THE CUTS: EP 01 Vol. 3

KO-JO CUE: THE WAVE

CUE is back again! This time round, with another street banging tune that will surely make waves (pun intended). After releasing another bouncy, crowd pulling song laced in good-old boom-bap Wole (which sampled Lauryn Hills’ “Lost One’), and the BBnZ artiste returns with “Waves” after months of quietness.

Ko-Jo Cue, on this Retro produced bouncy trap beat, is heard talking about success, jealousy and hard work. Interspersing English with Twi, Cue didn’t mince words about the fakeness in the music industry: ‘they only love you when you’re on top/they only love you when your song drops’. He continues: ‘some people never wanna see you hot’. Cue in that same verse point out how some artistes are all happy to record demos with you but hate on your success, literary ending the verse on : what’s a demo when you are a master (double entendre?)

Ko-Jo Cue seems to hit a notch higher with each single he releases. His stellar songwriting (stole my style and I made a new one), his chest thumping confidence and measured tones despite an obvious boast is clever- a trick endearing him to new fans and bolstering his support among his fans.

I don’t know when Ko-Jo Cue is going to drop an album but judging by the series of singles he has been dropping lately, all who love good rap and lyricism should brace up for an album soon.  ‘Don’t compare me to new niggas chale/ they see new niggas pop up every day and niggas wanna  compare me to them… when they gon’ I’ll still be here’, that voice at the beginning of the song told us.

 

DARKO VIBES – TOMORROW

Ga music can actually ride smoothly on highlife instrumentals, quite ironic, but it can. Darko Vibes did exactly that with this banger!  With relatable lyrics, Darko Vibes talks about how he needs his partner by him through the hard times. As a token of his appreciation, he’d get her expensive things to soothe her pain: “Here’s a tissue for your tears oh baby/ We nor go finish like this I promise you/ Ma hĕ tsorne ma hã bo(I’d buy a car for you) / Stick with me”.

Darko doesn’t want the woman he loves to give up on him, especially through his current struggle: “Baakã emasei shikome po/ Ejaak3 pinmor n33 eny33 d)) / Things go change/ E ma dear kaanami gbomor kpong“. Eventually, he’s never going to leave her when he gets his breakthrough, especially since she’s been by him throughout, adding: If yawa gb33 me today/ Wey i nor tell you my mind then i fool/ if i no make tomorrow/wey you no know my mind then abi fool’. He believes their union is just right!  After all, it has been blessed by his mom, so why give up on this now?: “We nor reach this far make you come and give up on me now, Jee after ni.

MIKEMILLZON’EM FEAT AKAN – KAE

Producer MikeMillzOn’Em recruits Akan for his gloomy mid-tempo record “Kae” (Remember) reminding us all the need to be grateful. Akan assures himself of a bright future that awaits and reminds himself not to forget the struggles that will contribute to this success. He raps his way to the chorus where he repeats passionately “Kae o Kae o Kae o” the need to appreciate the darkness when light reaches us: ‘fact that a smile has broken on ones face doesn’t mean the gloom is hidden forever’

MikeMillzOn’Em came in with bouncy drum patterns on gloomy trap melodies with accompanying horns to help establish essence of remaining grateful to every helping hand you meet on your journey of life, a message which should resonate with everyone. Akan, one of the young rappers with a tongue full of wits, matched the drums well-spaced beats with lyrics that resonate with the listener: ‘if your truth is more than your lies/ examine the lies of your past’. I’ll graciously welcome a joint project between these two masters-one of the beat and the other of lyricism.

 

HONDRED PERCENT – RONNING

Think the Sugar Hill Gang and their spoken rap with just a piano melody. That’s the path poet and rapper, Hondred (pronounced 100) Percent chose for his latest outing ‘Ronning’; the first single off his April scheduled EP release. Ronning is a slang word for ‘wooing’ (a female) and here, Hondred did not mince words.

