Meet Banks; the unequivocal Ghanaian entertainment blogger

Francis Amissah (born in December, 1990) known in the showbiz circles as ‘Banks’ is a Ghanaian celebrity blogger & publicist. Founder of TalkMediaGhana.com, a leading entertainment website with the aim of promoting music, videos, brand advertisement, events, artists, fashion & lifestyle etc.

A product of the Kaneshie Senior High Technical School, Accra, he has held many leadership positions throughout his steady rise. Notable among them was the Senior Boys Prefect of his Secondary School in 2008/2009. He has made significant contributions to several pan-African websites including Ghanamotion.com and ThinkGhMusic.com.

In 2012, he launched his website. Through diligent work, Francis has had the opportunity of interviewing numerous personalities, including Coptic, Kwaw Kese, Kris J (A&R at Universal Music Group – South Africa), C-Real, Ian Jazzi, J.Town, E.L, Dark Suburb, Scientific, X.O Senavoe, Genius Selection.

Life and Career

In 2009/2010, he started with a website called dcemcees.webs.com, where he started blogging. With different role models and successful players in the same industry to learn from, he took his time, learnt well and developed steadily. Later in 2012, he fully launched his official website  TalkMediaGhana.com.

TalkMediaGhana.com

The formulation of TalkMediaGhana.com was a result of Francis’ friend hosting, helping him get the domain and also build the website as well. 

TalkMediaGhana.com is an online media portal dedicated to promote music, events, videos, artists, brand awareness on social media, entertainment talents and any other activity relating to entertainment in Ghana and Africa as a whole. 

It creates and implements powerful social media marketing campaigns that drive traffic to businesses promote brands and create sales. TalkMediaGhana.com also provides professional online, social network promotion to all types of undertakings, including individual and partnerships organizations in all sectors of the entertainment industry in Africa.

TalkMediaGhana has also created social media awareness for well known companies such as Tigo Ghana (#KeepYouDoing campaign), Kasapreko Company Limited, West Hills Mall.

Since its inception, the website has found innovative ways to reach readers across the globe. The website is/has been on the lips of many artists, music producers, TV hosts/presenters, individuals & others media personalities.

Artists worked/working with

Within a few years, Francis has been able to build a reputation for himself as an incredible and trustworthy blogger and publicist after working with other online music promoting companies.

Through his hard work, he has met up and worked with artists and producers including Coptic (Ghanaian US based multi-platinum award winning producer for Notorious BIG, NIKE, P Diddy, Usher, Snoop Dogg, Gucci Mane, Ludacris, Trey Songz, Shyne, Black Rob, Ice Cube, etc.), Scientific, C-Real, Fusha (Worcester, USA), E.L, Kwaw Kese, D-Black, Ian Jazzi, J.Town, Joel Orleans of YFM, Gibrilville (New York, USA), X.O Senavoe, Mike Millz, Slimbo, DJ Champagne, DJ Kess, Genius Selection, Trey LA, DJ Mic Smith, Dex Kwasi (Dallas, TX – Ghana), Jayso, Dark Suburb (Alternative Rock Band), Trigmatic, Smif-n-Wessun (New York, USA).

In 2012, Francis was appointed by Coptic as his publicist in Ghana. He’s worked with Coptic on his Coptic Presents… The Rising Stars of GH (Vol. 1 to 4 album). Francis helped Coptic in fetching for rising artists in Ghana to feature on the album(s). Such artists include Greenfield, C-tso, Trey LA, Joel Orleans, Stargo, Ko-Jo Cue, Ian Jazzi, Renner, Gaeta, Teephlow etc.

In 2013, Coptic teamed up with Bless The Mic to organize a Hip-Hop concert for the very first album to help unleash the rising stars into the limelight, which also happened to be the main aim of the album.

All the album(s) were co-ordinated by Francis and made huge waves on radio and across all social media in Ghana and abroad.

In an interview on Choice FM, Accra, Francis said that he’s grateful for the opportunity to work with Coptic, and for helping to advance the careers of Ghanaian/African artists. Through, The Rising Stars of GH albums, Francis has been able to help Coptic sign a Ghanaian artist/radio personality named, Joel Orleans to his label – The Black Star Line.

