Wanlov the Kubolor + M3NSA = FOKN BOIS. Photo taken in Central Accra
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.
Kojo-Cue keeps it Kumasi in central Accra
I had been in Ghana for less than a week before I attended IND!E FUSE. Many Ghanaians had been speaking about the concert on Twitter for weeks prior and I was curious to know what Accra had to offer.
The vibe was nothing short of electric. With a crucible of genres, I hadn’t realized that Accra was so diverse.
We certainly had a grand time at IND!E FUSE 2012. Live performances by Tawiah, FOKN BOIS, Yaa Pono, Lady Jay, Lyrical Wanzam, Jojo Abot, Rumor and so much more deliciousness. Well, the good times have rolled around again and we are counting down to IND!E FUSE 2013.
This time, we’re bringing you a 3-day music event! Boy, do we have some goodies in store. While we are still in the kitchen whipping that brew, feast on this video recap of IND!E FUSE 2012. Let us know what you’re looking forward to at this year’s show.
The 4th Annual INDI!E FUSE features the coolest artists from Ghana and beyond in an exciting live music concert event. IND!E FUSE is the largest African indie music showcase in West Africa and highlights the best in hip hop, AfroBeat, traditional fusion, soul, electronic and rock music.
Interview with Sionne Neely | photos by Mantse Aryeequaye + Abass Ismail for REDD Kat Pictures
TAWIAH releases FREEdom Drop on April 30th | photo by REDD Kat Pictures [Dec 2012]
ADA: 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.
IND!E FUSE 2012 was the most exciting, lavishly intense live show by any group of artists in Accra. 16 music acts participated – each creating their own version of an Accra indie monstrosity – dropkicking through live bass, synth harmonics and drum rhythms with menacingly cinematic vamps.
Approximately 1600 indie music fans jammed over the two day music event with headliners FOKN BOIS and Tawiah causing an almighty ruckus. In just two years, IND!E FUSE has quickly become the place for exposing music lovers to new and groundbreaking artists from Ghana, Africa and abroad.
The DUSTLYVE Booth was in full effect for the first hour of the show – with Kobby Graham and DJ Kev spinning dopeness as the audience strolled in.
KOBBY GRAHAM | DJ KEV
DJ KEV SPINS
The F.O.K.N BOIS delivered their zombie apocalypse lyrics with a raw, funked-out fusion sound. As chaotic as their music may seem, in reality the duo are exceptionally tight and well-rehearsed which is crucial for pulling off their ingenuous shtick.
We’ve watched LADY JAY – the princess of Pidgen Music – hone her craft into a sweet honeycomb over the past year. With Sewor Okudzeto‘s A.R.T. [African Relaxation Techniques], Lady has been in the kitchen mixing and flipping it live at intimate spots and large-scale joints across Accra and West Africa [this past October she performed at Felabration in Lagos].
All too excited we are to see what she will throw down at IND!E FUSE this year. For a little taste of what you’ll see Saturday, check out Lady Jay letting go in this video:
Accra’s coolest music event of the year, IND!E FUSE, is back for a third edition. Music lovers who want a taste of imaginative, super fresh, and amazing live music should come out and jam at IND!E FUSE 2012. The show features the trendsetters of the Accra indie scene and a growing network of young Ghanaian artists that are causing international waves in music.
ACCRA [dot] ALT, a cultural network that encourages the alternative work of Ghanaian artists and emerging artists across the globe, closes 2012 with a two-day IND!E FUSE concert event on December 14th (The Republic Bar + Grill) and 15th (Alliance Française). IND!E FUSE is the premiere showcase for the freshest artists on the Accra music scene. Last year’s show was a sellout success and this year will be even sweeter. Come and witness Ghanaian and international artists create live sonic rainbows of edgy AfroBeat, electronic soul, drumbassfunk, R&B, true skool hip hop, and rare West African folk grooves.
Our 2012 IND!E FUSE Lineup for the two nights include:
On Friday 14 December 2012, chill with us at The Republic Bar and Grill for a live DJ mashup with Kwaku Ananse, Jason Kleatsh and SanSe beginning at 9pm (5GHC to enter). Catch live performances by Ghana’s leading indie artists – Rumor, Kay-Ara, Holla Blak, Oga Chuxx, Steloo and Yaw P.
On Saturday 15 December 2012, an eclectic set of musicians from Ghana and abroad will mount the stage at Alliance Française from 7:30 – 11pm. IND!E FUSE 2012 is headlined by FOKN BOIS (UK/Ghana), Tawiah (UK) and Yaa Pono. Fans can also wild out to performances by Jojo Abot (NYC/Ghana), Lady Jay, FaintMedal, Paapa (Skillions Records), Lyrical Wanzam and Zantou Lansre (Niger). The show is hosted by the Sankwas Bois and will feature a live DUSTLVYE (YFM) DJ Booth with the sounds of our resident Funky Professor, Mr. Kobby Graham.
Admission is only 10 GHC.
IND!E FUSE 2012 is brought to you by ACCRA [dot] ALT in partnership with Institut Français, Alliance Française, The Republic Bar + Grill, REDD Kat Pictures, DUST Magazine, Fullish Art, Pidgen Music, Skillions Records, Goba Hub, Smoothy’s Café and Global Outdoor Systems.
For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NNEKA AT HIGH VIBES FESTIVAL, ACCRA GHANA | photo by ACCRA dot ALT
If you’ve ever seen Nneka perform, you’d remember. Like tell-your-grand kiddies-one-day type remember. Her presence just sticks with you.
