Stars shine to brighten the night;
From Walewale to Kokomlemle, the sky binding ties,
Perfectly! despite the lies in sight;
Little children enjoy games of the hour;
Even the taste of lemon that is sour;
Yet their parents end their insatiable desire;
To avoid the shadows of the men of fire;
Same night that brought forth little babies;
Turns to day for the dark-hearted cronies;
Destroying the nights of follies and lollies for the kiddies;
We miss the cool nights of the past;
Where the elderly held steadfast;
The culture of fables around the red warm fire;
Under the starry night from Walewale to Kokomlemle.
Pan-Africanism, the root of his poetic journey;
Sorting through life’s abundant milieu;
To collect reasoning behind damning calamities;
And present in a folkloric, balladic pieces;
John was his name till he was fully conscious;
Politically, radically and socially he conjures;
Through the minds and bodies of the sojourned;
To continue in the spirit of the big gems;
The Singing Net; The Oath of the Fontonfrom; Logorligi Logarithms;
Freedom Symphony; Mandela the Spear; Flowerfall;
And for children;
The Anthill In the Sea; A Slim Queen In A Palanquin; A Pawpaw On A Mango Tree;
And many others make Atukwei Okai a legendary poet.
Far from Trench Town, Rose Town and Denham Town in Kingston, Jamaica, Dancehall music has overwhelmed Nima, Maamobi, and Accra Newtown etc. in Accra, Ghana to become the most vibrant genre in the populous communities.
Murals and initials of local stars and their support group painted on walls in alleys will greet any first time visitor to the communities popularly called Zongo.
The next obvious attractions are the printed logos on t-shirts mainly donned by the youth; and dreadlock wearing boys with tattoos. It’s either they belong to RM (Ruddest Movement – Rudeboi), SN (Self Nation – Addi Self), TCM (Terror Clique Movement – Bastero), PM (Platinum Minds – Sheriff), Zaafi Empire (Rashid Metal) and dozens more.
These groups have collectively grown quickly in numbers, lifestyle and actions, giving birth to a culture called Dancehall Movement and the christening of Nima, Dancehall City.
The music is no more the centre that holds the movement but rather the family and affiliation, with or without the direct involvement of the Dancehall musicians who wave their flags on musical platforms.
Rivalry and overzealousness characterize the families who go to the extent of physically attacking opposing groups to protect the integrity of the local brands they believe in.
The easily identifiable Dancehall rivalry which had national attention is that of Samini (High Grade Family) and Shatta Wale (Shatta Movement) spanning over two years. The latter was an idol for many Dancehall lovers in the ghettos as a result of his pronounced affiliation to the communities and short-lived relocation.
While the award-winning musical artistes were getting their monies worth from media war, bloody intra and inter-community squabbles ensued in their interest. They are now losing popularity to born and bred local artistes who are struggling for national coverage and if lucky, international.
One-time local artistes who are tasting glory now are Stonebwoy from Ashaiman, Iwan from Accra Newtown, Rudeboi from Maamobi and Rashid Metal among a few.
For now, rising local stars like Addi Self, Bastero, Sheriff and many others who are struggling to go beyond the big guys keep brightening their corners in Nima, Maamobi, Accra Newtown etc.
Watch ambitious young Dancehall artiste Addi Self represent Maamobi;
…Bastero also holds down Newtown;
African Electronics, the theme for the 5th edition of the solitary street art festival in Africa, amalgamated art, music, dance and performances on the historic High Street of Accra from August 20 to 23, 2015.
Four days in a row, activity after activity, thousands of people trooped to the venue without any disappointment as graffiti murals, street paintings, theatre, installations, live music performances, dance, extreme sports, fashion, poetry, historical tours, art workshops, food and technology markets glorified art.
If it was in the pre-smartphone era, photography shops will run out of films as each moment was recorded and social media buzzing with art by both Ghanaian and international artists including Bright Ackwerh, Benjamin Okantey, Adjo Kisser, Steloo, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Attukwei Clottey, Kwame Asante Agyare, Moh Awudu, Elsa M’bala (Cameroon), Temi Kogbe (Nigeria), Anna Kurtycz and RUDEK (Benin), Sandra Krampelhuber (Austria) and Kenturah Davis (U.S.), among others.
Not to bore you with lots of grammar as this is a late post anyway…enjoy the photographs below shot with Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy Camera.