Motivated by an ambition to tell his own story – a Kumasi story to the world – KO-JO CUE is one of the few Ghanaian rappers who treats lyricism like a fine art. Three months after the release of his seventh mixtape – Before We Shine II [The Cremation of Care] – and we still have the MC on weekly replay. Kumasi isn’t known for being a rap haven but despite this Ko-jo Cue’s been able to win over both obsessive and occasional hip hop lovers. He just spits those fresh rhymes you can’t get enough of.
Interview with Sionne Neely | photos by Mantse Aryeequaye + Abass Ismail for REDD Kat PicturesADA: During your set at IND!E FUSE 2012 you talked a bit about love. We can’t assume everyone defines it the same way. What are your thoughts on love?
T: You have encounters with love everyday – with friends, family, lovers. Love is one of the most important things. . I think I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. I love love. It’s an extremely complex thing but do we make it complex with our mortal thoughts and ways? Is love an act or is it a feeling? Surely love is ever present – it’s there before we manifested into our physical bodies. It’s always there, innit? It definitely should feel good and not judge or discriminate. But we put our own thing on what love is and what it should be.
by Sionne Neely | photos courtesy of DJ Juls
DJ JULS has been on the grind in 2013. It’s only April and the UK-based Ghanaian producer has dropped three mixtapes so far – the V-Day lovers joint, The Cupid Shot Mix [Feb. 14th], the dancehall fever anthems on Di Bubble Mix [March 11th] and the redhot follow-up to last summer’s Afrobeat fix, DJ Jul’s AfroBeat Mix Volume 2 [released this Monday, April 8th]. Over the last several years, Juls has worked with all the Ghana greats from FOKN BOIS [Wanlov the Kubolor x M3NSA] to E.L., Yaa Pono, Sarkodie, Efya, M.anifest and more.
Finally!! Our lovely London lady – TAWIAH - is dropping the second single – “Faces” – off the much anticipated digital album release, FREEdom Drop, out on April 30th.
Check out the official video [directed by Mantse Aryeequaye] + download the song for free this Friday, April 12th on Tawiah’s website. The track is released this week in support of International Day for Street Children: Louder Together 12th April and Street Child Africa.
Watch the promo here:
What a blast we had at last month’s Talk Party! We switched up venues and headed over to The Lexington, the rock-swag-swank shindig that’s quickly become a weekly live music haven in Accra. Loads of folk came out to chill with Tawiah – we had a listening party for her new mixtape album, FREEDOMdrop [before its release this Spring] and premiered the video for her third single, “Faces” [directed by Mantse Aryeequaye, REDD Kat Pictures].
by Katharine M. Ortiz + Sionne Neely
Nowadays, Ghanaian music is a mixed bag. That’s actually a great thing. The diversity and complexity of this music – which is not new and has always been here – is bubbling more and more on the surface. As testament, here are 6 NEW VIDEOS by fresh artists we dig. In these audiovisual experimentations [in no particular order], you’ll experience different realities reflecting what it means to be Ghanaian.
These are some of the voices of our pop culture. Hear and see them now.
by Sionne R. Neely | photos by Mantse Aryeequaye
[Double-click on photos to enlarge]
It’s hard not to fall head over heels for SENA DAGADU‘s newest album, Lots of Trees. As the sole warrior princess in Hungary’s 11-member live fusion band, Irie Maffia, Sena’s had plenty of training ground to launch her second LP. Lots of Trees follows up 2003′s First One and comprises an anthology of Sena’s sonics over the last decade. The album features the electric production of Élő Márton [Irie Maffia] and collaborations with Nneka, M3NSA and Wanlov the Kubolor.
Sena’s bold, earth-rich vocals heat the heart and chill the bone. Her love for life shines through a kaleidoscope of vibrating webs that draw in the listener. With tracks like “Accra City People”, “Pass It On”, “Extra Large” and “Morning Light”, Sena whips up a thick, soulful brew and serves it up calabash-style. In fact, Mz. Dagadu launched Lots of Trees on March 15th with a sold-out concert bash in Budapest.
ACCRA [dot] ALT hooked up with the Ghanaian-Hungarian singer/songwriter recently while she visited Ghana. Sena raps with us about blending her own batch of rhythm science into a keen balance between music, family and the spiritual self.