people surprised was the Poet King, Philip Dua Oyinka, known in art circles as Nana Asaase. He interspersed his proverb-laden poetry with great singing prowess.
Soon, Nana Asaase introduced the ‘Custom Child,’ Amandzeba on stage. The former Nakorex member was also phenomenal on the night. He treated patrons to very popular Ga jama songs, then later dovetailed the performance into his compositions. He rocked the stage! He shook the audience!
Right after that A.B. ‘Moses’ Crentsil came through with his ‘stick,’ hitting every ‘red sea’ that availed itself to be tickled with his music.
Having finished with performances from the oldies, patrons were feverishly waiting for the ‘fresh blood.’ Highlife crooner Kwabena Kwabena started with Daade Anoma, paused momentarily and did legendary Yamoah’s vintage Serwaa Akoto. Trust Kwabena Kwabena to prove his musicianship by not just singing the same melodies of an old song he performs. He took the song as his and sang in his velvety voice.
Just when patrons thought they had been served enough good music on the night, there came the Best Rapper Alive. Okyeame Kwame jumped onto the stage with Akyeame’s Asa a Aba So as prelude to his act. Then he moved to Mesan Aba which had Citi FM’s Kojo Akoto Boateng join him to do few rap lines. The Rap Doctor further treated the audience with more of his songs including Faithful and Small Small.
For a live event of that nature, there couldn’t have been any better choice than the X-Therapy Band. They waxed therapeutic in their play. X-Therapy’s performance really jelled – and their communication with the artistes was fantastic.
The auditorium was incensed with gaiety and the ambience was one that would make a patron want to stay for longer hours to enjoy more music, dance, poetry and good food.
Citi FM did not deprive its many listeners and fans that could not be at the show from taking part in the enjoyment. The 2017 Music of Ghanaian Origin (MOGO) was streamed live on Facebook, on Citifmonline.com and was also broadcast live on air via Citi 97.3FM.
The creative arts and entertainment must be lucky to have a programme of that nature that does not only entertain or serve as source of income for creative artists, but also an activity that has higher tendency of preserving highlife music as an indigenous expressive art form of Ghanaian culture.
#MOGO2017 was a great success. People went, saw, enjoyed it and would want to bask in bigger excitement in the coming years.
The 2017 Music of Ghanaian Origin (MOGO) was sponsored by GCB Bank, Freight Consult and Nallem Consult, and was powered by Citi 97.3 FM.
By: Kwame Dadzie