Writers Project Ghana Host Professor Carina Ray At a Special Reading

Carina-Ray

In our second public event for 2018, Writers Project of Ghana presents author Carina Ray, associate professor of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University, at a public reading and interaction.

This will take place from 6.30 PM at the Writers Project of Ghana office, Haatso, Accra, on Friday, 23rd February, 2018.

Carina Ray is a scholar of race and sexuality, comparative colonialisms and nationalisms, migration and maritime history and the relationship between race, ethnicity, and political power. Carina’s research is primarily focused on Ghana and its diasporas.

Carina is the author of the book Crossing the Color Line: Race, Sex, and the Contested Politics of Colonialism in Ghana, winner of the American Historical Association’s 2016 Wesley-Logan Book Prize, the African Studies Association’s 2017 Aidoo-Snyder Book Prize, and finalist for the United Kingdom African Studies Association’s Fage and Oliver Book Prize.

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Carina’s new book project, a trilogy, engages conceptions of blackness, the body, and human difference, as well as processes of race making and identity transformation across the precolonial, colonial, and post-independence periods in Ghana. She is also the editor of the newly established Cambridge University Press book series, African Identities, editor of Ghana Studies, and member of the Board of Editors of The American Historical Review and History in Africa.

Join us as for an afternoon with Professor Carina Ray on February 23rd 2018 for an informative and interactive session. Copies of her books will be on sale.

Date: Friday, 23rd February, 2018

Time: 6.30 PM – 8.00 PM

Venue: WPG Office, Haatso, Accra. (Third junction to the right along the Agbogba – Ashongman Road, heading from Agbogba junction towards Ashongman).

Click here for a link to Google Maps.

Click here for a map.

Admittance is Free.

 

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“Decemba2Rememba”: A Worthwhile Musical Experience

Four hours of pure fun and excitement. A fulfilling night of incredible energy and showmanship. These were some of the highlights this year’s “Decemba 2 Rememba” offered the many who filled the auditorium of the Accra International Conference Centre. Organized by Citi FM, “D2R” (as it’s known for short) is an annual event, with its white trademark white tops and blue jeans, has in a couple of years, become a cult fixture on the ‘December Event List’ in the country. Advertised as an 8PM event, the show started an hour and few minutes late. Early arrivals were treated to some reels from the Citi FM organized ”Heritage Caravan” trips to while away time. The first act of the night, Adomaa, in her splendid long, African print gown and Angela Davies ball of hair tried to warm the audience up with a mash up of songs. The energy she kicked didn’t ignite the place. Adomaa’s jazzy/soul musical trope isn’t cut for this kind of crowd or ‘jamming’ event. She needs to learn to assert her influence over big audiences with her stage craft; least she ends up being forgotten or ignored .

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B4bonah did his best on stage but his performance elicited an average response. A few in the audience seem to know his two big singles – ‘Dear God’ and ‘My Girl’- and they helped him sing along. The low energy circling the auditorium soon rose when the MC introduced Fancy Gadam. Fancy Gadam proved why he is able to fill up the Tamale Sports Stadium. He came to perform and nailed it. He danced (with his dancers), rapped, sang and got the crowd on the feet throughout his set. His big hit ‘Total Cheat’, drew the same response as his other none cross over hits, all thanks to his personality and energy.

Magnom, later joined by Spacely, did little to match the incredible set of Fancy Gadam. Magnom may have some good songs on radio but his performances are lackluster.

Adina did well to save the night with her impressionable set. Granted it took a few songs to get the crowd excited, she made sure the positive vibes “It’s Too Late” and ”M’akoma” offer resonated across the room. Her vocals were crisp, complimenting her simple yet radiant look- a black crop top over blue jeans and heels.

As the evenings co-host, AJ Sarpong described them, the ‘Lynx Triumvirate’ were the highlight of the evening. Starting with KiDi, his body language on stage was enchanting. And when he sang the first lines of his songs, the audience were in trance-like mood. His two hit songs, ‘Odo’ and ‘Say You Love Me’ were taken over by the audience, singing line by line as if they helped him write the songs. A test of a young artist’s acceptance is his/her ability to get the fans to sing his lyrics with him/her looking on with bewildering excitement.