He went in with 100% confidence- his words are sweet: “lady my natural flavor is distinction” and his confidence and swag resplendent: “you need diamonds? /I’ll supply you daily cos I’m NWJ- Nigga with Jewelry”. Hondred Percent need not beg for her number despite handing his over. He deciphered hers based on her physical appearance. Ronning is one you must listen.

 

Village Minds Production presents AMALE

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Village Minds Production and Alliance Francaise presents “AMALE”. Amale as an event will encompass music, drama, spoken word, poetry and dance. The event will happen on the 8TH Day of April, 2017 at Alliance Francaise, Accra at 8 pm prompt

Amale seeks to question the status quo and make ridicule of the gullible nature of man. Poetry performance, music and hilarious dramatic acts will take center stage as Ghana’s poetry and spoken word performers mount the stage to make you laugh, cry and ask questions. Have you ever been to a funeral and heard a bad comment made about the deceased? Have you ever wondered why people get married? Do you really believe in the efficacy of medicines sold to you at Lorry station and in buses? Well, AMALE will put all the lies on stage and let you do the rest of the thinking.

AMALE is a Ga word which loosely translated means, a lie or Lies. Man has accepted everything without asking questions and such attitude has the tendency of destroying us as a people. Performances will look at very touchy attitudes within the Ghanaian society and ridicule them with the sole purpose of drawing the audience’ attention to the ills of society and provoking them to either eschew or make corrections for the betterment of all.

Ghana as a country has imbibed a habit of celebrating persons when they are long gone and cannot see and appreciate what is being done to honour them. Amale will feature poems from Kofi Awoonor, Kwesi Brew, Attukwei Okai, Kofi Anyidoho, Fiifi Abaidoo amongst others. The performance will also feature Nj Braso, Koo Kumi, Brenda Bakomoro, Koo Kumi, Nene Tetteh Adusu and Selikem Geni.

 

For those who do not know, Village Minds Production over the last two years have been known to produces fine and quality theatrical performances. In November of 2016, they staged THE LOVE OF MAMVI, then, in 2016 the performed the hilarious play, HOMELESS all at the Amphitheatre of Alliance Française.

This performance is brewed in the pots of Village Minds Production and directed by WK Dzewornu-Norvor and ably supported by Nii Ayi Solomon and Cygishmel Da’Cherub.

Amale is powered Blaqsheep Multimedia Group.

 

Throwback: Chico Dawuni – Kasa

You’ll be forgiven if his name does not ring a bell loud enough to shake the walls of your memory. His tenure within the Ghanaian music circuits was shorter than his first name. However, his debut single made a decent impression on the radio playlists and some charts in the country. A promising talent who faded into oblivion after his first single ‘Kasa’.

Daniel ‘Chico’ Dawuni released his single in 1998 under the Adabraka based Kay’s Frequency Music Production imprint, which was also the home of afro-rap, pidgin propagating NFL (Native Funk Lords). One fact on Chico was that, he was the brother of Ghanaian reggae legend Rocky Dawuni, although that impact and success of Kasa was not influenced by that fact by any huge margin. Kasa was a good song in its own right.

Kasa (Talk/Speak) was a mix between R&B and (contemporary) highlife. Note that most of the Ghanaian highlife songs filed under the ‘contemporary’ tag were largely influenced by the R&B waves of that time. Remember Ded Buddy, Nana Quame and the late Dasebre Dwamena years later. Ded Buddy and Chico Dawuni were the pacesetters of that musical trend. The release happened whiles Chico was a student at the University of Ghana, Legon where he graduated with a degree in Political Science and Psychology.

Chico’s ‘Kasa’ touched wrong assumptions; lack of communication and acknowledgement of one’s efforts despite doing your best in relationships. He talked about his lover’s intentions on walking away because he couldn’t afford her the latest fashion –clothes and shoes. Though the hook had him vowing to offer her the attention she craves for, her failure to tell him what she really required was the unfortunate part of their relationship.

