THE ACCRA PHOTO SAFARI

Story by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photography by SELORMJAY 

Tacitus aka GaGreekGod says hello

Tacitus aka GaGreekGod says Hello.

Growing up, Tacitus Nana Yabani aka the Ga Greek God, was always fascinated seeing himself in photos. A curiosity to know how photos were made led to the dream of becoming a professional photographer. But as a street child, he had no idea how he was going to make this happen. With determination and perseverance, Tacitus didn’t let his vision go to waste. Like the saying goes, “little by little the eagle builds its nest,” Tacitus learned photography by teaching himself and developing his own techniques. Small small, Tacitus became the photographer he always envisioned he’d be.   Continue reading

FOKN BOIS: The FOKN Interview

by AIGERIM SAPAROVA | photos by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE

[Double-click on images to enlarge]

the FOKN BOIS at home in Accra | April 2013

the FOKN BOIS at home in Accra | April 2013

If you’re ever lucky enough to meet Ghana’s very own FOKN BOIS aka Foes of Kwame Nkrumah, you’d immediately know one thing: they are both a bit bizarre. Not the deranged, repulsive kind of bizarre. More like a magnetic and high-energy hypnotic that comes from the MCs’ fearless humor.

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TAWIAH: When FREEdom Drops [April 30th!]

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

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.

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SIXTH SENSE: 6 New Videos You Must See

by Katharine M. Ortiz + Sionne Neely

SENA DAGADU in James Town, Accra | photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

SENA DAGADU in James Town, Accra | photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

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.
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IND!E FUSE Returns December 2012

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?!

 B.I.L.S. Rayoe surprises the audience with a kick-ass painted acrobatic troupe that eats fire – Azizaa performs her psycho-tropic myth music in the stands – Jojo Abot brings down the house with her natty Afro funk punk sound – The SANKWAS BOIS stir the pot with their tripped-up pidgen headbangas – Holla Blak casts spells with ther pan-African sticky icky lullabies (roll your blunt with that) – Lady Jay’s super-heroine sultry anthems hit you like an Accra heatwave – Steloo + Yaw P make you jump jump to their hypnotic house beats – Kofi BeatMenace and the Smol Smol Distins Band wreak havoc with their folk monster jams – Jayso, Shaker, Rumor and Sandra of Skillions Records kill it with their edgy yet charismatic bass bumpers – Yaa Pono and FaintMedal debut their now classic “I Dey Feel You Die” and create an infectious, all-out luvfest – and Wanlov the Kubolor spouts spoken word gems then unwraps his Christmas present for all to see.

WANLOV THE KUBOLOR IN ACTION @ IND!E FUSE

WELL, DAYUM. If you are digging all that, you won’t believe what we have in store for you this December.

So, get krunk. We’re live from the Ghana Space Station, baby, and beaming straight into your speakers. MO VIM coming your way real soon.

IND!E FUSE returns this December 2012.

[The Dame's Opus 22]: Words by Lady Jay

As told to Sionne Neely, Ph.D.

LADY JAY PERFORMS AT LA PAILLOTE TAKPEKPE / APRIL 2012

growing up in ghana / london town is calling
My name is Lady Nancy Jay. I was born in Tema [just outside Accra]. My father’s a seaman. Since he was always at sea, I grew up with my mum who was an artist and teacher.

My parents have their own ideas about what a child should grow up to be. Those are normally that you be a doctor or an engineer. But I love singing. I sing every chance I get. My sisters are not rebellious like me. My second older sister can sing way better than me. She’s a nurse now. She wasn’t interested in doing the singing thing.

LADY JAY CLOWNS AROUND WITH EFYA

I’ve known Jane [@EFYA_Nokturnal] since I was 6. She was in Class Three and I was in Class One. Me and Jane, we used to sing at Assemblies of God.

I was back and forth between London from late ’99. My father was living there. I remember going to Aburi Girls and they cut all my hair off. My hair was long and I would do these different styles. It was traumatizing. Man, Aburi Girls…they didn’t understand that I had a British accent. It just pissed them off. That a Black girl just like them would have this accent. Here, they don’t even know what being Ghanaian is. The girls think it’s weaves.

In 2006, right before we graduated secondary school in London, my friends got murdered. We were about twelve in a group – Turkish, Kurdish, Jamaican, Ghanaian and Nigerian. It was cool cool. Then Jamie and Voko were pushed in front of a train. Yemmasi killed himself. Ikey got stabbed. Henry got beaten to death. My parents were scared so I came back to Ghana.