Achievements

TalkMediaGhana – Media Partner |Afro Music Festival 2016, Los Angeles

TalkMediaGhana – Media Partner | U.K Afrobeats Festival 2016, Barking Park, London

TalkMediaGhana – Media Partner | Young Achievers Summit 2016, Accra

TalkMediaGhana – Media Partner | Dark Suburb’s Awakening Concert, Alliance Française d’Accra

TalkMediaGhana – Media Partner | Award winning Nigerian superstar, Patoranking’s media/stakeholder launch for ‘’God Over Everything’ album, Accra 

TalkMediaGhana – Media Partner |Ghanaian rapper/producer, Jayso’s album listening and video premiere, Accra

TalkMediaGhana – Media Partner/Organiser | Coptic Presents… The Rising Stars of GH & Bless The Mic & concert – 2013, Accra

Awards and Nominations


TalkMediaGhana – Certificate of appreciation as media partner for the Young Achievers Summit 2016.

2016 – TalkMediaGhana.com was nominated in a tall list for Blogging Ghana Awards as Best Blog and Best New Blog. 

2016 – Francis Amissah was nominated in a tall list for Blogging Ghana Awards as Best Blogger.

External Links 

Francis ‘Banks’ Amissah on Twitter Francis ‘Banks’ Amissah on BanksGH TalkMediaGhana on Facebook TalkMediaGhana on Twitter  TalkMediaGhana on Instagram

AKAN DROPPED A LOW-KEY CONTROL VERSE ON ‘EFFORTLESS’

 

akans

Since releasing his debut mixtape in 2015, Akan has seen his profile rise within the hip hop/hip life circles albeit a steady one. Songs by Akan hasn’t become a staple for mainstream radio yet but, he is building a dedicated fan base. First time listeners to his songs get enchanted by his lyricism and the content expressed in his music. Others become fans after watching his performances, which are filled with passion and energy.

His lyrical ability has earned him comparison to the legendary Obrafour (per his mastery and fluency in the Twi language). Others see Okomfo Kwadei and Okra in Akan. Whether Akan delivers a full 16 bars (in two verses) as on songs like Helebaba, Obiba J.K, Flow No (Konnichiwa freetsyle) or assumes the role of an okyeame on Poetra Asantewa’s ‘Vote for Me’ and ‘Freestyle 06’ with JaySo, Akan never disappoints.

If there’s one song Akan (formerly part of rap duo Azzholes along Billy Banger, now AYAT) showcased his lyrical abilities and declared his mission statement, it’s the Hammer (Last Two) produced collaborative song ‘Effortless’. According to Hammer, Akan wasn’t initially considered for the song that had Worlasi, Teephlow and Medikal. Hammer explains how Akan was brought on board:

Akan’s part was supposed to be another artiste. I had heard of him and posted his song about two months ago. People didn’t know I follow [him]. I was sure he could do it so I called him. I just told Akan that Teephlow, Medikal and Worlasi were on the song. None had heard what the other had done on the beat…

A very important decision by Hammer, of you ask me. Akan didn’t disappoint and his verse is the sparkling gem of the song.

On ‘Effortless’, Akan’s boastful talk is drenched in humility. He dramatizes his attributes like an Okomfo (fetish priest) exhibiting his magical skills at the durbar grounds. One hears him speak on how he’ll lead the way; how women and quest for riches are not his priorities; how he’ll ‘kill’ the fakes/other rappers. This is Akan with his own ‘Control’ verse. The talk is bold and fearless.

Below is a bar for bar breakdown of Akan’s verse on Effortless. I’m going to translate his words from Twi to English the best way I possibly can.

You’ve heard Teephlow’s flow and tasted Medikal’s tonic/medicine (here Akan references his two other colleagues on the song)

Now, watch what Kwabena Nkwantabisa is about to do (Kwabena is Akan’s name. Nkwantabisa is an appellation)

Hope you’ve heard Hammer’s handiwork. The beat has cleared your hearing (this suggest that Hammer’s beat is the best one will hear)

Akan, follow me cos I’m about to show you where the right path is.

Here I am, wildly spinning; kicking dust into your eyes whiles you bear witness that the path is me (Akan paints a picture of an Okomfo, whose trance-like displays often results in the surroundings becoming dust-filled).

My waist cloth is girded. My words are tough and biting (Akan is ready to fight)

I’m here to piss you off so I can shave off your chest hair into my armpit and leave you humbled (only a man who’s totally beaten can have his chest hair shaven and that’s what Akan is purporting to do to anyone who comes close)

Sold my soul for heavenly knowledge and wisdom, so luxuries of life and women can wait for now.

