Sarkodie host album listening for his album ‘Highest’

The Electroland office space in the Samsung building at the Ring Road played host to a Sarkodie private album listening session yesterday. With journalists, bloggers and friends present, Sarkodie answered questions from a section of the audience on his career, family, experiences and his new album.
The ‘Highest’, slated for release on Friday, September 8th, will be Sarkodie’s fifth studio album since making an entry into the music space in 2009. The 18 track album span the genres of hiphop and afropop with highlife influences. With Jayso as the producer of the album, Sarkodie also features artistes like Worlasi, Joey B, Jayso, Victoria Kimani and Nigerian acts Flavour, Koredo Bello and Jesse Jagz.

Hosted by Live FM’s Antoine Mensah, the session was simple, well-attended, intimate (courtesy the space), lively and conservational. It was Antoine who revealed Sarkodie has, in 2017 released just two singles (‘Pain Killer’ and ‘Gbozaa’). The rest have been verses on songs by other artistes. Surprisingly, this album has none of the young acts he has worked with. The only ‘new artist’ featured was Worlasi, who came upon the recommendation of album producer Jayso. He described Worlasi as ‘just incredible’ and loved his ‘state of mind when it comes to his creativity’.

On the inspiration behind the album, Sark indicated that, his daughter, Titi, heavily influenced his creativity in terms of what songs to make and what to say. ‘Even though she doesn’t understand a word of what I say, I had to be very self-conscious of what I say’, he added. ‘Highest’, Sarkodie revealed wasn’t made with radio in mind. He made it for the fans.
On why he decided to work with Jayso, he revealed it was because of the history the two of them share. Jayso was the brain behind some of the biggest hits Sarkodie had made since his career began in 2009. ‘Jayso knows my story (begins) and felt he’s the right guy to produce this album’. The two had had a good working relationship which resulted in an unrealized collaborative album, ‘The Mind Game’ despite releasing three singles.

Asked how he handles the pressure that comes with his position as the leading artiste in Ghana, he confessed it wasn’t easy from the beginning. ‘I’ve matured now so it’s a little easier’, although he admitted it’s still work in progress. 

Recording of the ‘Highest’ began some two years ago ‘around the time ‘Bossy’ came out. The thing with Jayso is that,you can’t rush the work. It takes time’, he indicated. As part of the promotion of the album, tours across Europe, the US and Ghana was announced. 

Jayso intimated how much work has gone in the making of the album, the doubts of Sarkodie on hosting an album listening for fear of ‘leaks’ and getting corporate organizations to get involved. On the subject of free downloads and leaks, Jayso siad they are guarding against it. He appealed to music journalists and platforms to at least share links of songs to the music hosting platforms of the artistes rather than ‘owning’ the songs. ‘It may not bring us money but we can show the numbers (of downloads or plays) to corporate organizations for sponsorships’, Jayso revealed. 

This point was emphasized by Sark during the Q&A session where he appealed to all to patronize their artistic creations as the Nigerians do with their artistes. The support system in Nigeria is seen in the quality of music and videos their artistes release. Despite the success of some Ghanaian artistes, their videos don’t measure to standards. 

The audience were played six songs from the album. Six music videos for the songs ‘Overdose’, ‘Baby Mama’, ‘Glory’, ‘Your Waist’, ‘We No Dey Fear’ and ‘Come To Me’ were screened exclusively for the invited guests. According to Sark, ten videos have been shot and would be released in due time. One thing is clear from watching the video: they do smell like money. Sark dropped the money bag for the videos. Exotic as hell. 
‘Highest’ is the fifth album in his catalogue, coming after Makye, Rapperholic, Sarkology and Mary. 

And let me add this: the new Samsung QLED TV offers you that fantastic viewing experience. The picture quality is mind blowing. And, electronic maker NASCO has entered the phone making market. Sarkodie was presented with a branded version of their phone. 

Concert Review: ‘PhreakOutLive’ Concert hosted by BeatPhreaks

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Having to make a decision on whether to go home or attend an event you have looked forward to is always a tough choice. That was me last Friday. Throughout the day, I was caught in a quandary: go home and get some rest considering the busy week I’ve had or be at Alliance Francaise, Accra to experience what the much talked about PhreakOutLive was all about.

At 6:30 pm, I was contemplating which of the options to take. Going home would mean missing out on whatever fun the night would be serving. It would mean waiting for another year to experience the wave. Attending the event also meant staying out late, the struggle with getting a car back home. I came to a decision after an hour: I was going for PhreakOutLive.

