Thursday, 2 October 2008

Kweku Ananse & the State of Ghanaian Music

People always ask me about the music scene in Ghana. Some have old Osibisa albums or the fantastic Ghana Soundz compilations and wonder why they only ever hear about musicians from upper West Africa. Three things killed Ghanaian music:

1. Piracy: distribution of local music is limited and the internationals could care less about some Africans.
2. 'Payola': DJs taking bribes, putting unpaid-for good music aside for paid-for wackness.
3. Computers: killed a rich band culture, sending it to Church, where secular music is stifled.

Besides the staples (R&B, crunk, dancehall, Naija pop and Westlife...) the youth listen to something called hiplife (hip-hop + highlife). It's barely highlife (which was musically rich enough to give birth to afrobeat) and it isn't really hip-hop, unless you think that rapping over a beat makes something hip-hop. There is hope though:

Enter Kweku Ananse. 'Access Zinabu' is a video he put together for the first single from his debut EP, 'the Amazing Kweku Ananse - A 10E12 Stories':



Ananse is a Fela obsessive, a hardcore cratedigger and he blends more obscure breaks from all over the continent with beats from classic funk, hip-hop and drum & bass, remixing anything from Ennio Morricone to Asa. His work features heavily on Wanlov the Kubolor's album, Green Card (also well worth a check).

On the other hand, if you want something that your little sister can shake her arse to, here's something more 'conventional' from Asem. His producer - a young guy called Richie - is kind of interesting:



I have a problem or two with the song/video (women... *sigh*) but I actually like Asem. He doesn't take himself too seriously and he has higher production values than most, making 'Pigaro' a superior example of the norm here.

1 comment:

  1. Just realised my dance teacher showed us that Mya Deren video almost 10 years ago - incredible lady...
    Can I just ask - is the pigaro an actual dance because that kind of looked quite generic?

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