ACCRA is the New HARLEM

THE ACCRA INDIE SCENE
The independent music scene is growing in major cities across the world and Accra is no different. In fact, Accra is fast becoming our modern day Harlem. The indie music scene has been building rapidly over the last five years into a space that is raw, liberating, and chock full of verve. Each month young folks gather in the city for open mic nights, cypher battles, deejay lounge sessions, reggae juke joint jams, and public debates about Ghana’s deteriorating care of the music industry.

Why? Because the Accra scene is the new pulse of African music—an experimental
renaissance that remixes Black identity, history, technology, and art in infinite
combinations. In proper DIY fashion, local artists are banding together to produce their own events. In July 2011, ACCRA [dot] ALT produced the CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, the first free urban art festival in Accra. More than 2,000 people witnessed street painting, graffiti murals, live music, bike/rollerblade/skateboard stunting, a fashion circus, and experimental theater, among other things. This project was a collaborative exercise between artists across the city and took place in James Town, an urban fishing community in old Accra. The event was covered extensively in the local press and a special report aired on BBC Radio and BBC Focus On Africa.

This December, we will present the second installation of the ACCRA [dot] ALT Festival (now called INDIE FUSE), a music festival that brings together Ghanaian and African diasporic artists together for a fantastic live concert jam. The show mixes hip hop, AfroBeat, electronica, soul, funky folk, reggae and R&B into an eclectic pot of sonic goodness. Now called INDIE FUSE, the show returns this December.

Watch as last year’s artists–Efya, Wanlov the Kubolor, Yaa Pono, Mutombo, A.R.T., The Canz, and others–move the crowd with their mojo magic music. Check out the video trailer of our 2010 show:

 

Accra’s indie scene is funky fresh, eclectic and engaging, laidback yet inviting. Over the years this market has grown to include Accra-based independent musicians, students and scholars, media creatives, and young professionals, all coming together to hear the dopest sounds by the city’s most imaginative artists. Accra is an evolving space for African experimental music and art where deejays, producers, and music artists bridge local and global influences to make sonic rainbows of edgy AfroBeat, electronic soul, drumbassfunk, risky R&B, true skool hip hop, and rare West African folk grooves. This community exhibits a mix of young Afro-Bohemian urbanites—emerging artists, trendsetting entrepreneurs, Ghanaian returnees and holiday visitors, international tourists, expatriates, and students—who find company in supersonic music that is locally grounded and internationally inspired.

-Sionne Neely, Ph.D. + Mantse Aryeequaye

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