I was looking forward to it for 2 months, not because I had nothing else to look forward to but because it was exciting in 2011. I hate it when good things happen just once in a year, like birthdays, Indie Fuse and Independence, even though we are still dependent. Nobody should fight or argue with me over this, we are still dependent as a country. But that isn’t what I want to ‘argue’ about in this post. I want to touch on something spectacular, something original and authentic.
Indie fuse came off over the weekend (15th December,2012) at Alliance Francaise in Accra, and it is one of the few shows, if not the only show that started on time, well not exactly on time but I mean, just some few minutes late didn’t hurt anyone. We were even late for the show and we kept on getting calls that the show was about to start. Someone, texted me that the show was starting without me and I thought all were jokes, these friends just wanted us to talk before the show like we always do. I got there with Glen aka @simpol_tinz and the first act was already on stage. But before this the crowd enjoyed some good tunes from the funky professor himself Kobby Graham who was supported by DJ Kev. I really like Kobby’s choice of music and I think when it comes to music, we share something in common. I think. The hosts of the show were not present so someone else had to play host for the mean time.
Indie Fuse is all about artists being themselves and putting out their works on platforms in the most imaginative way possible. At Indie Fuse, you will find ‘skillful’ artists performing with a live band and this means no miming. Things that happen here are different, even the songs you hear and most of the artists, you hardly hear on radio. The industry follow a single path, it hates to discover, it hates to dig deep into the underground to find out what goes on there. All it deals with are mainstream artists and this becomes boring to me especially. I hardly listen to the radio because most of the music I hear on there are straight trash. I think I am wrong to even call that ‘music’ and they lack creativity. You will be amazed with what you will hear when you branch out of the single path that the industry rides on. There are young people who are built and are doing their thing for fans who are lucky to find them, and I am that type of guy who likes ‘digging’ to discover new artists, Indie Fuse has been one of my grounds. Indie Fuse is a music platform that promotes Ghanaian artists, both locally and abroad and connects them for projects. I connected with Kae Sun, a Ghanaian musician who is based is Canada, thanks to Indie Fuse.
I had been at a couple of rehearsals and also the sound check on that day so I knew this version of Indie Fuse was going to be awesome so there was no way I was going to miss this for anything. Finally, I was going to experience some good live music, whew!! Been to a couple of ‘mime’ shows in these last couple of months and I had been itching to free myself with a good show and Indie Fuse did the trick. So finally the show started, this group called the @sankwasbois were host and I must say that these duo are fools, they branched out of the normal ‘Chris Attoh’ way of hosting and incorporated humour, art and more humour. They did not just come on stage to just introduce the next act just like that but ‘played the fool’ and sometimes blended their introduction of the next act into their ‘fun ways’. This is one of the few times that I have seen a crowd look forward to see the hosts come on stage and even their outfits were…..hmmmm..
The first on stage was Zantou Lansre a group from Niger and from their outfits to the women who were dancing for them really took my mind to a place, the ‘desert region’. The only thing missing on stage was a camel but their songs replaced that. They took the crowd through a couple of their songs which they call the northern mojoblues funk music and you could see the faces in the crowd, they listened with rapt attention and the applause that came after their performance was awesome. Even though a majority of the crowd did not understand their lyrics they really absorbed it and this is why I believe that music is indeed a universal language.
Next was Lyrical Wanzam who also brought his own band to do a song, he also got backing from the ‘in-house’ band, Afro Harmony as well. This band is gradually etching their name in the bosom of the music industry and they are made up of young men who are in their early 20s. They have style and don’t lack creativity at all. They are diverse so serve all, no matter your type of music. Lyrical Wanzam released a mixtape a couple of months back called the AfroPolytank and it did very well. He is made songs with Manifest and I am sure he is cooking something for his fans.
Lady Jay is a soulful singer from Pidgen Music and that mean I share a common label with her. I think she was the simplest dressed artist of the night. She killed it though with her songs which came to live and how she related with the crowd was on point. Sewor, an instrumentalist from the African Relaxation Technique (A.R.T) was there to back her. I have seen her improve by the minute and I am looking forward to what her 2013 will be like.
Jojo Abot, another marvelous singer came on stage to do her thing and she introduced a violinist into her performance. I had good comments from the crowd after her performance and they were surprised that they had never heard about her or heard her music on the radio or tv. This is what Indie Fuse is all about, innit? She has an EP coming out soon and I am looking forward to that. I have seen her perform so many times and she always kills it. What I like about her is how she blends her native Ewe Language into her songs, she mostly sings in English and the ewe helps her cut across boundaries.
Before I forget, let me send a big shouts to Alliance Francaise for the good sound that they have produced over the years. Their sound is always on point and this is where I say Rest In Peace to Mr. Cephas who passed a couple of months back. He was the sound engineer and the person who has taken over is also doing a wonderful job. Mantse was keen on sound during sound-check and I think the finished product was crystal-clear, every instrument was on the right level. Correct nsenku!!! The lighting too was in sync and I love the various colours that clad the stage.