LADY JAY SINGS, @ACCRADOTALT LAWN JAM / JAN. 2012

boston public / states of sneaker freak
In 2007, my British secondary school GEC was not good enough for American colleges. So they asked me to do junior and senior year again [at a Boston high school]. It was different because I was pure London. When I walked down the street they could tell I wasn’t from there. I wasn’t one of them. The first day of high school I was in a tracksuit and matching hoodie. Yes, I was a tomboy. Hardcore. Think about any Nike trainers. Think of it! Me, I’m  a sneaker freak.

LADY JAY AT IND!E FUSE / DEC. 2011

$98 rent in idaho /i was swagging
In 2009, the Latterday Saints Church [where I was a member] helped me to pay for college [full scholarship] in Idaho. Rugsburg is very small – you can walk from one end of the town to the other. I was the most modest, the coolest girl you’d ever meet. I’d cook for my friends every Sunday after church and I would do some fancy stuff. Me, I’m a good cook. I love to cook. I like to create things that people have not even imagined. That is what I used to do.

I love Idaho. It’s peaceful. There are no skyscrapers destroying the environment. It is so natural – the mountains, sand dunes, waterfalls. I started doing cool things I said I’d never do – lawnboarding, rockclimbing, wall grafting. I want to go back because I felt so connected to God and I felt I was living a life that was true.  I want to live in Idaho one day.

love + death
I used to be very attracted to only light-skinned guys. All my life. If you’re not mixed race, I won’t even look your way! I just thought they were more beautiful. Honestly. That was before now.

Two years after I go to Boston, my boyfriend in Ghana starts bugging out. I hear he’s been misbehaving. I’m like, “Baby, why you doing this to me now?!” He scrambled his way [back] into my life. Now the pressurizing started. “You have to come to Ghana, come soon.” So I had to put a stop to everything I was doing – put everything on park. I move back to Ghana for him. I came to Ghana when I wasn’t supposed to for him. Now we had this little dispute cuz he likes to flirt a lot. And he has this group of girlfriends around him all the time. But he felt happy around them. And me, if you’re happy I’m not gonna stress you.

But I knew my boy oh. I had loved him and I had loved him for that long…five years. So, I knew my boy and my boy was changing. I knew my boy and my boy was changed. When I found out, I tried to act hardcore. No matter how hard you are, just one boy can mess you up! It hit me like a train…

By this time, I was so bitter and hurt and betrayed by everything. Even the leaves. I felt the leaves had betrayed me. I hit rock bottom. I wanted to die.

But I didn’t die. I lived. Can you imagine, all of that turmoil over some stupid idiot? My father bore and kicked me out because I wasn’t supposed to come to Ghana yet. I went to live with my aunt in Kumasi who said, “What do you want to do?” Me, I like to sing. She said, “Well, start using your voice for something.”

just like music
Bra Kevin was the first person who recorded me in my life! Back then I used to rap. With rap, you’re always thinking here [points to head] but two times faster. Me, I’m lazy. I don’t like too much of a process.

I live and breathe music. I turned to music when I felt I had nobody. Me, I take things differently. I’m trying to see things from a lot of corners. With writing – [the inspiration] is a moment’s notice – it comes and goes. BOOM! It’s here and it blends with whatever memories are popping up in my head.

We are not underground artists. Me, I was on TV3 and they don’t know oh! That is how they describe we. Just because we are different. But Ghana, be afraid…

stretching the now
I didn’t have a place to stay. I was homeless. Physically but also emotionally. I had been hurt so badly and felt I was alone. I cried so much all the time. I’d find someone to unleash some anger on. Panji saved me. But I would still carry myself outside like I was having fun. But I was dying. I even died. The Lady I knew died. She was gone and something else came.

Sometimes, I wish I was the old me. I’m in a stage in my life where I am struggling very hard. But I’ve come a long way and I’m not going to give up. I’ve been to Nigeria more than ten times! I’ve been to South Africa, Mali – Timbuktu, how many of you have been to Timbuktu?! Right now, the way I see life is mind-blowing. How are we even living? How are we breathing, how are we talking? Why are we in existence? It’s amazing! There must be something.

@ladyjaywah / www.facebook.com/LadyNancyJay

READ PART ONE

See Now:

*Please note the name of the song is “Interlude” not “Can’t Believe” as indicated in the video.