Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Talents shine @ Bless the Mic- arts and music festival

When Emcees Africa came to town last week to look for a freestyle rapper to represent Ghana in South Africa later this year, many folks who were at the contest went wild against the final choice. Others also thought it was a poor showing by talents who came out to exhibit their on-the-spot skills in stringing rhyming words.

Contrary, there was an exciting show of class last Saturday when Alliance Francais hosted Bless the Mic-Arts and Music festival at their open air theatre to a lively audience of spoken word and music lovers. The event brought together unsigned artistes and performers in attempt to support local talent as well as revive the arts. Interestingly, almost all the artistes who represented at the show performed together with a live band with ease.

“We organised this event this event to give a platform to emerging and established artists to share their talents, hone their skills, and network with industry professionals” said PY Addo-B Annan, co-emcee and main organiser of the event.

Bless the Mic featured performers of spoken word, acoustic music, sax collaboration, traditional music, reggae, hip-hop and hip-life rap. The rap and reggae performers delivered smoothly with the support of the well-known 4-man live band, Sound factory, which without a fault played classic tunes with jazz effects that swept over the audience to also sing along.

The night started off with a six-minute spoken word out-pour by Yasmin with her lamentations of a Diasporan longing to see the Motherland. The Black American and Afro centric student, who is currently studying in Ghana, was accompanied with a faint live sax tune in the background under dim lights for a perfect mood and feel.

Also on the night’s bill was Motombo, another astounding and exciting spoken word artist to listen to, whose popularity seemed to be soaring among poetry enthusiasts after featuring in 20-minute NT1 Poetry series that was aired on TV Africa during the latter part of the previous year.

When it was his turn to perform, he took the audience through a captivating ode to the hip-life music genre that recognised founder, Reggie Rockstone, Nananom, Nana King, Obrafour and a host of other artistes who have contributed to the genre.

“This was my mission to a Chief’s palace to find hip-life because they said hip-life was dead”, he said.

Motombo has also performed as a guest artist on the famous music reality show tagged Mentor, on TV3.

The petite freestyle rapper and first runner up of Emcees Africa, Props, gave a good account of himself to a rapturous audience. PY Addo B Annan, CEO of MI Prime Entertainment, openly asserted Props should have won the Emcees Africa-Ghana contest, before introducing the young rapper to patrons at Alliance Francais.

PY says “only if you were at the Tantra Night club last week, everybody knew he was the one who should have won.”

Reggae and dancehall were also fully appreciated when the talented and budding reggae sensation, Stone boy collaborated with Patan, the Jamaican-speaking and eccentric rastafar-i ragga artist aided by the sound factory live band. The duo entertained everyone to their exceptional music flow amid wild stage antics and dance moves.

Traditional music was not left out of the package as opportunity was given to Gunna Music, formerly Hewale Soundz, an 8-member cultural troupe to also shine with their unique indigenous music and choreography.

some performers who also showed class at the event were, Trig-matic, rapper and YFM “Campus Level” host, Kweku T/D-Black teaming up to perform a live rendition of “move”, their latest release and D.K Osei, another distinctive Ghanaian spoken word act based in the UK.

Others also include fast and witty rapper Kochoko, acoustic poets Ras Bomba/Rhyme Soni, The Matcho Rapper, Dre, RonnyO, Skillionz, and the underground hip-hop character Illa.

Bless the Mic was started 4years ago by MI Prime Entertainment and it takes place every Thursday night at the Baze Lounge and Bar in Osu Re-Accra.


Toks said...

You should come to the Talk Party at the Nubuke Foundation on the 5th Nii, I think you'll enjoy it.

More details here:

JazzyJ said...

Excellent write up Nii! I loved it! Wow, I miss Ghana soooo much. Words can't even explain. (By the way, this is Jasmyn. I was the first spoken word piece. The Diasporan. I believe you spelled it Yasmin in your blog). Although I'm done with my semester of school at Legon, and am back in the states continuing my education, I still feel as if a part of me was left in Ghana. I really enjoyed myself performing at the Arts and Music Festival, as well as at Bless the Mic while I was there. I hope to visit again soon.