Paapa who is a Jesus Freak and from the Skillions Records had his chance on stage. He is a one-man band with his keyboard and loop station and the melodies that he creates on these equipment are awesome. Jayso introduced him after the Sankwas Bois has (please note why I am using ‘has’ all you English teachers) introduced him and the crowd kept on chanting ‘ice water’ which is a single he released a couple of months ago. Paapa stammers, I met him in 2006 and I am amazed with how he has improved with both his speech and art form. He is very good on the keyboard and I know he has a whole lot up his sleeve for 2013.
If you have seen them perform before, you know how the crowd goes berserk when they perform their single I Dey Feel You Die. Its an AfroRock Band here in Ghana and we all know them as Faint Medal. I am yet to find out the meaning on their name, will leave that for another time. They didn’t perform their hit song this time, but they did perform some wicked songs which I know will catch on pretty soon. Their lyricist, Syn, is very smooth on the mic and Kyekyeku is very agile on the guitar. This time, they brought a young man who did the whole rapping thing on their sound and you should see the energy of the crowd as this man laid his verses. Even though the crowd was expecting I Dey Feel You Die ft Yaa Pono they were satisfied with the show Faint Medal Band put up and I know that those songs will catch on soon.
Yaa Pono was present and also had his time on stage. This young man is always fire when he is on stage and always, and I repeat always gets the crowd on their feet. He is from Pidgen Music and I think he has performed on all the previous Indie Fuse Shows. I was mostly back stage when he was performing and I could hear the ‘roars’ from the crowd, it was deafening. I remember his show from last year’s Indie Fuse, I remember like it was yesterday and the little that I saw with this one…….saved!!
Alliance Francaise was filled to capacity, people couldn’t find seats, the aura was bliss and the whole place was made up of people who loved the arts, people who wanted to see authentic artists, people who wanted to watch live performances from artist that they hardly see or hear but know how awesome they are. Everybody who came knew they were paying 10ghc to watch something that will live with them and they were not failed at all. I have read reviews about the show and I have not read anything negative from any of the websites or blogs. I can say this is the most successful show this year and I am already looking forward to next year’s. Yes, already. I have been saying that Indie Fuse should be held twice in a year instead of the current once a year. People can’t wait for that long, when something is that good. I am not looking forward to any other shows this holidays because I know that all I will see is mediocre and nothing but miming.
There were 2 headliners and the first to come on stage was Tawiah, a Ghanaian who is based in the UK and has made a name for herself all over. She has done back up singing for Amy Winehouse and Corinne Bailey Rae. She has worked with Cee-Lo, Mark Ronson, Wale and GhostPoet. He performed with the Afro Harmony Band and also performed with her loop station and Guitar as well. Tawiah has performed on numerous stages including the Glastonbury Festival and I saw her back in 2008 perform at the Bless Da Mic Christmas edition. The crowd loved her, I remember a friend of mine come to me like, ‘cha, that girl be serious oo!!’. Yes she was very serious on stage and just look her up on google/youtube and feel her small wai? I really hope she has other shows in Ghana this December before she leaves for the UK.
I would like to commend ACCRA [dot] ALT who are the producers of Indie Fuse and also all those who came on board to support this good course especially the Institut Francais, Alliance Francaise, The Republic Bar and Grill, REDD KATT, Dust Magazine, Fullish Art, Pidgen Music, Skillions Records, Nandimobile, Goba Hub, Smoothy’s Café and Global Outdoor Systems. They made Indie Fuse 2012 possible and I hope that come 2013, more companies will come on board so we have a better show.
The second headliner was a group called the Fokn Bois…hmmm.. need I say more? I know that most of you are aware of this fokn group and their ways already. I am sure that you know how they get creative on stage and also involve the crowd in the performances, and I am also sure that you are aware of the depth in their lyrics. This duo, made up of Wanlov and M3NSA performed some songs on their latest Fokn Wit Ewe album and from their solo albums. They performed all the songs with the Afro Harmony Band and they were also joined by Ryan Ansah, who is good with the guitar. A section of the crowd had to give up their seats and come to the front of the stage to work their feet to songs like Adjuma, African Gypsy and Gimmie Pinch. I remember how the crowd laughed and giggled to the lyrics of Sextra Terrestrial Sex. Joking about how semen would float in space and how comets are really the semen of aliens etc. The fokn bois really live up to their name and it was good to see them together once again on a local stage after touring several countries in Europe during 2012.
This post is so long so I need to just end here before most of you stop reading. I am sure by now some stopped reading somewhere in-between, too bad. But Indie Fuse 2012 was so successful and like I said, I cant wait for the next one. There was also a mini show at the Republic Bar on Friday 14th December and that too went well even though I had to leave early because I was so tired. Anyway, the hosts of the show were really myself and @simpol_tinz and we make up the Sankwas Bois.
Kudos to Mantse and Sionne of Accra[dot]Alt and also to Gyedu Blay Ambolley for that talk during the show.