HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013: THE GIRL WHO BROUGHT YOU KWAKU ANANSE

words by NANA OSEI KWADWO | images by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE

The Kwaku Ananse premier in July was everything a film loving crowd would hope for ; great turn out, a participatory crowd and fierce music. The 26 minute short immortalizes the mythical spider by constructing a fresh narrative that retells this famous Ananse tale with multilayered, moody, elliptical shots of a wandering Jojo Abot, who plays Ananse’s daughter. The film suggests that stories normally seen through the lens of post-colonialism could just as easily be seen in existential or mythic terms.

For the record this film had the biggest turn out for an experimental Ghanaian picture, which is a refreshing start. Ghana isn’t known for experimental artsy movies and over the years John Akomfrah has been the only reference when such conversations came up. Our lame claim to his notoriety can stop now.

Adoma at the numbers station.

Adoma at the numbers station.

Akosua Adoma - James Town - 2013 Tagged 8Akosua Adoma Owusu represents a new wave of filmmakers making bold attempts at disrupting the Ghanaian narrative in order to create new forms of story telling that involve risk taking. Hopefully these risks will explore new audiences and markets that would in turn create Ghanaian cinema the world looks forward to. This Kwaku Ananse story feeds our curiosities and creative interpretations made by the audacious individuals it features.

Grace Omaboe who plays Ananse’s wife has not been in a Ghanaian movie for years. At the height of her career, she was in a very popular TV drama series ‘OBRA’. Then through the mid to late 90’s she had a TV show “By The Fire Side” where she told Ananse stories to children. For the people old enough to remember, this film is like a time machine that travels into that past but tells the story in a sequence far removed from what a Ghanaian audience might be used to.

Another character worth mentioning in the movie is Highlife living legend Agya Koo Nimo who played Kweku Ananse. Koo Nimo brought such character volume to the 26 minute picture, it begged further exploration. That was four months ago, Adoma has since gone on to start new projects, but this is certainly worth the reminder.

We caught up with Akosua Adoma Owusu recently during our STROLLING GOATS episode and talked about film and her new projects.

AKOSUA ADOMA OWUSU hangs low on James Town Beach

AKOSUA ADOMA OWUSU hangs low on James Town Beach

What first interested you in film?

Well, my background was in the fine arts, specifically, printmaking and sculpture. I discovered my interest in filmmaking after studying 16mm Cinematography at the University of Virginia with an African American filmmaker, Kevin Jerome Everson. Kevin came from a working-class background – I identified with this in Virginia – and his work in experimental short films and traveling to film festivals really inspired me. So I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Film/Video and Art at CalArts against my parents’ wishes. They wanted me to be more practical and pursue a career in medicine like basically all Ghanaian parents. But creating art through a cinematic medium really spoke to me and impassioned me far more than any “practical” choice could have.

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TAWIAH on LOVE: The Cab Confessional

by Sionne Neely | photos by Mantse Aryeequaye + Abass Ismail for REDD Kat Pictures

TAWIAH on James Town Pier, Accra | photo by REDD Kat Pictures [Dec. 2012]

TAWIAH on James Town Pier, Accra | photo by REDD Kat Pictures [Dec. 2012]

According to Ghanaian singer/songwriter TAWIAH, love is a beautiful complicated thing. Like music, love is made up of vibrational frequencies that wield magic into real life.

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SPIRIT WOMAN: Sena Dagadu Gets Grown

by Sionne R. Neely  | photos by Mantse Aryeequaye

[Double-click on photos to enlarge]

SENA DAGADU  - photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

SENA DAGADU – photo by Mantse Aryeequaye

It’s hard not to fall head over heels for SENA DAGADU‘s newest album, Lots of Trees. As the sole warrior princess in Hungary’s 11-member live fusion band, Irie Maffia, Sena’s had plenty of training ground to launch her second LP. Lots of Trees follows up 2003’s First One and comprises an anthology of Sena’s sonics over the last decade. The album features the electric production of Élő Márton [Irie Maffia] and collaborations with Nneka, M3NSA and Wanlov the Kubolor.

Sena’s bold, earth-rich vocals heat the heart and chill the bone. Her love for life shines through a kaleidoscope of vibrating webs that draw in the listener. With tracks like “Accra City People”, “Pass It On”, “Extra Large” and “Morning Light”, Sena whips up a thick, soulful brew and serves it up calabash-style. In fact, Mz. Dagadu launched Lots of Trees on March 15th with a sold-out concert bash in Budapest.