The video was shot at His Majesty (HM) Night Club (one of Accra’s swankiest night clubs) with Chico pulling off some Jodeci dance moves and expressions. The director employed both colour and black and white scenes (the black and white at the latter part of the video). The video also had cameos from VIP (Promzy, Friction) and Omahene Pozo.

One interesting thing I noticed watching the video was the fashion sense of that era. Yes, kicks was still in vogue. But, in there was Car Wash denims (now a Chance The Rapper favourite), leopard patterned slacks and those oversized suits worn by that three man dancers (damn *rick ross voice).

 

 

Interview: Music Producer And Film Maker Edem Dotse talks the making of Waves and other projects

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Edem Dotse (R) with Sutra strategizing

There are some people you meet on many occasions yet do not quiet put a thumb on who they are or what they do, although you know many within the circle of friends they keep. Their personality becomes a curious case to unravel. When that unraveling is to happen remains a question you can’t really tell. Then, it happens. You stumble on a piece of information that sheds a layer of your curiosity. Your idea of who the person is becomes a little clearer. The full picture, however, comes into view when his name pops up along a piece of creativity. Although they curiosity bubble is burst by now, you still are not satisfied. You need to know more about the person. So, like Kendrick Lamar said on To Pimp A Butterfly: ‘You go looking for answers’.

Edem Dotse is one person who was a curious case to me, even though we’ve met a few times. Our conversations never went past the usual ‘how be?’ and its accompanying handshakes and finger snaps. I surmised he was a creative of some sort –you can’t hang with the Decaf Team if you aren’t a creative of some sort (just saying). Edem is a man of many hats-a music producer and a film maker.

A product of Ashesi University, Edem Dotse was a co-director on the recently released narrative film, Waves/The Water, by singer SUTRA. The brilliantly made film has been critically acclaimed for its beauty, aesthetics and ability to capture the essence of life, growth and womanhood in a way that leaves whoever sees it in awe. ‘Waves/The Water’ has been described in many ways- ranging from ethereal, raw, timeless, essential and passionate.

Seeing his name in the credits for ‘Waves/The Water’ along with the heap of praise SUTRA dispensed on him and others involved, I decided it was time to talk to this quiet, laid back yet amazing Edem Dotse about his involvement in the making of the film; the challenges encountered; his passion for film making, which he describes as ‘a fascinated medium’; his passion for music production, his future plans and how the arts in Ghana could be grown.

First, thanks for doing this. How did you get involved in the whole process?

My pleasure. So basically Sutra reached out to me about wanting to make a video for Waves. We’d worked together before on her mixtape (The Art of Being) and she knew I was also into film, so it made sense. She had very specific imagery based on what came to her mind when she heard/made the song, and so that was the basis of it. From there we started trading emails and discussing her ideas, and that was the genesis of it.

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Edem (in blue) with Ghalileo and Efua Sutherland on set of ‘Waves’

How long did this idea trading take? And on her previous mixtape, what did you do specifically?

I produced four songs on it. I was primarily producing music before I ventured into film. We started speaking about it in late November, and it was for a little over a month before the actual shoot in early January.

Watching the video, i realized there were a lot of themes drawn from Akan culture-death, symbols, clothes, after-life. How challenging was it to shoot the video and fill it with all the themes?

Man, it was stressful! Sutra was not in town for very long and we basically had about a week to meet with people, put logistics together and rehearse. As you mentioned, the video is full of imagery and we had one day to shoot all of that. It helped a lot that we were working with immensely talented people who had faith in what we were trying to do. About the themes, Akan culture has a lot of depth to it, we tried to draw from the philosophy and poetry of it that tied into Sutra’s vision. Well, we ended up having to shoot some extra scenes later, but I’d say 80 per cent of it was done in one day.

One day to shoot? Wow. You all deserve applauds. I know you as a music guy (a producer) so hearing about you doing films is a surprise. How long have you been in films? And what attracted you?