Like KiDi, Kuami Eugene earned the same reaction. “Angela”, the last song of his performance on the night, after ‘Boom Bang Bang’ lifted the mood to a crescendo. He, like KiDi are on the right path with their onstage presence. All they need now is more platforms to master their craft.

MzVee, with her extensive catalogue ended the Lynx set. Looking all peng on stage, she had to do away with the gown attached to her short. (It was impeding her movement). She struggled to maintain the standard set by her two previous labelmates. But, she earned good fans reaction with her two songs “Davi” and “Say My Name”. If there’s anything worth improving, it’s her live performances. Until then, she shouldn’t close any ‘Lynx’ set when KiDi and Eugene are on the bill. It takes a bit of shine away from it.

Kurlsongz’ two song set- “Feeling Me” and “Jennifer Lomotey” were painfully uninspiring. His laid back, ‘smooth brother’ look douched the energy that had enveloped the room. But that was soon saved by Ebony. In a white, knee level suit and white inner dress, she and her backup dancers gave a dance interpretation of her current hit songs plus some ‘oldies’ as well. “Maame Hwe”, “Hustle”, “Sponsor” and “Posion” got the auditorium roaring as she expected. The positive reaction and passion to entertain were visibly on the night.

King Promise shouldn’t have been the closing act of the night, but assumed that responsibility following the absence of Wutah. He knew the pressure was on, but the young man didn’t sell himself short. Elegantly looking in his khaki pants and black top and dark shades, he left the stage and jammed among the audience in the pews. A smart move if you ask me, since he realized earlier that the initial fan reaction wasn’t as he expected. Performing from his hit repertoire which include songs like the lovely “Selfish”, the party jam “Oh Yeah”, “Hey Sexy” and his verses off “Trouble”. King Promise sold an experience. He made some of his fans, mostly the ladies feel special by singing the songs like he wrote it for them. You could see the level of appreciation on the faces of some of them especially when he did his hook off “Me Ne Woa”. (He was featured by M.anifest on the song).

Artists billed to perform must realize they get booked for shows not only off the back of their hit records. It, therefore, behoves on them to deliver lasting performances since good displays add to their value.

Off the back of his performance, I’ll say King Promise deserve every Ghana Cedi note he charges, less for his incredible songs, but his ability to read the crowd and switch his game up a notch to meet their expectations. His set was one of the highlights of the evening. The performances aside, “Decemba2Rememba” scored high points on certain levels including the Mcship of the night. Osei Kwame and AJ Sarpong did their best, but it was their co-host, Nigerian comedian Bash who stole the night. With his rib cracking anecdotes and stage acting (or antics), he ensured there were no periods of dullness. DJ Armani, who was the DJ of the evening also chalked high points when it came to turning the auditorium into a party ground. His playlists suited the musical palettes of the audience. Those throwbacks were crazy. The cocktail bar for VIP ticket holders was essential for the evening. It would be great if they could extend the ‘working hours’ of the bar. But, there were few blots on the night starting with the quality of sound. The loud sound affected the quality of display of the likes of Adomaa, B4bonah and Adina, who emitted more noise than music during their set. It however, improved over time. Again, the sequencing of acts could be looked at again next year. Although it didn’t kill off the energy on the night completely, some performers were unimpressionable. Artists billed to perform must realize they get booked for shows not only off the back of their hit records. It, therefore, behoves on them to deliver lasting performances since good displays add to their value. Also, event organizers must ensure artists rehearse more to match whatever that get paid. And, can we get artists to stop miming? It’s a live performance artists, not mime performance. The organizers awarding some fans with gifts is great. However, calling on female awardees (mostly plus sized) to dance for the prize was objectifying. The co-MC, Bash may have sought to bring a bit of excitement to the whole award ceremony, but it felt uncomfortable considering the guys awarded weren’t subjected to any ‘dance for prize’ session. As a first timer at “Decemba2Rememba”, I really was impressed by overall organization; from security, to sitting arrangements, MCs and the artists featured. Once the organizers, Citi FM get the few technical challenges sorted, the experience would live with anyone who attends this annual event.