Sena Dagadu Pier13 - by Mantse Aryeequaye.TGDACCRA [dot] ALT hooked up with the Ghanaian-Hungarian singer/songwriter recently while she visited Ghana. Sena raps with us about blending her own batch of rhythm science into a keen balance between music, family and the spiritual self.

SENA POSTOFFICE33- MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE.TGDRead Part 1 of the interview:

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The Big Fun Party We Had At IND!E FUSE 2012

FOKN Jam by OneFotos

FOKN Jam by OneFotos

story by Mantse Aryeequaye + Sionne Neely

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.

SANKWAS BOIS

SANKWAS BOIS

Sankwas Bois2At the mainstage show, rapper duo and IND!E FUSE MCs, The Sankwas Bois [aka Mutombo da Poet and Simpol Tinz], STILL have people in stitches with their animated antics and raw, hilarious improvisation.

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

KOBBY GRAHAM | DJ KEV

DJ KEV SPINS

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.

FOKN FLOSS

FOKN FLOSS

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FOTO REWIND: INDIE FUSE 2012 [Day 2]

Take a peek at these cool visuals from the mainstage IND!E FUSE 2012 show at Alliance Francaise.

*Unmarked photos by Mantse Aryeequaye. All other images were captured by OneFotos.

The Ga Greek God's Azonto

The Ga Greek God’s Azonto

Mutombo da Poet's Vibe

Mutombo da Poet’s Vibe

M3NSA | Simpol Tinz

M3NSA | Simpol Tinz

Crowd3 - IND!E FUSE - photo by ACCRA [dot] ALT

Lady Jay's Ha!

Lady Jay’s Ha!

Paapa's Song

Paapa’s Song

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BEHIND THE SCENES: IND!E FUSE 2012 Sound Check

EBEN'S HIP HOP

EBEN’S HIP HOP

Peruse through our garden of IND!E FUSE 2012 images. One month later, folks are still chatting up the two-day December concert – including many a request for IND!E FUSE twice a year?!! Wow Fam.

Check out these behind-the-scenes photos of the artists and crew at sound check before the main stage show at Alliance Française that beautiful Saturday night in December.

All Photos Taken by ACCRA [dot] ALT.

Sound Check 1-2, 1-2

SOUND CHECK 1-2, 1-2

DJ Kev | Kobby Graham | BadBoy Steloo

DJ KEV | KOBBY GRAHAM | BADBOY STELOO

CRUSH ME FOR DEH FRONT

CRUSH ME FOR DEH FRONT

M3NSA | Kobby Graham

M3NSA | KOBBY GRAHAM

TAWIAH'S IN THE BLDG

TAWIAH’S IN THE BLDG

Tawiah | Wanlov

TAWIAH | WANLOV

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IND!E FUSE 2012 Promo x FOKN BOIS

Wanlov the Kubolor x M3NSA = FOKN BOIS. These guys have had a busy 2012 taking their nomad magic music across the globe including a super hectic tour schedule throughout Europe.

Don’t be fooled by their fables, the FOKN BOIS get crazy flow. Check out the videos below and tell us what you think.

Better yet see the pidgin doctors perform live this Saturday, December 15th at Alliance Francaise, 7:30 – 11:00pm.This marks the group’s final show for the year.

WANLOV:

M3NSA:

See the FOKN BOIS live at IND!E FUSE 2012 | @FOKNBOIS | @wanlov | @mensamusic

 

IND!E FUSE 2012: Live Electro Accra [DEC. 14th x 15th]

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 accra.alt@gmail.com.

DJ Juls Takes Us to School: Jungle Book Beat Tape 2

DJ JULS

We’ve been fans of Ghanaian music producer Julian Nicco-Annan aka DJ Juls for a  minute now. That affection got way deep with a mere listen of his latest opus – The Jungle Book Beat Tape 2.

That joint is the truth.

Juls has been dropping mixtapes throughout 2011/2012 like his life depended on it. Meanwhile he’s making life a lot happier for the rest of us with a revivalist soul music that blends nostalgic Ghanaian music + childhood stories with a fresh energetic corps of young hip hop artists. Juls composes brilliant soundscapes with a little help from Sarkodie, Wanlov, Lady Jay, Bils Rayoe, EL and Kay Ara, among others.

Juls – ever cool, calm + collected unless he’s going off on Twitter about a rapper or footballer who’s jacking up his love for the game – releases The Jungle Book Beat Tape 2 on his earth day.

Download your free digital copy right here and spread the love.

Get your school on with DJ Juls | @djayjuls