Ha! Well I’ve been actively studying the craft of film since 2012. But I didn’t start seriously making film until 2015. I’ve always been fascinated by the medium. At some point I began to realize most of my memorable experiences with art have been with film. As a somewhat reserved person, I’m fascinated by how you can open your mind up to the world through it- you can speak through your characters and the worlds you create. I’m also fascinated by the potential to create challenging, non-conventional pieces of work that are full of powerful, relevant ideas that people may or may not pick up on but have a visceral reaction to it. That’s what excited me about working with Sutra on this project.

Is Waves your major work (that has gone public for lack of a better description) or you have others?

I would say yes, it is. Besides that there’s my 2015 short film, Steam Iron on vimeo. I’ve also worked on a short film on schizophrenia that will probably be out later this year.

As a music producer and a film maker, what are the intersections and the point of divergence between these two mediums?

That’s an interesting question (the link between music & film). I think that as a music person, I’m very concerned about the sound design in my work- something I’ve noticed is not common here- the sound of films often feels like an afterthought. I also think that the creating of music, and crafting a musical project is very much like making a film- on a conceptual level- you have to think of themes, motifs, what you want the audience to feel.

What’s the future for you in terms of your creative works-film and music?

In the immediate future, I’m going back to working on music for a bit. I don’t know if I see myself active in the music video scene going forward, but I am definitely open to collaborating on interesting projects with interesting people. I have plans for a few more short films and a feature that will hopefully unfold in a few years from now.

How will you describe, from where you sit, the film making (and music video) scene in Ghana and its music as well?

I feel very optimistic about the creative arts scene in Ghana generally, but I hope we will be able to build sustainable systems to help incubate and support the talent we have here. As for me, in the long term future, I just hope I can keep on making music, or film, or find interesting ways to combine the two.

On your answer to the intersection between music & film, do I sense you have an eye on scoring movies?

About scoring movies, I would say no for now. I’m more interested in helming my own film project, and being very much involved in the scoring process. It’s definitely something I can see myself doing though.

Listen: Mutombo Da Poet releases ‘Fit In’ on Word Poetry Day

‘Looks like I’m surrounded by perfect beings

who try to make me believe that they are flawless

They have no blemish but

I’ve even seen stainless steel rust so I know none is perfect’- FIT IN

This is how one of Ghana’s known poets, Mutombo Da Poet, opens his new spoken word poem ‘Fit In’, a poem reminding us about the beauty in embracing ourselves and our flaws (we are only humans, we make mistakes) -and not bend to the pressures to become something we are not just to be accepted by society or friends.

Released on ‘Word Poetry Day’, Fit In (listen below) highlights the absurdity of hero worshipping (they see their peers as gods because they feel no brain when they touch their temples); lack of self-esteem and confidence (don’t dance to anyone’s rhythm they said but most don’t trust their temples); and the need for self-belief (you never realize potential until you free mindset from those mental chains).

Mutombo Da Poet has been known for being an ‘outsider’ (one who lives on his own terms).He often speaks his mind on numerous issues both in his poems and on social media. On Fit In, he cites his own life as an example to advance his thoughts (I’m not fitting in. Jack is out of the box) whiles bidding all not to ‘confuse my concerns with jealousy’.

He caps off his commentary with these words: I’m not a cool kid there’s no time to impress when death lingers.

 

 

Classics in the Park Celebrates Ghana at 60 with Kwaw Ansah

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Africa Film Society’s free outdoor film showcase ‘Classics In The Park’ will feature legendary Ghanaian Filmmaker, Kwaw Ansah for its 7th Edition. Slated for March 25th, 6pm at Akola Boni Park in Osu, Nyaniba Estate. The award winning director, Kwaw Ansah will be available for a Q&A after the screening of his 1989 film Heritage Africa.

Arguably Ghana’s most accomplished filmmaker, Kwaw Ansah has remained for decades, the face of Ghanaian cinema. His debut film, Love Brewed in Africa Pot (1980), captured the imagination of a young nation with its cynical and often melo-dramatic take on love and classism.