8:35 pm was when I got to the venue. The Musical Lunatics were prepping, playing some mellow jams to the small crowd present. Even when Official Kwame, the MC on the night introduced the first act of the night, the amphitheater of Alliance Francaise wasn’t fully packed. People were still filing in. Poet/Spoken word artiste, Hondred Percent opened the night. By the end of his performance, the benches were largely filled.

A sea of performances followed and the artistes on the bill dished an exciting, riveting and memorable show. Nigerian act, Big Ben performed ‘Do My Own’ (a song he did with rapper M.anifest which introduced him to a section of Ghanaians). ‘Do My Own’, according to Big Ben is a response to his dad’s displeasure at his career path.

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Eli Muzik showed maturity on stage. Photo by @rockradiogh

Ria Boss, who performed three songs including ‘Everything’, ‘Love Yourself, and ‘Flame On’ (fan favourite) proved again why she is a big deal. Afro/Neo Soul singer, Eli Muzik delivered one of the best sets of the night. His growth and maturity as an artiste and a performer were on display. His vocal control and his ability to direct his band affirmed this observation.

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Ria Boss Photo credit @kuu_ire

By the time producer Kuvie took over for his set, the crowd was already hyped for whatever was to come. Each one of the previous performances had upped the excitement a bit higher. Bringing out fellow Villainaires (artistes/collaborators of Villain Sounds), Kuvie’s set was an energy spreading episode. New comers OneRJZ, $pacely, Nxwth, KiddBlack and Darkovibes were irrepressible. With their trap-influenced tracks, they got the crowd roaring. The euphoria had hit a crescendo by the time Darkovibes performed his hit song ‘Tomorrow’. One guy close to me (I was near the stage) was belting out the lyrics like he helped Darkovibes write the song.

One observation made during their performances was the degree of unity existing between these young artistes. They provide a clutch for one another. And they extended same love to new sensation Kwesi Arthur. Songs like ‘Ade Akye’, ‘Prekese’ (his version Future’s ‘Mask Off’) and ‘Grind Day’ have become anthems. Seeing the GroundUpChale act on stage singing/rapping those songs made it extra amazing.

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Kwesi Arthur brought some heat on stage. Photo by @Kuu_ire

If there’s an artiste that impressed so much on the night, it was Yung Pabi. Even though I’d seen his performance once (during a Yoyotinz Open Mic session last year), his set on Friday was a standout. His entry, the choreography and the dramatization of his song were enough proof that he came to make an impression on the audience. And he aced it.

For many fans, A.I was the man they came to see. And he didn’t fail to give fans what they needed. Covering most of the songs-both full singles and hooks for others- from his recent catalog such as the classic ‘Grind’, ‘Paper’, ‘Burn Fat’ and hooks done for others, the 2Ligit artist proved he’s indeed a formidable talent. His voice is as perfect as the one heard on wax. His rapport with the fans who stood inches away from the stage was admirable as well. The call for an encore wasn’t fully honoured because of time.

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Villy knows how to thrill. Photo by @Kuu_ire

When the incredible Villy (of Xtreme Volumes) came on, the crowd had left or were leaving, which was very sad. But, that didn’t diminish his performance. As he told the crowd who stayed, he doesn’t ‘care if you’re 10 people or 100 people. I’m performing for you’. Villy is a master act. He exudes energy and knows how to rock a stage. He can hit notes without struggle. The crowd was indulgent, singing along to some of his very popular songs such as the political charged ‘Wia My Money’. For over 20 minutes, he was dishing out great vibes with a touch of class.

Two things are worth criticizing. First, the sound was poor to an extent. There were periods where one the sound from the band overpowered the singing of the artistes. Ria Boss suffered that. Same happened during Kuvie’s set. Also, the list of performers could have been structured well. Villy should have performed before A.I since it appeared many came to see him.

The Musical Lunatics were exceptional on the night. The band confirmed their status as one of the best, if not the best band around. There were moments I found myself looking around, wondering if some of the artistes were performing to a dubbed instrumentation CD. But, it was all the handiwork of the Musical Lunatics. Nii Quaye and his boys are untouchable. Ayorkor impressed with both her performance and backing duties.

As Official Kwame put it, the essence of PhreakOutLive is to provide a platform for young artistes on the come up to showcase their talents to the new music fans. The artistes featured lived up to the ethos of the event. They recognized the opportunity given them and they equally gave out their best on the night. For this, and DJ KEYZUZ deserve encouragement and support to keep this event going for many years

 

Casting Call for a Video Shoot

Are you a young female interested in featuring in an all Melanin video?

Do you have that Melanin that glows in the dark? You know, that kind that looks and tastes good with caramel.