We sourced photos from Citi FM Twitter page & KiDi

Press Release: KayMad Present ”BOUGAINVILLEA”

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KayMad is a rapper and creative artiste at dZZZdope, Inc. who wrote and recorded “Bougainvillea”, a neo-soul tape. According to him, ”Bougainvillea’ expresses my thoughts on life, psycho social pressure, Afro-socialization, depression and suicide: which has a period of time, developed into a bigger body of work to be exhibited this month. The project covers very sensitive topics and features a number of writers and content creators from Ghana and a feature by South African painter, Yolanda “Yodaart” Mazwana”.

In its entirety, Bougainvillea will feature a “five-song tape”, over 25 frames of Writings, paintings, photo sets and a big installation by myself.

Overview of Project

“Bougainvillea”, is an art installation and exhibition by Justice “KayMad” Biney of dZZZdope, Inc. The installation features 20+ framed pieces, 10+ paintings and 2 installations. The exhibition will be headlined by the “Flower Talk”, a three day session that will run from 3-5 PM at the Garden Madiba (African Ark) in Dawhenya.

The gallery will open at 9 A.M on the 13th of December, and would host the exhibition and talk sessions and will close on the 15th of December. As curated by dZZZdope and Garden Madiba, the exhibition will feature writings and paintings by Calvin Ayivie, Otema Yirenkyi, Norvi Esther, Jeffery Agyemang, Fafanyo, Abubakar Lykay, Yolanda Mazwana, Ella Woode and a host of writers and content creators across the continent.

Goals of Project

i. The installations and art pieces should be able to revive energies and create an environment for deeper thinking and self-evaluation as well as resounding assurance for the youth.

ii. To assist individuals facing psychosocial pressure and to suppress suicidal thoughts and create a positive impression about journeys.

Specifications

The exhibition will follow time allocations strictly on set dates. Visitors are allowed to watch, interpret and share across all Social Media but touching, physical altering or removal of any installation or art piece is prohibited.

All Talk Sessions begin at 3PM to 5PM on all days. The entrance toll will be communicated via crew and media representatives across all Social Media.

DAY 1 (13th December, 2017)

“We have come to inspire, to push a generation of geniuses into solutions way sober, to enlighten mankind and to embrace love” – KayMad

Opening Days ans Set

The exhibition will open at 12 P.M. on the 13th of December

Opening Brief + Flower Talk

The opening address and first Flower Talk session will start at 3 P.M. followed by the first performance of the BOUGAINVILLEA TAPE and interpretive conversations.

DAY 2 (14th December, 2017)

The exhibition will resume at 9 A.M. for visitors. The Flower Talk (Soul House Edition) will follow through at 3P.M with another performance of the ‘’Bougainvillea Tape’’. (Sales will be open for buyers to place orders)

DAY 3 (15th December, 2017)

The exhibition opens for sales of ordered prints and Auction Sale of “Dear 5 – 21,” starting at 3,500 Ghana Cedis. The Flower Talk will feature other speakers sharing their personal stories and guidance trails to assist other travelers.

The DJ Set starts from 10 P.M. on Friday, the 15th.

Location Details

The Garden is situated on the right side of the Tema – Aflao (on the left from Aflao -Tema), a few meters before the Dawhenya Entrance Bridge.

Please use the name “Terrazzo” for public commuting to the Garden.

 

Concert Review: M3nsa thrilled at ‘Accra Hip Hop Festival’

One can easily tell an experienced artist from an amateur by how they carry themselves on stage when performing. Their stage movement, sequencing of songs and overall act- ability to find balance between performance and audience interaction. This divide becomes more apparent when they are performing with a live band.

These were on display last night when rapper, producer, singer, M3nsa headlined the ‘Accra Hip Hop Festival’ at Alliance Francaise, Accra.

With his four man band- a drummer, two guitarists and a keyboardist- M3nsa, known also as one half of the FOKN Bois (with Wanlov) and Red Red (with DJ ELO), proved once again that, he isn’t only a great musician, but a performer who can sell an experience.

Scheduled to begin at 8 PM, the show kicked off half an hour late; a situation Wanlov, who was the MC for the evening, humorously ascribed to the massive traffic that engulfed the city during the visit of French President, Emmanuel Macron.