You get the impression that she’s just being herself. Onstage and off. Dressed down, hair pulled back, comfortable in her own skin. When Nneka performs, she gets free. She strips herself bare to the bone for strangers in crowded rooms to see across the world.
This is what keeps us glued. This self-reflection society music and her unique ability to cull out the good, the bad and the DAMN-you-ugly! parts of our selves. Nneka’s sound bends soul, folk, AfroBeat, hip hop and reggae together into spaceships of human possibility. Her voice is an amplifying swirl of thunder and lightning – a blue shadow draped across the front door, the delicate cool taste of coconut water, the rake of the comb through tightly coiled hair – that strides out making you wanna run and hide. Nneka’s music makes you uncomfortable enough to confront your secret hiding places, dig out those dungeons of doom and reckon with your lingering ghosts.
OH CHALE! We are backononono for a third time with IND!E FUSE, the illest live music show in Accra this December at Alliance Francaise. To get you in the spirit, we’re dropping the trailer from last December’s show. Relive the copious amounts of fun had by all with just a click of a button.
In case you missed out, here’s a recap:
Oodles + noodles of cool folk jam-pack the joint out – holiday visitors returning home from the U.S., U.K. + beyond bond tight with the hometown crowd – PY Annan + @MutomboDaPoet keep the crowd amped with their side-splitting, funnyman antics – Mawuli Fudoglo + Tacitus the Greek Ga God take over the stage to show everyone the proper way to azonto – Kobby Graham aka The Funky Professor keeps it smoove + ever-funky as our resident wax selecta – Ananse aka Old Dad bumrushes eager fans who get too close to the stage then suddenly transforms into a freeze! pop-n-lock mime dancer making you wonder what the flipmode squad hell is going on?!
lady jay at soundcheck before the @kaesun show, taverna tropicana / 5 MAY 2012
Like it or not, Lady Jay is all rum and coke. Sweet like pure sugar with a heaping side of suckerpunch. Equal parts love and war. If you don’t believe it, peep the Twitter game by alter-ego PurpleNasty Oblivial aka @ladyjaywah.
Making a silly face, she passes a hand over her mostly shaven head, braided bun on top and shares, “I’m a very aggressive person. My anger is not nice. But at the same time, I know how to make people smile or laugh. The extreme way of me being happy and nice is how extreme I am when I am angry.”
Her sound is like that too. A haunting ebb and flow both bold and unassuming. A scratchy sultry sound textured with the bright patterns of life’s ups and downs. Lady Jay will be the first to admit that she’s a work in progress – an almost 22-year old woman finding her way and getting grown.
The young singer has crossed a few barbwire fences to get here and she’s got the scars to prove it.
Long story short: girl moves from U.S. back home to Ghana for boy – family not too happy about it – girl and boy end badly – family not too happy about it – girl struggles to make it alone, goes broke + homeless.
Girl finds home in music and is rebuilding from the bottom up.
Lady Jay muses, “I did anger management for about two years but it didn’t work. I have to learn myself. Nobody can teach me.”
Lately, Lady’s been stitching herself together through music. Becoming anew by singing and writing. She adds, “For now, what makes me is my battles, fighting and recovery. Recovery is resistance to fail – that’s where I am now – but at the same time, I’m still very vulnerable.”
These moods swing through her melodies, songs she’s been mixing in the kitchen with Sewor Okudzeto of A.R.T. (African Relaxation Techniques). Lady Jay’s part of a special mainstay of artists who perform at our shows. She’s sincere about evolving her craft, always ready to perform and down for whatever. Over the last year, her acoustic sets with Sewor have built a cult following in Accra. She’s also known to flip an acoustic remix of Amy Winehouse or Frank Ocean if you should be so lucky.
Right now, two of Lady’s tracks are doing the ring shout in my head.
“Black is Beautiful” is soft and pliable like running water or limp limbs. It’s full of sun and sadness, a glow-in-the-dark moon poked open by pinholes.
She beckons us closer: See for yourself. See for yourself. My Black is beautiful. I shine so bright I don’t need light. Laady Jay Waaah.
It makes me nostalgic for Roberta Flack‘s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” It’s the kind of song that makes you want to cry. You ache to release something damp, dark and deep down that you weren’t even aware was there in the first place. Not because you are in pain but because you feel good. You listen and long to cry. It feels just like going out to dance in the rain.
“Mi Do Wo” (I love you in Fante) sounds like the clinging clutter of moments after the bomb has gone off. You stand in the rubble of wrecked love and heartbreak, stunned and silent. Lady’s voice is stained with the sticky icky pangs of sacrifice, of a right love gone wrong. But her loyalty is stuck in the gutter, her heart on park for someone called Nana Yaw.
Lady Jay pumps a fist in her palm, “I’ve got to blow up by the end of the year, you know?” Well, that shouldn’t be a problem. She’s working on music and video projects with azonto craze producer, E.L. And The African Woman’s Development Fund selected her to write and record their International Women’s Day anthem – “African Woman (I Will Succeed)” – the remix with Sena Dagadu (prod. by Irie Maffia’s ELO) is a backbender, mind you.
All this without even releasing a mixtape.
I ask her, how would you introduce who and where Lady Jay is now?
She pauses slightly then answers. “Hi, I’m Lady Jay and I’m entangled.” (pause)
“Courageously twisted.” The singer shrugs her shoulders, “I’m just growing with it.”