His second film, Heritage Africa (1989) was even more audacious. Made nine years after the first, the film is a portrayal of identity crisis that plagued African elite before independence, and continues today.

Heritage Africa won the grand prize at the 11th Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in 1989, and Best Film at London Film Festival, 1989. The film stars Kofi Bucknor, David Dontoh and Anima Misa.

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).

Media Contact:

Reginald Asare

Public Relations Coordinator

Africa Film Society

Email: africafilmsociety@gmail.com

+ (233)546093969

EP Review: A track- by- track review of ZAMANI EP by AYAT

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There is a difference between boastful talk and confident talk despite the thin line that separate them. The striking evidence that usually separate the two is the product or action that is presented after the talk. The expression, ‘if you talk big, you need to back it up’ becomes the star one need to aim and shoot at.

Since emerging on the mainstream music scene in 2015, off the back of his crowd pulling, trap moulded single IDKY (I Don’t Know You), AYAT (who can forget that epic performance at the 2015 edition of Sabolai Radio?), has seen his stock peak; his confidence shoot up; and the pressure to prove he is not a one-hit wonder, enormous.

The music scene has witnessed a lot of incidence where promising acts crash and burn after just a single song. Others linger on for a while then fade into the ‘one-hit’ chamber of our memories. Amidst the pressure, AYAT kept telling all that he’s not going to crash and burn. Neither is he going to be filed into the one-hit wonder vault. IDKY was that single he needed to break through the door of notice.

To be accepted means releasing more songs that won’t only rival IDKY but topple it in terms of influence. And for the past year, that’s been the mindset of the Madina based rapper. The end result is the release of his debut EP, ZAMANI. The ten track EP was released online on Friday (17th March) after holding an online listening session a day before.

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Working with four of the best producers around- Kuvie, Magnom Beats, Manny Beatz and Kayso, who produced 90% of the EP- and two featured guest -Sarkodie and Ria Boss, AYAT unleashed a solid project on our heads.

Here is a track by track review of the ZAMANI EP

IRON BOY (Intro) (Prod by KaySo)

Unsurprising to hear AYAT speak on the challenges faced by underground artiste and how the contentious issue of featuring underground artistes by mainstream artistes or event organizers putting underground acts for exposure purposes is nonsense ‘because studio time dey cost and exposure no be pay’. Singing entirely through this taut, laid back, piano filled trap beat from the boards of KaySo, he keeps reminding us that ‘he has been hungry for far too long’ (which could be a double entendre-success and real hunger). The Rex Omar ‘ di da da di di’ sample infused into the beat is clearly one that sticks in your head.

PANIE (Prod by KaySo X NXRTH)

Shared production credits between KaySo and NXRTH (Villain Sounds). The title is a reference to a popular Daddy Lumba tune. A true story (if the comment from the beginning holds true). AYAT croons about his debauchery exploits following a hook up between him and a girl whose Whatsapp DP got his attention. You can’t title a song like ‘Dr. Panie’ and not sound unapologetically raunchy.

ANTASHIMUSU (UP) (Prod by KaySo)

This song is strictly addressing the haters, naysers and the doubters who did not believe in him. AYAT didn’t mince his words as evidenced by the opening intro: ‘we are nearing 2018, yet you still rap like you are in 2015 with your childish raps’. Switching between Hausa and English, he declares ‘they can’t defeat us cos God got us’. The song oozes with vigour and the bounce on the beat is crazy. Listening to the song conjured an imagine of @effthedj raving without any inhibitions to this jam. If IDKY got you moving, Antashimusu will definitely bring out your worst behaviour.

PLAY FOR KEEPS (Prod by Kuvie)

One of the singles dropped last year to resounding acclaim, Play For Keeps is a love song on which AYAT, singing in both Hausa, Twi and English, confesses his love to his girl: ‘the fuck boy ways have been ditched since you came my way’. The afro-trap beat accompanying this tune is exquisite and groovy. It passes as one of the best beats off the catalogue of Kuvie- sonically. The 808s slap hard, the xylophones hands the beat extra flavor with AYAT reminding his lover that she’s the only one whether the hard times or good times come.