I’m carrying my nation. I’ve drawn much from my wisdom trough

My shoulders larger, I’m keeping focus cos I can’t move my neck (well-built men often have thick shoulder muscles which keeps their neck straight. That’s Akan’s posture in this line)

Shut my eyes, dropped a bomb on y’all. It’s about to get bloody leaving some of you breathless.

I’m in the lead, your views are blocked (you can’t see cos of the bomb smoke)

You’ve lost your ways. You’re now trapped in a ditch.

The way to heaven, you’ve missed.

Akan dropped a low-key Control verse on Effortless. A verse that is not ‘in your face’ but did send a message of his intention to all those who would dare step on his lane.

For those who are curious to know what makes AKAN highly regarded by a section of music fans, just be at Nubuke this Saturday 25th February, 2017 when he takes his turn on Artiste Concert.

 

Artist Concert Featuring Rapper Akan

tac-vol2-akan

Last month saw the huge success of The Artist Concert launch, where we featured Wanlov The Kubolor giving the audience a unique experience. As we continue the journey of rediscovery by giving you artists in their deepest and most intimate form, we announce our next guest Akan.

Akan is one of Ghana’s most captivating musicians. He raps in his native dialect Akan hence his bold ownership of the name. He fears no one, he is claiming the throne.

Come 25th Feb 2017, we host Akan for a two-hour in-depth performance, no censorship, completely raw and intimate.

We are bringing the attention back where it matters, with the artist & their music. Don’t miss this night.

Venue: Nubuke Foundation, East Legon

Gate:   10 Ghs

 

6th Classics In The Park Pays Tribute to Filmmaker Ousmane Sembène

6classics

Africa Film Society’s free outdoor film showcase ‘Classics in the Park’ will pay tribute to legendary Senegalese filmmaker, Ousmane Sembène for its 6th Edition. Slated for February 25th, 6pm at Akola Boni Park in Osu, Nyaniba Estate, this edition aims to familiarize Ghanaian film audience with the works of the man considered to be father of African cinema through his 1975 film Xala and 2015 biographical documentary film Sembène!.

Largely self-taught, Sembène was a prolific writer and director. His films and literature provide candid portrayal of Colonialism and the fallings of religion and the new African bourgeoisie. His first feature film, Black Girl (1966) is a critical account of the isolation of a young Senegalese domestic servant working with an affluent French family in Antibes.

In Xala (1975), Semebène takes on the new African bourgeoisie in a biting satire about a westernized black bourgeoisie rendered impotent on the day of his wedding to his third wife. It was screened at the Moscow International Film Festival in 1975 and was ranked among ‘The 100 Best Films of World Cinema’ in 2010 by the Empire Magazine.

Sembene was a member and co-founder of the Senegalese Association of filmmakers and the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI). He was a jury member at Cannes in 1967, Berlin (1977) and Venice (1983). His film, Moolaade (2002) won the Certain Regard prize in Cannes in 2004, subsequently becoming the first African director to hold a leçon de cinèma there. He died in June, 2007 at the age of 84.

ousmane-sembene

More about Africa Film Society:

Africa Film Society seeks to preserve and promote Africa’s rich cinematic legacy while cultivating new filmmakers and nurturing an audience for their work. Through our ‘Classics in the Park’ initiative, we are bringing free outdoor cinema to communities focusing on early African films (1950’s – 1990’s).

 

Beat Tapes & Music: The Producers Turn

It seems we are in that era where producers don’t want to be in the shadows any longer-producing music for artistes and having their signature name on the songs. Producers seem to be desiring the bright lights of stardom. Some are brave to make their presence known and felt beyond their core fans to a broader audience. They are doing this by producing their own music.

A few days ago, two of Ghana’s known producers-Kuvie and Mike Millz On’Em released four self-produced singles and a beat tape respectively. First is Kuvie (of Villain Sounds) whose four singles named Senses have the prospects of making waves across the radio. Here is the breakdown of the songs:

HIGH: The first single ‘High’ featuring KiDi and Cina Soul with its up-tempo afrobeat influence rides heavy on what is gradually becoming Kuvie’s sonic signature: strings, piano chimes, low thumping drum in minimal tones. KiDi and Cina Soul sing about how they get high on love. The melody is catchy and the lyrics very simple. Cina Soul adds the desired dose of soulfulness to the tune for balance. This isn’t the first time KiDi and Cina have been on a song together. She featured him on ‘Baddo’ off her 2016 EP Metanoia

