The Pop Cultural Coast

Music is a revolutionary tool which can shift our moods, shape our perceptions and incite action. In the sacred words of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, an ancestor and a symbolic representation of consciousness, “music is a spiritual thing”.

A connoisseur of tailleur and quaintrelle by nature, Amaarae is inch-perfect fresh! An emerging renaissance icon, the acutely meticulous artiste exudes a distinct star quality of gamine. Her debut Passionfruit Summers EP is a seductive piece of art and soulful melodies that manipulate all seven senses which, in my opinion, is best embodied by its premier and third listed classics “Sundays (feat. Fingers)” and “Happy Mistakes” respectively.

A regular on my playlist, “Catching a Wav” transcends a soothing vibe and creates a rather euphoric ambiance. Her recent video “Fluid,” a jolly good bop directed by Fotombo, teases colourful intimate scenes of a young coquettish lady in a bathtub and explores a very subtle sexual theme. If you want to seize a moment in finite time to unwind and ease your mind, listen to the Passionfruit Summers EP. It’ll be intriguing to see her coalesce this style with RJZ, another Ghanaian artiste with a particularly unique eye for illusory visuals.

Darkovibes (Wave):

 La Même Tape — a manifestation of teen spirit — shifted the entire urban culture and married music to high fashion, film and even the skating culture. Darkovibes, a seemingly naturally talented musician and member of the La Même Gang collective, makes alternative coast music stringing various dialects and sounds together.

There is a certain spontaneity, free-spiritedness and authenticity to his craft — a sort of underlining rebelliousness — which is best conveyed in his track “Stay Woke (feat. Stonebwoy)”.

The record captures the pseudo-Rastafarian hippie Accra City life. It is dotted with wavy slangs, such as “Nice up!”, sweet for a good “toast” or a blotto night of pure debauchery. And the dzama-feel to “Bo Noor” marks his versatility.

The cathedral element in “Mercy” — a record which explores the themes of life, death and the positive vibrations between these two extreme ends –– shrewdly espouses the philosophy of nirvana. Perhaps, a record with Santi, a Nigerian artiste with a moderately gothic persona and raw sound, would be the swiftest broom to a classic like “Tomorrow”.

Kwesi Arthur (The Pop Statesman):

Kwesi Arthur’s Live from Nkrumah Krom EP — referencing the President of Ghana’s First Republic Osagyefo, a cultural icon — is a manifesto of street culture, depicting the daily struggles of life that this new quicksilver generation represent far more accurately than our power-drunk and state-conscious politicians could. Live from Nkrumah Krom is two hundred and thirty-three feet deep and a heartbeat. It represents the ascension of a music movement ‘Ground Up Chale’, in juxtaposition with the concept of a Start-up Republic, and mirrors a son of the motherland kicking in her womb.

On the record “Devil Knocking”, with agony in his voice, Kwesi Arthur appears to be a revolutionary with a glistening flambeau determined to carve a new path, submitting himself and entire purpose to his perceived sense of a higher power. “Ade Aky3” also begins with a melancholic flow set against the background of a somber melody, preceded by a succinct plea seeking the intervention of God before the record continues.

Commercial successes like “Grind Day”, produced by KaySo, and “No Title” capture the vigorous routine and endless pursuit of the Ghanaian Dream –– high hopes, sleepless nights and taking the road less travelled. Nothing struck a chord within me deeper than the line “Yestee gbek3 I no bed”.

The impact of music in the renaissance is meaningless unless its very spirit assaults the status-quo on a mass scale and insists on a future which reflects the illumination of the artisans that steer this drive.