DAWA (Interlude) (Prod by KaySo)

‘Why didn’t AYAT make a full track out of this?’ is the question I have been asking since I heard this track. The message on the song is simple: Get out there and grind. AYAT reminds the youth: ‘there’s no time to waste when you wake, get to work and make some money’ over a mild-tempo beat. In short, to survive, one’s daily hustle should never be in vein. Dawa is the song you play with the rising of the morning, to inspire you for the day’s task. What comes to mind listening is J.Cole’s ‘Mo’ Money’ (off Born Sinner). ‘Money Apree!!’ is the new anthem!

MAD CITY/ OH LORD (Prod. By KaySo)

This is a two part tune with the first part ‘MadCity’, is an ode to his hometown of Madina where the people are ‘spartans in the city’. Switching between singing and rapping, AYAT itemizes the reasons why Madina is such a ‘Mad city’-a city that doesn’t accommodate the weak. Only the strong survives. On ‘Oh Lord, the minimalistic beat-soft thumping drums and high hats- gives way to robust trap beats with AYAT praying for blessings in life: My vision 20/20 but my Gucci cost 500’. The only reservation I have against this track AYAT choosing not to sing throughout MadCity but dropped in a rap verse which quiet didn’t cut it for me. And it was good to hear him shouting the likes of M.anifest and Blitz The Ambassador, notable rappers who hail from Madina. AYAT is, indeed in good company.

DODO feat Sarkodie (Prod by Magnom Beatz)

One of the singles released during the latter part of the year. ‘Dodo’ (which translate as ‘Monster’ in the Hausa language) has AYAT at his aggressive best. His voice is coarse, striking against the Magnom produced beats to great effect. He outlines his ambitions in the rap game ‘this year I go dance with the stars’. This song is definitely within the comfort zone of AYAT. Whiles promoting the release of this song, AYAT deliberately kept out the fact that he had Sarkodie on the track. So, it came as a surprise hearing Sark not only drop a verse but validating AYAT: ‘thank you for taking me back/back to the essence of rap/first time I hear your track your style got me like fuck’.

MUNZO (prod by KaySo)

‘When we step in the town with my people/ Munzo’. This surely is a banger. The melody is wicked, the groove is crisp and the song, wavy. Munzo, a hausa word which means ‘we’re here’ or we have arrived’ is a party statement with easy to sing along hook. You need to get your dance steps right when this tune drops.

CHANGES (Prod by KaySo)

You can relate to this song better if you’ve woken up at a place which isn’t your home after a night out. AYAT goes back to singing about a wild night out with details still hazy. All he knows is that ‘I’ve been here before/but this no bi home/cos the bed no be comfy/ and these girls no be wifey’. Ria Boss with soulful and tingling rendition, still reeling from her hangover, wants answers to the previous night’s rendezvous: ‘the nights are all blank/can’t remember it all’, after the henny (Hennessey) hit her lips. The trap soul beat on this track is the kind Bryson Tiller would love to hop on.

TAKE OFF (Outro) (Prod by Manny Beatz)

Her, AYAT lays bare his ambitions and success in the rap game despite his relatively short time (even though he has been rapping for a while under the name Billy Banger). Highlighting his collaborative efforts with some big name acts such as EL, Edem and Sarkodie, AYAT tells all ‘I’m gon take off tonight’ to the land of many success.

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The ZAMANI EP has really lived up to its expectation boasting of crisp production, good lyrics, spirited delivery and of course, jams for days. AYAT, whose name means ‘proof’ or ‘miracle’ has, indeed, lived up to his name. And naming the EP ZAMANI-which translate as new era or generation- AYAT is ushering us into a new dawn, a new place where good lyrics could marry awesome trap beats in a beautiful way.