Wednesday, May 19, 2010

“Coz Ov Moni” premiered-a critique of the world’s first pidgen musical

Length: 43minutes

Written by: fokn bois( pix: M3nsa-left, Wanlov the Kubolor-right)

Director: King Luu

Executive producer: Panji Anoff

Featuring: Wanlov the Kubolor, M3nsa (pronounced ;[men-sa]), Reggie Rockstone, Samini

Extra: 5.00GHC VCD with free 14track title album

The famous long red carpet was replaced by about eight straw mats or so that were strewn across the stairs in front of the tiled boat-like looking National Theatre. On the up end of the stairs stood a wooden BUS STOP sign post, the inscription written out of white paper cuttings. Each letter cut out had been meticulously stuck to the red round board with the aid of a stapler.

Whoever conceived the crazy quilt idea of the straw mats, which no one used, and the sign post to welcome the movie cast, celebrities and fans to the 10GHC-rate premiere of ‘Coz Ov Moni’, did not also disappoint by placing a third class white chair near the post. Guess what sat on this chair? A white painted star made out of wood! No one hinted of its significance but maybe for a photo shoot opportunity for the fans.

Indeed the ‘Fokn Bois’ are capable of anything. The unexpected was to be expected of their much awaited pidgen musical which will be making appearances at Rio International Film Festival (Brazil), the Pan African Film Festival (Los Angeles), Black Filmmakers International Film Festival (London), Pan African Film Festival (Cannes) and also at the Headliner Movie at African Weekender (Sussex).

A worthwhile opportunity for the many folks who made it to the premiere, it sparked the laughter and applause for the pun intended lines and rhymes.

‘Coz Ov Moni’ [sic] is intended to mean ‘because of money’, the title of this musical flick is cast in West African pidgen English (broken English). Quite an unusual genre addition to the Ghanaian movie industry that is deeply intoxicated on love and witchcraft or ghost themes is best to say. In Coz Ov Moni, two hiplife rappers, M3nsa and Kubolor (Fokn Bois) collaborated heavily to produce a sequel-like 14-track title album where one track flows into the next to make a complete story. It derives laughter and sometimes, a sober reflection.

A creative work of arts that is likely to require first-time travelers and entertainment seekers to Ghana to hold a pidgen phrase book. Considering words like ‘kwashey’ and ‘sakawa’. Perhaps Panji and his team at Pidgen Music can consider this virgin venture too, especially as the musical has been admitted into major film festivals across the world.

Coz Ov Moni is the sort of film that will make you bump your head from beginning till even the last word of the end credits. It employs a perfect fusion of hip-hop and afro-jazz beats with choreography accompaniment from the characters throughout the 43minute duration. An improvement of Cantata, the local hit Sunday TV series on GTV, which appeals to the Ghanaian lower class and lovers of the raw and traditional Highlife music. Or maybe Africa’s response to the no-chorus 22chapter (and counting…) ‘trapped in the closet’. The 84minute music video released by contemporary R&B singer, R.Kelly, packed with suspense and intrigue on a one melodic theme.

But ‘Coz Ov Moni’ will not fall into the Classic category 1964/65 releases of Julia Andrew’s Sound Of Music’ and Audrey Hepburn’s ‘My Fair Lady’. Nevertheless dare call it an African Classic (if Ghanaian is too limited), for at least in West Africa (as far as Nigeria and Ghana are concerned) pidgen english has become a street culture widely spoken amongst the youth, the literate and not so literate residing in urban towns. Therefore the pidgen music –filled ‘Coz Ov Moni’ can also be aptly described to some extent as a West African folklore, this is a first, and the experts can ponder to classify it. Any wonder why M3nsa describes Panji (pictured below with moustache) and King Luu as ‘the believers of the future’ at the Afrobitten Concert held in Accra last year.

A scene enacts the recreation time of Ghanaian children, use of catapults to ‘somersault’ perching doves, adopting crude wickets and crushed milk tins to play ‘chaskele’ or cricket, ‘pilolo’ a local terminology for the hide-and-seek game and other informal leisure activities. This ‘playtime’ culture has been succinctly and subtly documented in this pidgen musical.

The ‘tenk u’ [sic: thank you] scene will tremendously be appreciated by Pan-Africanists and African Americans for the recognition given to departed black heroes well known for their political activism, success in entertainment and academia; from Malcolm X to Faisal Helwani to Cheikh Anta Diop and the many more who have made Blacks proud. A very captivating tribute by the dreadlocked duo to our forebears.

If it’s videos, rappers have a penchant for flaunting wealth; wearing the latest designer apparels, riding in flashy cars, living in mansions, and chilling with sexy girls at night clubs. It wasn’t shot in plush areas; neither will you see them wearing finest leather jackets or the latest Diesel denims. Hiplife rappers Wanlov the Kubolor and M3nsa, the main characters of ‘Coz Ov Moni’ have not caught the bug of this craze yet.

The same way you’ll find them dressed when you spot them in the corner of street buying fried yam and standing astride an open gutter. T-shirts for both, M3nsa will be in a pair of khaki/camo shorts, with Wanlov (the truant who wears ‘invisible’ Nikes) barefooted and a wrap-around cloth to cover his lower body. They appear in this musical as low-life buddies dwelling in a poverty-stricken urban area, where life is about ‘la boro ’,( a pidgen english corruption for borrow) for nice ‘shadez’ or clothing.

Quite disappointing that Reggie Rockstone and Samini were not seen rapping a line or two, (it was expected of them) especially of the former, who has a huge musical influence on Wanlov and M3nsa. All the same, their cameo role inclusion makes the musical a must-see.

Even though there are no special video effects or graphics for that wow feeling, the ordinary transitional scenes are well connected. Sarcastically, Wanlov, with an adopted American-style accent, gives credit to James Cameron after the end credits. But director, King Luu, showed his trade skills and creativity in such a fashion that makes it fascinating to see computer keyboards being used as imaginary musical or piano keyboards in a reverberating manner to accentuate background beats in the ‘sakawa’ (internet fraud) moment.

“Coz Ov Moni is definitely going to get some international recognition. If it doesn’t, who cares...? Ghanaians ( the premiere) have shown that they like it anyways.-B.B Menson, Radio Gold.

Story Synopsis

On a normal morning in Gbese, Accra. The FOKN Bois wake up and plan to go clubbing with some lady friends after chasing an evasive debtor for their money. Little do they know that their free-spirited and seemingly conceited attitude will make them a few enemies as the day progress. How will this day end for the FOKN Bois? Do they deserve what awaits them at the end of it all?


Toks said...

The straw carpet was used during the very first showing of the movie (the Premier) doz F.O.K.N. Bois used it to come into the National Theatre, you must've missed that part...

nii ayertey aryeh said...

thanks for the info Toks, indeed i missed it---i came in for the 2nd screening when the first was already underway.

cool stuff with your cameo role---what were supposed to be?

Strictly Emefa's. said...


Anonymous said...

Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

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