If you do, then you SHOULD join a team of female creatives who plan on delivering MELANIN in a video by women and for women! Let’s show the world our melanin glow.

Contact the numbers in the poster above on how to get involved. Call/Text/WhatsApp us now!

Special Book Reading with Trevor Getz

​Writers Project of Ghana, Blaxtarlines, and the Museum of Science and Technology, Accra, invite you to a reading and interaction session with Trevor Getz, professor of history and Chair of the Department of History, San Franscisco State University and director, Initiative for Public Humanities.

Trevor Getz is the author of the graphic novel, Abina and the Important Men (Oxford University Press, USA , 2011). Illustrated by Liz Clarke, this book is based on an 1876 court transcript of a wrongfully enslaved West African woman, Abina Mansah. Abina escaped to British-controlled territory and then took her former master to court. The main scenes of the story take place in the courtroom, where Abina strives to convince a series of “important men” — a British judge, two Euro-African attorneys, a wealthy African country “gentleman”, and a jury of local leaders — that her rights matter.

Trevor Getz is the author of several academic publications, and is currently working on a two-volume world history for Oxford University Press, an edited volume on scholarly and popular approaches to the past for Ohio University Press, and a monograph on the intersection of slavery, parenthood, adulthood and marriage in nineteenth century Gold Coast (West Africa).

Trevor enjoys building models of RAF fighters, reading speculative fiction, and playing with trains.

You are cordially invited to join us at this special reading.

Date: Wednesday, 12th July, 2017

Time: 7.00 PM – 8.00 PM

Venue: Museum of Science And Technology, 2 Barnes Road, Adabraka, Accra.

Admittance is Free.

Ria Boss and Black Girls Glow share inspiration behind albums

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Ria Boss (photo credit: Dandano)

Ria Boss shares inspiration behind ‘Find Your Free’ EP
The weekends are never quiet. They are always filled with activities –either at the personal or social level. From domestic activities in the first half of the day to settling into an ambiance of fun later in the evening, one thing is certain: the heart and lungs of the city continue to beat and breathe unceasingly.

So, this past weekend, the Culartblog crew got busy on each day of the weekend; attending two exciting events at two different sides of the city. Curiosity and interest are the wheels on which we ride and the city never fails in offering those opportunities. One of the best mediums to gauge the vibrancy of the art scene in Accra is based on what happens mostly on weekends. Not a weekend goes by without the city hosting an art event.

On Saturday, AccradotAlt hosted singer Ria Boss_ on their ‘Sabolai Radio Set’, a series where artistes share their works and discuss the various inspirations behind their creations with fans. Ria Boss was on hand to share her six track EP, Find Your Free (which was released in April) and discuss the construction of the project with those present.

‘’Find Your Free’’ is a personal tale about her transition from a darker place to stepping into the sunlight. Ria Boss took the brave step of using her personal experiences- a bad relationship- to inspire others, especially her fellow ladies to find within themselves, the strength to step away from toxic relationships or the bubble of restrain. ‘’Find Your Free’’ is a ‘don’t let anything hold you back’ sermon.

During the Q&A session, it became clear that, the EP was a therapy session for Ria Boss after breaking free from the shackles of a bad relationship. A love relationship for her is a sacred thing which must not be taken for granted. In her view, if someone allows you into their life-which she called a ‘sacred ground’, you don’t sully it through acts of contempt or betrayal of trust.

With so many artistes serving as her influences, Ria Boss realized she had a knack for singing when her mother stopped driving to commend her talent as a child during a journey. But, it wasn’t until she went to the US (New York) and found herself in the midst of some very creative and artsy fellows that she took her singing seriously. That’s what I enjoy about album listening sessions-the backstories makes you appreciate the artiste and their work even better.

A confident soul who has unhinged herself from the shackles of the past and is now buzzing in a new world of freedom; living her life with little care about what others feel or say; confident enough to wear her vulnerabilities not as an logo of boast but to inspire others. She is a singer with bigger dreams.

Ria Boss is like the early morning sun: radiant, adorable, hopeful. That was the impression I left the AccradotAlt headquarters with about her.

PS: Ria Boss needs someone to gift her a cat since she couldn’t bring hers from the US. Show love to Hajia Kitty. 

                           

                       Black Girls Glow 

(Photo credit: Papa Oppog) 

One of the benefits of taking part in a residency programme is replicating what you learnt upon your return to advance the industry you find yourself in. One person who is doing just that is Poetra Asantewa. 

