This August artists from across the continent and the world are meeting in Accra for this year’s Chale Wote Street Art Festival. Over 200 of the city’s artist will be creating collaborative projects between the 19th to the 24th. Come to the center of the world.
THE FILM SHOW [begins at 6:00pm]: We are super excited to premiere Terrence Nance’s acclaimed film, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, in Ghana. The film is produced by Jay-Z, Wyatt Cenac, Dream Hampton and Joy Bryant, among others, with the soundtrack created by electric wonder, Flying Lotus. It has played at Sundance and along the global circuit and next Friday the film will debut in Accra.
An Oversimplification is a splendid exploration of love and mourning that blends animation, drama, fantasy and sonic color together. The story follows a quixotic artist who falls for a lovely lady who doesn’t quite fall for him. He then makes a film about their ambiguous affair and shows it to her. Director Terrence Nance will join us for a Q&A via Twitter.
THE LIVE MUSIC SHOW [begins at 8:15pm]: Mensa Highlife grew up in Sweden, the UK and the U.S. The London years shaped him into a full-fledged music producer while the U.S. years shaped an even sharper poet and lyricist. This itinerant lifestyle became the inspiration behind a quirky Jazz-Funk expression that has come to define his art today.
Now back in Ghana and inspired by the traditional mystic of sparse drum rhythms, Mensa Highlife is experimenting with a soulful unity between the past and present. He is currently promoting the single, “Ofori’s Story,” and Mensa will premiere it live at the Talk Party Series this month. He will also be performing songs from an upcoming album.
It’s a free party as usual. Join us for dope dialogues, a cool crowd, ice cold drinks and mad music!
6-9PM | Friday, May 30th | Passions Premium Restaurant | Osu Ringway | 2 streets behind Country Kitchen or 1 street behind Pippa’s Gym
New York based Ghanaian actress MaameYaa Boafo was in Accra a couple of months ago during the shooting of the web series, An African City. Mantse Aryeequaye took MaameYaa on a walk through the back roads of Dzorwulu, a suburb of Accra, for some photos capturing that “fly Ghana girl back home” vibe. Nana Osei Kwadwo chatted with her later on about An African City.
The first time I saw MaameYaa Boafo in Nicole Amarteifio’s An African City, I thought she was beautiful, fierce and versatile. She stars as one of five women characters, in the webisode, that returns to live in Accra after years of studying and working abroad. Debuting less than a couple months ago, the series has quickly gained a popular online following with major media shout-outs hailing via Ebony Magazine, BBC News, BET and NPR.
With comparisons being made to Sex in the City, the webisode is growing its audience by the day and captivating folks with African fashion, fly natural hairstyles and “awkward African girl” situations as the women support one another in acclimating to life in Ghana again.
MaameYaa has lived most of her life traveling around the globe but currently calls New York City home. She’s now working on a new project with renowned African American novelist and playwright, Walter Mosley, as well as a few new films.
Curious to know more about MaameYaa, I caught up with her recently to chat about acting, what it means to be Ghanaian, and her role in An African City. Continue reading
Last February, we held a special Talk Party Series with Ghanaian-British singer and songwriter, TAWIAH. At that time she had just wrapped production on her much-feened for mixtape, FREEdom DROP, and we gave the Accra fans a rare premiere before the rest of the world heard it. We also got a chance to rap with Tawiah via Skype and were even privy to an intimate live performance.
For those of us who saw Tawiah tear the stage apart at IND!E FUSE 2012, we have been patiently waiting to resurrect the magic of that night’s performance. Well wait no more, Accra city people. Tawiah’s back in the building and she will be representing at this Friday, Feb. 28th’s Talk Party. Tawiah will share a bit of her audiovisual exploration with us plus you’ll get to ask her all the questions you want. We also get a chance to hear some of her new material.
Growing up, Tacitus Nana Yabani aka the Ga Greek God, was always fascinated seeing himself in photos. A curiosity to know how photos were made led to the dream of becoming a professional photographer. But as a street child, he had no idea how he was going to make this happen. With determination and perseverance, Tacitus didn’t let his vision go to waste. Like the saying goes, “little by little the eagle builds its nest,” Tacitus learned photography by teaching himself and developing his own techniques. Small small, Tacitus became the photographer he always envisioned he’d be. Continue reading
The Kwaku Ananse premier in July was everything a film loving crowd would hope for ; great turn out, a participatory crowd and fierce music. The 26 minute short immortalizes the mythical spider by constructing a fresh narrative that retells this famous Ananse tale with multilayered, moody, elliptical shots of a wandering Jojo Abot, who plays Ananse’s daughter. The film suggests that stories normally seen through the lens of post-colonialism could just as easily be seen in existential or mythic terms.
For the record this film had the biggest turn out for an experimental Ghanaian picture, which is a refreshing start. Ghana isn’t known for experimental artsy movies and over the years John Akomfrah has been the only reference when such conversations came up. Our lame claim to his notoriety can stop now.
