Ghanaba hands over to Glen
Ghanaba hands over to Glen Website
An old scorpion can still sting, says a Ga proverb and 85-year-old drummer, Ghanaba stung the audience at the One Touch Africa Speaks concert at the National Theatre last Friday with his typical pounding on huge drums and a shower of expletives that sent some laughing and others cringing. The concert had originally been planned as Ghanaba’s farewell bash and also to launch his son Glen’s new album of songs. Some circumstances somehow skewed it for other artistes to become the headline acts but the father and son drummers still managed to capture ample attention on the night. Ghanaba’s handing over of his drumsticks to Glen and announcement of his retirement from active performance were highly symbolic moments that reverb on decades of Africa’s attempt to position itself as a vital force in popular music around the world. Ghanaba made a huge impact on the global scene in the 1950s and 1960s which has paved the way for many African artistes to boldly step onto the world stage with their fare. Varying samples of that fare were on offer on the night from Phillipa Baafi, KK Fosu, Bibie Brew, A B Crentsil and Obuor, Ghanaba and Glen Warren, Amandzeba and Meiway. Orlando Julius was initially announced as part of the show but a reported feud with the organisers got him dropping out of the line-up. Phillipa is one of the gospel singers from Kumasi to have gained some name in recent years. She was colourful and exuberant and cleverly wove exhortation for the Black Stars into her very danceable material. KK Fosu was precise and effective. He did three of his known songs and got the audience on his side all the way. Bibie is a subtle performer. Her dignified, refined approach is not the kind of stimulant quick-fix concert-goers here cherish but she passed off well to those on the same plane as her. AB Crentsil and Obuor coming right after Bibie sounded raucous with their ‘shegee - bottom power’ act which can find a cheering audience on any night. A tight horn section complemented by Dela Botri’s searing flute solos greatly enhanced Amandzeba’s sound but it appears the singer is still not aware that his frequent proselytising on highlife and Africanness is a turn-off for some people. Womba is a great piece, anyway. Meiway delivers all the time and he did the same last Friday. A receptive audience is all the accomplished performer needs to flow with his high-energy dance formations. He got a lot of that and he in turn gave a lot back to the audience who seemed to have enjoyed themselves enough by 2.00am. An hour and a half of the Mega Rhythms band to begin the show was a bit too much for the audience but probably not bad for the young musicians who could land a few wedding or party gigs for their wide repertoire display. The One Touch Afrika Speaks concert was a Katamadara Concepts production.
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