Follow Me to The Talk Party Series

ACCRA [dot] ALT’S “Talk Party Series” is a monthly discussion and film series where the dopest artists and media creatives in Ghana meet. This forum provides a space for young people to create innovative projects, exchange ideas about global art and politics, and hear brave new music by indie artists on the international scene.



Since 2008, artists, musicians, writers, creative professionals, and students have gathered at The Talk Party Series each month to discuss how to make Accra a viable and art-active city. The crowds are eclectic, sexy, smart, and passionate about the amazing art scene in Accra. The Talk Party Series, brings together the most fascinating folks, and has become the premier multidisciplinary arts gathering in the city.




The themes evolve each month to include debates over artistic freedom, political accountability, historical preservation, and the economic revitalization of the local cultural arts industry in Ghana. Through creative problem-solving, we also tackle issues affecting Ghanaian musicians such as payola and other forms of bribery, ineffective copyright protection, governmental neglect, street and digital piracy, and late or no payment for their work.

But what is talk without any action? It is through these discussions that Talk Party participants staged the CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival in July 2011, the largest free street festival to ever hit Accra.

The Talk Party Series also hosts Guerrilla Cinema , a unique exhibition space for cutting-edge independent film from Ghana and around the world. Guerilla Cinema invites filmmakers to screen and discuss their work with the Talk Party audiences. We consider the film’s relevance to our collaborative art-making initiatives in Accra.


But we also like to have a good time. We love dope music, especially if it’s performed live. At The Talk Party Series, we jam to the latest and greatest new sounds by indie artists like M3NSA, Wanlov the Kubolor, Yaa Pono, Oga Chuxx, Mutombo, A.R.T., Lady J, Kyekyeku, Kwabena Danso, and Ecxtreme, among others. Gyedu Blay Ambolley, the father of hip hop music, comes to kick it with us on the regular. Ambolley’s been kicking rhymes since 1973, well before hip hop blew the roof off NYC and the rest of the world. Our resident wax selectas, Kobby Graham and DJ Juls, keep it funky for the people on the 1s and 2s.


For more information on our next Talk Party, check out, hit us up on or shoot us an email at

Art Therapy for the City: The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival

The premiere edition of the CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, on July 16th, was a success because many people believed in a simple idea. Teamwork and artistic talent make a powerful combination. With only three months to plan and a limited budget, more than a dozen young creative professionals rolled up their sleeves and got to work on the largest free street festival to ever hit Accra.

The result: a 12-hour fantastic street maze of live action art stretching from the Mantse Agbonaa to the old Kings Way building—graffiti + street painting, bike/skateboard/rollerblade street stuntin’ parties, art installations, experimental theater, a fashion circus, drumfunkbass music, spoken word, and a live music concert—never before seen on this scale in James Town.

The idea began at a Talk Party in Osu back in March. The monthly discussion series is hosted by ACCRA [dot] ALT. “We were tired of talking about change. It was time to take action and generate a viable economy for art in this city. CHALE WOTE is well on its way to making Accra a cultural hotbed and international destination,” says filmmaker and ACCRA [dot] ALT producer, Mantse Aryeequaye. The idea was to link artists across the city to the James Town community by providing new networks of information, access, and exchange for a range of creative projects.




Why James Town? This old Accra neighborhood possesses unique architecture, a die-hard people’s spirit, a remarkable fishing culture, brilliant boxers and fascinating connections to Brazil that are an inspiration to scholars and artists near and far.

ACCRA [dot] ALT partnered with The French Embassy/Institut Francais, the Ga Mashie Development Agency, JustGhana, the Foundation for Contemporary Art Ghana (FCA), Pidgen Music, Attukwei Art Foundation, The WEB (Young Designers Hub), Ehalakasa Poetry Slam, and DUST Magazine to produce the one-day festival.


More than 100 artists and 100 students from community schools in James Town participated and the idea of CHALE WOTE broke new ground as reality.

“CHALE WOTE is an expression that everyone in Ghana is familiar with. They are worn on the feet but also mean, ‘man, let’s go!’ So it’s a term to mobilize different kinds of people towards an appreciation for public and spectacular art,” states Dr. Sionne Neely, a producer with ACCRA [dot] ALT.


An eclectic audience of more than 2000 people attended the festival, many showing their solidarity by donning chale wotes. Massive soundsystems were rigged up on a few key streets and heavier sounds of drumbassfunk and indie mashups took over from where dreary city tunes left off. Chale Wote was pervaded by a carnivalesque spirit that kept people pouring into the streets. It also served a social purpose in attracting residents from other parts of Accra to a historically marginalised area, creating an inimitable spirit of fun transcending social and cultural boundaries.

There was something for everyone to enjoy, including the incredible graffiti murals by FCA; the Funky Fishnet fashion exhibit by The WEB featuring psychadelic human mannequins; the Afro-Futuristic digital human theater by Jamestown’s own drama troupe, Act for Change; Ga + pidgin poetry by Ehalakasa Poetry Slam; live stunt street parties by the Flat Land Boys Biker Crew, Rolla Wondaland and the PushaMan Skateboarders; and interactive installations by performance artists, I.U.B., Bernard Akoi-Jackson and Just-Ghana’s James Town Artist in Residence 2011, Serge Attukwei Clottey.

The festival also had children art workshops—tire racing, kite-making, T-shirt design, and trash to treasure recycling—as well as capoeira performance, live brass pop grooves, and a food and craft bazaar.


The old Kings Way Building was the focus of the festival with an exquisite transformation from a barren, crumbling façade into a stunning portrait and tribute to the history and peoples of James Town. This space buzzed alive with a myriad of activities for children, adults, local residents and tourists, all coming together to create art.


Around 7:30pm, the building transformed again from a public art gallery to a concert hall. Hundreds of children crowded towards the front of the stage laughing and dancing excitedly to the band’s music while the adults sipped drinks and chatted along the fringes.

The live music of Yaa Pono, J-Town, Mutombo, E.L., Ecxtreme, Scizo, Lady J, Bukom Dancehall, Powers, Delasi Nunana, Abena, and Oga Chuxx, among others, energized the crowd. So much so that when the concert ended a little after 10pm, many folks stayed on hoping for more action.








If you missed out on all the fun, don’t fret. The CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival will return to James Town April 2012. For more information, check out ACCRA [dot] ALT on FaceBook: and Twitter: @Accradotalt.


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