by NANA OSEI KWADWO | photos by ABASS ISMAIL for ACCRA [dot] ALT
[Double-click on photos to enlarge]
The journey to the third annual CHALE WOTE Street Festival [in James Town this September 7 + 8th, 2013] started with an inspiring note last Wednesday night at Alliance Française.
The Masquerade Jam, a prelude party for the upcoming CHALE WOTE, had folks jamming all night long to live indie performances and a dope whirl of azonto bass music by some of our favorite DJs.
About 350 music lovers raved out to new music from KING AYISOBA + MO BLACK, DJ K3V [Ashesi Uni], BBRAVE from Akwaaba Music, KATIE ORTIZ [New York Uni] + KYEKYEKU along with hip hop artist GEMINI. We were definitely in the masquerade spirit with plenty of masks to go around and funky face paintings by artist MUSAH SWALLAH. The show was hosted by the most stylish dude we know, MAWULI FUDOGLO.
The jam took off with the screening of Afrofuturist documentary, THE LAST ANGEL OF HISTORY, by Ghanaian-British filmmaker JOHN AKOMFRAH. Shadow and Act calls the 1996 documentary film an “engaging examination of the relationships between Pan-African culture, music, science fiction, intergalactic travel, and computer technology” and it represents a seminal work in the field of Afro-Futurism.
If you missed out, no worries. Since our theme for this year’s CHALE WOTE is about pushing the boundaries of the African folktale into futuristic dimensions, we’ll be screening the film again with a full discussion during the September festival.
BBrave got the place bouncing with some dope spins in the DJ Booth. Katie Ortiz was magic on the guitar as she kept the audience in a smooth party mood with, “One Day I Will”, a song she wrote and performed with Kyekyeku. Her slowed-down acoustic rendition of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” also moved the crowd to their feet.
The audience couldn’t resist the dance floor when DJ K3V took to the turntables. He dropped hit after hit as more bodies packed onto the lawn to boogie. People couldn’t get enough of K3V’s riddims with many requests for more music as he stepped off stage.
Then Gemini stepped up with his rapid fire hip hop energy. He raised the tempo, performing the joint, “I’ll Do, Don’t Do” [produced by + featuring EL]. Gemini showed his flexible free-style by creating a CHALE WOTE call and response with the audience before bouncing off stage.
Also on deck was a bike art installation by the legendary ALEX AKWAFO. During the nineties, this cyclist twice rode a bike backwards from Accra to Tamale in 10 days. Akwafo is sparking up another cycling tour this August from Accra to Ada for the Asafotufiam Festival.
The place went wild when King Ayisoba mounted the stage styled out fresh in batakari and Dutch clogs, strumming his kologo [Northern Ghana guitar]. Ayisoba performed his classic tune, “I Want To See You My Father” and his recent single “MeKa” [with MoBlack], among others. King Ayisoba got the audience shouting and moving as they tried to keep up with his signature voice and dance moves.
As MoBlack closed the show down with a hypnotic House mix, the crowd fell into hysterics watching the impromptu capoeira face-off between Wanlov the Kubolor and Kwabena Danso onstage.
See more photos from the Masquerade Jam below. Stay tuned for more on CHALE WOTE 2013 right here on the blog.
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