DEEP (Into You): For many, Zepora and Darko Vibes may be unfamiliar names but they are on course to becoming known voices on the music scene. On Deep, another love themed song, the two croon about being too deep in love. Kuvie’s Deep is an EDM crafted tune embedded with African sound elements like xylophones and atumpan. Whereas Zapora begs her man not to leave her because ‘I’m so into you’, Darko vibes, with his deep voice (slightly auto-tuned a la PND) assures his love that ‘all my heart is for you’. The 808 sounds like guitar made. (Note: Zapora was featured on the DJ Kess produced track Pilolo).

DUMB: I haven’t heard a raunchy song delivered in such smoothness like on this Ria Boss featured song Dumb in a while. Assuming different characters/persona, Ria Boss, in a style reminiscent of Missy Elliott projects her ‘bad girl’ side. Lyrics such as ‘beat it up/dripping wet just enough/talking that dirty shit’ and ‘I’ll be talkin’ nasty you know/ but I come with the action’ gives you a sense of what the song is about.

LOST: Kidd Black is one of the highly regarded hip hop rappers around and on this tune Lost, along with BS and Spacely (Villain Sound artistes) talk about their love interest. This time Kidd Black raps about his faithfulness ‘so many women around me but they ain’t you’. Kidd was on the hook as well. BS did four lines in Spacelyz’ verse to complete the story they began over trap beats. (Kuvie will be releasing his debut LP in April, 2017).

MIKE MILLZ ON’EM

The first time I saw Mike Millz was at YoyoTinz Block Party where he made a beat live at the sidelines of the 2016 Chalewote festival. After producing songs for almost every big name artistes around, he has turned his attention to creating something different. On his Trap life Beat Tape III, Mike Millz is balming 5 classic highlife tunes along modern trap influences.

The reworked songs are Abofra (kojo Antwi), Obiara, Sii Nana (Bessa Simon), Dedeede (Dr. K. Gyasi) and Obi Abayewa (Geroge Darko). Mike Millz samples known sections of these songs (hooks, bridges and Yaa Amponsah riffs) and lays them over trap beats. Another technique he employs is to fade at intervals, sections of the songs (I think the fading was too much). The vocals despite made to sound ‘distant’ and hazy, didn’t take anything away from the compositions. Based on the title of this tape, one realizes that Mike Millz’ major focus is towards balming these songs in trap vibes rather than recreate the songs in full. In Mike Millz and Yung Fly, these old classic highlife tunes are getting a re-make to sit with the current trap wave. Check it out.

ALBUM REVIEW: SAMPHA –PROCESS

process

Sampha’s debut album was undoubtedly highly anticipated. After scoring features on songs by some of today’s big artistes, attention from major music websites and blogs turned to the British-Sierra Leonean, whose voice is as distinctive as the charm he brings to songs.

My first encounter with Sampha was on ‘Too Much’ off Drake’s 2013 album ‘Nothing Was The Same’. ‘Too Much’ was a song he had recorded and (un)fortunately, Drake and his team heard it, got enamoured and sampled. In-between 2013 when his voice reached millions of people to 2016, he went off radar (for lack of a better word). Sampha juggled between caring for his sick mother, occasionally releasing singles and going totally silent. He secured, however, spots on Frank Ocean’s ‘Alabama’, Saint Pablo by Kanye West and Solange’s amazing album ‘A Seat At the Table’ on the song ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ and ‘Mine’ by Beyonce. (These first three individuals, Sampha credit as playing a significant role in him completing his album). Now, the world can enjoy in full, the amazing talent that is Sampha, thanks to Process.

Process, his major debut, is a 10 track full album (40 minutes long) that leans on pop, jazzy/soul and electro-pop. Process also showcase a bit of African rhythmic influences. Through these influences, Sampha and his voice meander through carefully crafted piano and drum patterned beats, mesmerizing and switching on the emotional pipe-of love, fear and loss in a calm yet sorrowful tone.

These themes – of love is amply captured on songs like the piano driven ‘Take Me Inside’, ‘Under’ and ‘Incomplete Kisses’-which fit the R&B ballads of the early 90s to mid-2000s. On the gospel toned ‘(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano’ (a standout track), ‘Timmy’s Prayer’, ‘Reverse Faults’ and ‘What Shouldn’t I Be? Sampha talks about losses-personal in nature like the hollowness and emotional rollercoaster the passing of his mum had inflicted on him.