Upon her return from a ‘One Beat’ residency programme for poets, writers and musicians from across the world in the US last year, she conceived an idea to replicate same here in Ghana. The result is ‘Black Girls Glow’, an initiative that seeks to promote the works of female artist in various sphere of the arts world.

The first project under the ‘ ’ is the release of an album. The listening session was held on Sunday at the Front Back, a very serene hide out in Osu. Even though it’s located in a well-known neighborhood, it’s not an easy place to locate.

The album is 12 tracks long and features 6 female artistes – two poets (Poetra and Dzyadzorm); three singers (Cina Soul, Adomaa and Ria Boss) and one rapper (Fu). The themes of the album are mostly about empowerment and the challenges of being a woman.

‘Collaboration make things faster. It takes you far’– Poetra Asantewa

Work on the album began in January 2017, following the conception of the idea in October, 2016. There was a two day residency in April after which the recording process commenced.

The six artistes on the project were selected based on the fact that, they were the ones ‘directly available to me; who were within my community; who I thought would have the time and dedication’, according to Poetra. Although there are plans to include other women from diverse fields like producers, videographers, visual artistes, curators, promoters, this first project ‘would make it (the initiative) more vocal’, she explained

In the future, there would be a ‘submission process based on certain criteria that the artiste must meet’. On the creative process, she revealed they received over 40 beats from various producers and only 12 made the cut. Resources- financial and time- was limited and that impacted the creative process- studio time for instance was short as each artiste went in at various times.

It was such a delight to see artists like Bright Ackwerh, Papa Oppong and Isaac Opoku (winner of the 2017 Kuenyehia Art prize) donate some of their works for auction to support the ‘Black Girls Glow’ initiative.  And shouts to Irene Donati for being involved with this whole project.

Two spoilers though: The album spans different genres and artiste validated their presence on the project. They seek to release the project on Friday.

Follow @BlackGirlsGlow for more information.

Special Book Reading with Author, Nana Malone

Writers Project of Ghana presents USA Today best-selling author, Nana Malone, in our second special reading for 2017. The event will take place at the One Corner Restaurant, Kokomlemle.

Nana Malone is the author of over 40 books in 8 series. Writing mainly in the genre of pop fiction and romantic comedy, her works include Love Match, In Stilettos, The Protectors, The Chase Brothers and London Calling. Writing under the name Q. Malone, she has authored the novellas Corporate Affairs, Exposed, and The Flirtation.

The books in her series have also been on multiple bestseller lists in the United States of America: Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and the iTunes Breakout books list.
Nana Malone lives with her husband, daughter and puppy in San Diego, USA. You can read more about Nana Malone on her website nanamaloneromance.net.

Don’t miss this opportunity for a highly entertaining interaction with Nana Malone. There will be a book signing and short discussion session after the reading.

Date  : Saturday 1st July, 2017                             Time : 5.00 PM – 7.00 PM                                   Venue: One Corner Restaurant, Mensah Sarbah Rd, Kokomemle, Accra.

Admittance is Free.

One Corner Restaurant,Kokomlemle is up the road from ATTC (Accra Technical Training College), off Ring Road Central. For map directions, Click here 

Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah is Writers Project of Ghana author for June. 

Writers Project of Ghana and the Goethe Institute Accra present Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah as our writer of the month of June.

Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah is a Feminist Activist, Communications Professional, Entrepreneur and Writer. She writes across genres including creative non-fiction, short stories and essays. She is the editor of Women Leading Africa: Conversations with Inspirational African Women, the author of Communications Handbook for Women’s Rights Organizations, and co-author of Creating Spaces and Amplifying Voices: The First Ten Years of the African Women’s Development Fund

She has written for a number of magazines including BBC Focus on Africa, New African Woman and DUST magazine. Her short stories have been published in It Wasn’t Exactly Love a collection of short stories published by Farafina and The Pot and Other Stories published by FEMRITE.

Nana Darkoa runs the blog Adventures from the Bedrooms of African Women. Started in 2009 with co-founder Malaka Gyekye, the blog focuses on women’s sexuality and features stories from several contributors. In 2014, the blog was nominated in the category of New Media Practitioner of the Year.

Nana holds a Diploma in Performance Coaching, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. She is also a graduate of the University of North London with a BSc (Hons) in Communications and Cultural Studies and holds a MSc in Gender and Development from the London School of Economics.

Join us for an exciting evening: an interactive reading session with one of Ghana’s best bloggers.

Date: Wednesday, 28th June, 2017

Time: 7.00 PM – 8.30 PM

Venue: Goethe Institute, 30 Kakramadu Close, East Cantonments, Accra

Admittance is Free.