It was sound check when I got to the Alliance Francaise a little after 8PM. The band and the sound man where working on the sound frequency and quality. When all was set, M3nsa joined the band on stage for mic check.

As a curtain raiser, M3nsa returned back on stage to begin the show. Wanlov (MC for the event) introduced three artists who took turns to rap on fresh made M3nsa beats. First act was 7:30, a 17 year old rapper who won a rap competition the FOKN Bois had organized three years ago. Now under the care of Wanlov, he earned his name after scoring 7 out of 30 in a French exams.

Hip-hop act, Lykay performed a series of verses over beats by M3nsa. His composure and confidence on stage was incredible. Sister Deborah came next to perform the famous ‘Ghana Jollof’ track. Wanlov took over and rhymed out lyrics of ‘Super Chompia’, off his debut ”Green Card” album.

When M3nsa came back on stage to perform his set with his band, The Light Off, the sizeable crowd were ready to be thrilled. In his ash T-shirt over a coffee dark khaki pants and black sneakers, he wasted no time in adding to the positive energy swirling among the audience .

Most of the songs performed were from his album, ”No. 1 Mango Street” as well as singles from the DJ Elo collaborative ‘Red Red’ album. ‘Anaa’ set the tone for what was to come. ‘Fante Love Song’, ‘How Far’, and ‘Kelewele Pimping’ got the crowd singing aong with gusto. So impressed was he with the crowd during the performance of Fante Love Song that he shared his surprise with ‘I love the GH boys romantic style’

‘Gimme Pinch’ got people playfully pinching each other as the song demanded. M3nsa rolled back the years to the excitement of fans by performing the classic ‘If You Don’t Know’.

A hilarious conversation ensued between M3nsa and Wanlov during the performance of ‘Gimme Pinch’- they both showed what the phrase could mean (Pin chow (noodles) and Pee In Chow all sound like Gimme Pinch o but mean different things).

The throwback set continued with the performance of VIP’s ‘Ahomka Wo Mu’ and the surprise appearance of Reggie Rockstone, who together with M3nsa (who as produced for Regg in his younger years) performed including ‘Men Sesa Da’ and ‘Sweetie Sweetie’.

The curtain finally came down (so we thought) after the performance of ‘Adwuma’ (Work). The crowd who had gathered in front of the stage matched the energy behind the performance. So thrilled was one of the guitarist that, he forgot to strum a solo section when M3nsa signalled.

A.I, who was scheduled to perform earlier showed up after M3nsa’s set, but got the audience to stay for the ‘after party’. He got the crowd to sing and dance along to his set of songs like ‘Grind’, ‘Burn Fat’, ‘Paper’, ‘Moving On’, ‘Marry Jane’ and ‘Anger Management’. Even though he didn’t perform with a band, he didn’t mime either. He sang over instrumentals of his songs.

The event didn’t attract a full house. There were a lot of empty pews at the concert venue. The reasons for that was obvious: the event wasn’t promoted that much and again, there were a lot of events in the city that evening.

The size of crowd, however provided an intimacy that ‘filled to rafters’ events often don’t offer. Also, the sound was great and the performances were well sequenced and coveted no dull moment.

As M3nsa indicated at the end of his satisfying performance, he was the only act (from FOKN Bois) out that night. And he held his own. Imagine the two of them on December 9th at the ‘FOKN Party’. Be prepared.

Songs Performed by M3nsa

Anaa

If You Don’t Know

Fante Love Song

Kelewele Pimping

No One Knows Tomorrow

Gimmie Pinch,

How Far,

Show Me How

VIPs Ahomka Would Mu,

Mensesa Da & Agoo (with Reggie Rockstone)

Adwuma

Artist HANSON AKATTI to Host Three Experiential Art Exhibitions

With a name carved out in the sphere of digital art and album art creation, Hanson Akatti’s first art exhibition promises to be other-directed.

Digital Artists, Hanson Akatti, shares dates for his premiere art exhibition, “Stargate Odyssey”. Created in the same structure as a Hip Hop LP, the 16-piece exhibition offers a one-of-a-kind art experience

for each of the three different locations it will occur.

