MyJoyOnline.com

Notes from the console: Why are so few women into sound engineering?

Put nearly 20 years of hard of work, together with tough sacrifices, a pinch of charm and grace and what you get is a woman who has defied all odds to venture into a seemingly male-dominated field.

A proficient female sound engineer; one of Ghana’s very rare assets. I introduce to you Nana Sika Akrofi Quarcoo.

So in the last edition of these notes, I introduced the question ‘why are there so few women into sound engineering?”. We could come up with so many reasons; our own opinions on the issue.

There’s no better person to answer this question than one who has walked the walk and talked the talk.

Sika suggests some reasons why so few women are into the technicalities of sound.

For her, the major issue is the lack of education, thus awareness about the opportunities available in the field. She believes that there is not much understanding of what the job entails and its demands.

She also suggests, there is not much support from family for the woman who wants to be a sound engineer. She admits that sound engineering is no child’s play, and requires long years of paying dues of hard work, time and sacrifices (not forgetting desert years of no money); this she believes makes it difficult for the families who expect to see the woman doing other things, to support her.

Nevertheless, “it all comes back to education”, she says. If the people in one’s life understood the entails of the job, and its prospects, maybe support would come more readily.

Nana Sika also echoes Producer Fredyma’s thoughts from the previous edition and admits "it has a lot of technicalities, it’s a slightly complicated field.” If you are one to look for the easiest ways out of things, she advises it is not the job for you.

“You do not get to be your usual lady-like self”, is the last reason she gave; and that usually scares the woman most definitely. Lee heels, less clubs, less girl ‘gossip’ time, less boyfriend time, less artificial nails. That does sound scary indeed!

But guess what? Guess who went beyond all of these stumbling blocks and decided she was going to be one of the world’s rarest female sound engineers? Your guess is as good as mine.

Nana Sika is into sound for music and location sounds for events, concerts, conferences, etc. She has handled sounds for reputable events like the Miss Malaika pageant, Ghana’s Most Beautiful, The various Ghana Music Awards, Miss Ghana and a lot more.

She has handled live sounds for some of the country’s finest musicians; Daughters of Glorious Jesus, Rex Omar, Gyedu Blay Ambolley, Raquel, EL, Flowking Stone and Efya.

Even more excitingly, she has had the chance to work with the likes of Grammy award winner Richard Bona, Vinx, Native Vibe, keyboardist Victor Dey, and a lot more international artistes.

Nana Sika’s story may be much different from the normal; she had a  supporting family, she had people to show her the rubrics of the job, she has no pressure from family whatsoever, and gladly executes her job freely.

Of course, the journey has been characterized by prejudicial treatments from some people who were hesitant in working with a female sound engineer; perhaps for the fear that she was not good enough. However, after nearly 20years in the field, she sure has made a mark.

Maybe your story is not as ‘candylike’, or will not be as smooth once you decide to take up this challenge unto yourself, but your story has to be told. It probably will not be told if you did the ordinary.

Today I put it to you, “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

ACTUALLY WHO ARE YOU NOT TO BE?