‘Plastic 100C’ and ‘Blood On Me’ reflect a certain fear that Sampha is struggling to wrestle; to escape from. ‘Kora Sings’ like the title of the song carries an instrumentation steeped in Malian music tradition. The Kora and drum/percussion led song carries an up-tempo feel that would get you moving in rhythms (the percussion rained on the song sounds like an old Ghanaian highlife classic ‘Y3 Wo Adze’ by A.B. Crentsil. Don’t forget, Sampha was in Ghana in 2013 to work with Solange on her album and perhaps, it was during that time that he ‘stumbled’ on those rhythms).

samp

credit: Sampha’s twitter page

Listening to Sampha, one notice how easy his voice convey his thoughts. His voice is absolutely soothing if not heavenly. It’s like a soft pillow on which you rest your head after a hard day’s stress. His songwriting talent is brilliant. He is very detailed in his descriptions and potent with one liners or phrases. Apart from the popular ‘No one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home’ phrase (on ‘No One Knows), lyrics such as ‘magnetic lights in a blue high haze/magnifying glass upon my face, it’s so hot I’ve been melting out here’ (Plastic 100C); and the opening line on ‘Blood On Me’ where he croons with panting fears ‘I crashed the whip, and street threw me, and you pulled me, and wiped my screen’ are detailed story writing that could cause Frank Ocean to raise a brow.

‘Under’ is also adorned with beautiful poetic phrasing ‘waves come crashing over me/I’m swimming in an open sea’ and ‘I’m still swimming in those eyes/ You made it rain like you owned the sky’. ‘Under’, sounds like the type of song The Weeknd would wish to have his name over it (with a touch of unapologetic debauchery). Tell me ‘my rib cage open my heart pulled out/I’ve lost another one’ is drenched in sorrow, even if masked. The bagpipe sound that lay beneath the song can’t be ignored.

Process has been described as ‘haunting’ and ‘grief laden’ by many. And they are not wrong considering the fact that, the loss of his mother was the clutch on which the album came to fruition. It is not the tone or inspiration behind the album-grief-that makes ‘Process’ amazing, soothing and gorgeous. It is more because it is honest riddled. It is very hard for an album borne from a place of unreserved honesty to be overlooked just like Frank Ocean’s ‘Channel Orange’ or Solange’s ‘ASATT’ or even Usher’s ‘Confessions’. 

Process is Sampha’s major step at stepping away from the chamber of loss (‘challenges come and challenges go’) to the light of healing and happiness (you need to grow) as said on Process’ closing track ‘What Shouldn’t I Be?’

Concert: RELEVANCE ROCKS with Michelle McKinney Hammond at Alliance Francaise, Accra

As a bestselling author, speaker, singer and television presenter, Michelle McKinney Hammond has authored over 40 books (selling over two million copies worldwide), She has appeared on countless television shows including Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect, E Channel’s “Soap Talk,” NBC’s The Other Half and She has also graced the cover of magazines such as Today’s Christian Woman, Precious Times, The Plain Truth and Gospel Today. 
She has been a contributing writer for Spirit Led Woman, Discipleship Journal and has been featured in articles in Shine, Essence, Ebony, Jet, Black Enterprise Magazine and The Chicago Tribune.

Two Years ago, Michelle McKinney Hammond envisioned a place where people of all ages , from all walks of life could gather in a contemporary, non-denominational setting that felt like a safe community for spiritual discovery, personal empowerment and transformation. This birthed a movement called Relevance a concert set for the 4th of February 2017 at Alliance Francaise Accra at 8pm.

Out of that movement, a new sound was birthed, original music laced with rock and African percussion with edgy lyrics and crossover appeal, soon created a buzz as the sound spilled out of the warehouse where they gathered to secular venues, universities, churches as well as major conferences around town. The reviews has been outstanding, their first CD “Forever” will be released at the end of the year.    

Michelle offers an electric musical experience fusing a unique blend of Rock and African rhythms that is sure to uplift you. The songs are infectious causing all to sing along and dance!

Date: Saturday 4th February, 2017 at 8 PM

Rate: 25 GHC for Adults, 15GHC for AF students and Cultural members. FREE for children under 16.         

 Social Media Contact

@mckinneyhammond-Twitter

Michelle McKinney Hammond-Facebook

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dvahrt77-Skype