“Stargate Odyssey” is structured around minor elements that have helped Hanson hone his creativity, the most prominent being a hip hop EP. With Sixteen pieces, representing 16 tracks of a typical hip hop album, Stargate Odyssey was created surrounding the themes of androgyny, alternate realities, identity, inter-cultural influence and feminity.

The exhibition also takes the form of a small intimate concerts, each day with a different mood, setting and experience from the next.

The exhibition also takes the form of a small intimate concerts, each day with a different mood, setting and experience from the next.

The first exhibition takes place at Untamed Empire Concept Store in Ridge on 19th November, 2017 at 4pm.

The second exhibition is happening on 24th November, 2017 at 4pm at Elle Lokko Warehouse, Osu.

The third and final exhibition happens at The Shop Accra in Osu on 2nd December, 2017 at 5pm.

Born on January 21st 1989 in Accra, Ghana, Hanson Akatti has helped shape the growing art form in Accra. His whimsical yet pseudo-realistic artwork changed the face of digital art and animation in the country, with the introduction of intricate design and attention to detail. He again flipped the cards with his digitally designed magazine covers of Canoe, Dust and A.20 magazines.

Hanson’s artwork has been influential in transforming the direction of album arts in Ghana and Africa at large. His brilliant work for DJ Juls’, Fokn Bois, EL and Efya has been a determining factor for the effort now ascribed to album artworks in Africa.

See more of Hanson’s on his website www.hansonakatti.com . Follow the artist on Twitter at @TheDZfa and Instagram at @HansonAkatti

Home Isn’t Where Love Is: A look at the stabbing attempt on Stonebwoy.

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If Julius Caesar knew what fate had in store for him on the Ides of March, I’m sure he’d have had both Mark Anthony and Cassius arrested or barred from entering the chamber of the Senate. Despite the premonitions of his wife about him, Julius Caesar dismissed it, wore his robe and like the Emperor he was, walked into that chamber to conduct daily affairs. But, instead of him coming out impressed by the day’s proceedings, it was his lifeless body that was carried out. The man who loved Rome had been murdered in cold blood.

I first saw a link to the story about the stabbing of the wife of dancehall artist Stonebwoy on a website I’ve come to dismiss as peddlers of sensationalism. (I’ve fallen for their click bait headlines on a few occasions). It wasn’t until I saw a friend comment on a link to the story that I decided to click. It was true. Stonebwoy’s wife, Dr. Louisa Ansong was stabbed on Saturday during the ‘Ashaiman To The World Concert’ put together and headlined by Stonebwoy. A night that was to be a celebration ended up being bloody.

My first reaction was: Who Wanted to Stab Stonebwoy? More importantly: WHY?

Stonebwoy is one of the few artistes who is loved by all, not because of the incredible music he does (there are awards to show), or his amazing performances but, his respectful demeanor, a trait many who have met him reference. Stonebwoy’s rise to the top echelon of dancehall hasn’t been an easy one. His rag to riches story is inspiring. And as someone who distanced himself from the acrimonious ‘Who’s The Best Dancehall Act’ debate,  I wonder who was out there to get Stonebwoy.

‘The Ashaiman To The World Concert’ (ATTWC) was staged to celebrate his success with his home town folks. A proud Ashaiman lad, Stonebwoy hasn’t hidden his love for his hometown. Ashaiman is where his heart lies. Ashaiman is the town he bleeds. Ashaiman gave him what he has now (success, fame, respect). Ashaiman, like many ‘ghetto’ towns has earned a reputation as a tough town, where the animal kingdom rule prevails. Stonebwoy is one of the few public figures whose success attests to the fact that, the town does produce good people as well; that it’s not all gloom and doom in Ashaiman. So, going back after all these years to celebrate with them was a good thing.

According to reports, the event was a success until that point when the stabbing incident was reported. Apparently, the stabber(s) had split through the tent that was serving as the ‘room’ of Stonebwoy. According to the artiste, the knife was meant for him. Unfortunately, his wife rather became the victim.

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At this point, I asked myself: How was it possible for someone (or a group of people) to have access to Stonebwoy’s tent? Where was security?