Akosua Adoma Owusu represents a new wave of filmmakers making bold attempts at disrupting the Ghanaian narrative in order to create new forms of story telling that involve risk taking. Hopefully these risks will explore new audiences and markets that would in turn create Ghanaian cinema the world looks forward to. This Kwaku Ananse story feeds our curiosities and creative interpretations made by the audacious individuals it features.
Grace Omaboe who plays Ananse’s wife has not been in a Ghanaian movie for years. At the height of her career, she was in a very popular TV drama series ‘OBRA’. Then through the mid to late 90′s she had a TV show “By The Fire Side” where she told Ananse stories to children. For the people old enough to remember, this film is like a time machine that travels into that past but tells the story in a sequence far removed from what a Ghanaian audience might be used to.
Another character worth mentioning in the movie is Highlife living legend Agya Koo Nimo who played Kweku Ananse. Koo Nimo brought such character volume to the 26 minute picture, it begged further exploration. That was four months ago, Adoma has since gone on to start new projects, but this is certainly worth the reminder.
We caught up with Akosua Adoma Owusu recently during our STROLLING GOATS episode and talked about film and her new projects.
What first interested you in film?
Well, my background was in the fine arts, specifically, printmaking and sculpture. I discovered my interest in filmmaking after studying 16mm Cinematography at the University of Virginia with an African American filmmaker, Kevin Jerome Everson. Kevin came from a working-class background – I identified with this in Virginia – and his work in experimental short films and traveling to film festivals really inspired me. So I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Film/Video and Art at CalArts against my parents’ wishes. They wanted me to be more practical and pursue a career in medicine like basically all Ghanaian parents. But creating art through a cinematic medium really spoke to me and impassioned me far more than any “practical” choice could have.
Chale, we’re on a high – right on the heels of finishing the 3rd annual CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival and getting ready for the megamusic fest – the 4th annual IND!E FUSE on December 12-14th, 2013.
Art events are buzzing all across the capital city and we’re excited to be a part of the transition. Join us as we brainstorm more ideas on how to sustain Accra as an art-active city. How are you contributing to the shift? Let us know.
We are also screening a remarkable documentary – Hip Hop: The New World Order – and following the film we will have a Q+A with the director, Muhammida El Muhajir, who’s taking the film on a world tour. We’ll also rap with a few Accra-based creatives [Kobby Graham, Ato Annan and Meche Korrect, just to name a few] who have a thing or two to say about how art and music can make movements.
Here’s a little taste of what the film’s all about:
“The documentary, Hip Hop: The New World Order, affirms Hip Hop culture as a powerful vehicle for self-expression by youth around the world. Shot in 8 international cities (Tokyo, Havana, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Rio de Janeiro & Johannesburg) over a span of 3 years (1998-2000), the project embarks on the groundbreaking mission to unearth the practice and business of Hip Hop culture worldwide.”
Ice cold drinks on tap. Cool folks chillin. Live music + jam session with DJ KEYZZZ. #free
See you there!
The TALK PARTY SERIES
Friday, October 25, 2013
6:00 – 9:30PM
Passions Premium Restaurant
Osu Ring Way, Accra
*2 streets behind Country Kitchen and 1 street behind Pippa’s Gym; orange building with driveway and kebab stand in front across from a children’s nursery.
Check out the site map for CHALE WOTE 2013 this Saturday, September 7th and Sunday, September 8th, 2013 from 10AM – 9PM in James Town [double-click to enlarge]:
To see the full schedule of activities over the 2-day festival, click here.
This year for Chale Wote, we’re creating new visions of African folklore. We all will be characters in a compelling set of stories called the Chale Wote Street Art Festival. What character will you be? Dress up in your own DIY costume and party with us in the streets.
See you in James Town over the weekend.
For the first two years, the festival was organized as a whole day’s event. It is a major attraction for tourists, art lovers, musicians, graffiti + mural artists, poets, and musicians – and basically anyone who appreciates or has a curious mind for art made in Accra. This year the free festival will be running for two (2) days at its signature venue, James Town, on September 7th and 8th, 10am – 9pm.Continue reading
We’re working our way to CHALE WOTE 2013 – a massive festival jam in James Town – on September 7th and 8th.
200 artists. 2 days. Too much free fun.
This year’s theme is to Re-imagine African Folklore by creating exciting and futuristic versions of communal stories that will magically come alive on the streets of James Town. We’ll have it all on High Street from live music, experimental theater and spoken word, extreme sport stunts, dance flash mobs, street fashion parades, graffiti murals and crazy art installations to a film festival, international food and fashion marketplace and even a masquerade procession.
To see a taste of what you’ll experience at CHALE WOTE 2013, check out last year’s highlight video:
Stay tuned to this blog for more updates on CHALE WOTE 2013.