Story by BILLIE MCTERNAN | Photography by SELORM JAY
For those that are unfamiliar with IND!E FUSE, you should know that it is the country’s largest concert of independent artists that falls slap-bang in the middle of Ghana’s December party season.
When I came to Ghana in December 2012 it had been four years since I’d last visited the country. Up until that time I had been under the guardianship of family, shuttling from one family house to another, missing out on the vibrancy the city had to offer. I was looking forward to discovering an alternative experience.
I had been in Ghana for less than a week before I attended IND!E FUSE 2012. Ghanaian Twitter was buzzing about the concert the week prior and I was curious to know what Accra had to offer.
The vibe was nothing short of electric with a crucible of beat-terrific genres. I hadn’t realised that Accra was so diverse. Rock fused with electro sounds. Sahel sounds by Nigerien band, Zantou Lansrr, softened the crowd whilst twi rap hyped them up again. Through IND!E FUSE, I was introduced to artists like Tawiah, Yaa Pono and Lyrical Wanzam.
In 2013, the excitement started all over again, with a three-day extravaganza and some new faces to add to the mix.
The first day – The LABS – featured artists and music industry folks discussing with audience members new ways of plugging into digital music distribution and branding the sounds coming out of Ghana. CEO of Pidgin Music, Panji Anoff, provided critical information on the pace of cultural development in Ghana as well as ways to reimagine how music and art can transform communities. Mix master legend Gyedu-Blay Ambolley brought insightful perspectives on Ghana’s music heritage from the 1960s and 70s. FOKN BOIS kept it raw with details on their creative process and how to access global festival circuits.
The LABS peaked with Skype video sessions with Dr. Jason King, Associate Professor of The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, and Berlin-based futurist engineer and musician, Onyx Ashanti. Cult music producer, Kweku Ananse, dropped by to premiere some new sounds he’s been working on. Ananse gave listeners a teasing taste in a freestyle recording session with singers Meche Korrect and Drunk Beggar Thief. Tech heads Raindolf Owusu and Samuel Darko broke down how digital marketing and application development can change the earning power of artists in Ghana. All while DJ Keyzzz kept us vibing through the entire day. It was massive.