Maintaining security has always been a challenge for event organizers, especially in Ghana when it comes to both indoor and outdoor events. It’s even worse when it’s a free outdoor concert. The crowd is mostly huge, making crowd control a nightmare. The venue for the concert obviously is an open ground, and judging by the turnout, it was free for all. Security may have been procured but may not have been adequate to control and pick out individuals who are there for mischief purposes. Don’t forget, provision of security comes at a cost too.

I recall in 2013 when Guinness Ghana hosted Akon, Big Sean and Wizkid at a concert at the Accra Sports Stadium. The security in place was enough, yet they got overwhelmed at certain points. The crowd even defied directives not to move closer to the stage. Even if Guinness Ghana, who are very resourceful (financially) had security officers stretched by the crowd, how much more Stonebwoy who may not have enough resources and hosting an event in Ashaiman? (I don’t mean no disrespect Ashaiman folks).

If security couldn’t be adequately provided by the organizers, personal security shouldn’t be taken lightly, even when at home (Ashaiman). Home love (protection) is no substitute for effective security albeit it could be of help. And when it comes to such free, open air concert, excitement does turn into mayhem at times. I’m often amazed at how fans easily jump on stage during performances with little resistance from the security. Sometimes, it’s a whole mob of fans; a dangerous situation if you ask me since anybody with ill intent could cause harm to the artiste.

According to reports, the stabbing occurred few moments before Stonebwoy took to the stage. Instead of cancelling it as many in his position would do (hi Kanye West), he went on stage to perform; to entertain the thousands who have supported his growth from his days as a young underground act trying to find his feet. The decision showed his mental toughness and how much he cherishes his fans.

There are obviously more questions to be asked from this incident. How did the assailant(s) get to his locker room or tent? What kind of security arrangements were in place to protect him, his family and friends? Who were these assailant(s) and what motivated them to cause such harm? These are questions police investigations may provide answers to.

This unfortunate and sad incident may influence other artistes to consider their personal security arrangements again and be extra cautious especially during open air concerts. Of course it may be costly but would you rather get maimed or killed when you could spend a bit more to secure your own life?

Stonebwoy may not know who was out there to get him. His wife was affected. This definitely would impact his future decisions. He undoubtedly loves Ashaiman. It’s where he comes from. It’s the place he calls home.

But, it’s worth reminding him and others that, the place we call home, where we go seeking for solace, where our hearts feel at ease may be a hydra headed dome. After all, home is where the love resides. It is also where hate lives.

 

 

 

Prof. Ladé Wosornu is guest reader for the month of September.

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In our final public reading in the 2017 series, Writers Project of Ghana and the Goethe Institute, Accra proudly present for the month of September, a reading with surgeon and poet, Professor Ladé Wosornu.

Ladé Wosornu, professor in surgery (retired), is a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences and a poet, essayist and columnist for The Ghanaian Times, writing on health and wellness issues. He has had a distinguished professional and academic career in surgery, practicing in Ghana, Zambia and Saudi Arabia. He is a a founding Fellow of the Ghana College of Surgeons and formerly a member of the National Council for Higher Education.

Professor Ladé Wosrnu’s specialty training was in chest surgery. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals, reflecting his input to surgical research and practice. During the Second Gulf War, he played a key role in triage for mass casualties. His expertise in the field of quality management was recognized by the W.H.O. which invited him to assist Sierra Leone with their strategic plan for postgraduate medical education. He was the first African to win the coveted Brunton Memorial Prize. As a poet, he won the V.A.L.C.O. literary award. His most abiding poems are Desert Rivers and The Master Brewer.

Professor Ladé Wosornu attended both P.R.E.S.E.C. and St. Augustine’s College and is a graduate of Glasgow University with Honours. He has Fellowships from the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Edinburgh & England.

He will be reading from his works, including the poetry collections Journey Without End and Other Poems and Celestial Bride and other Poems.

Join us as we host Professor Ladé Wosornu on September 27th for an informative and interactive reading. Copies of his books will be on sale.

Date: Wednesday, 27th September, 2017

Time: 7.00 PM – 8.30 PM

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

Admittance is Free.