Monday, January 28, 2008

Is A-Plus a musician or politician?

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday, January 26,2008

Is he a politician in disguise, or Just a bigot exercising his freedom of speech through music as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution?

He is A-Plus, and could best be described as a "political satirist" in the Ghanaian music landscape.

His name, perhaps when mentioned, prompts politicians to "run for cover" because of their "politricks". For seven years now, his punchy but straight-forward lyrics on the country's political arena have brought him under severe criticism and scrutiny by some politicians and a number of people.

But the 30-year-old unrepentant hip-life artiste is unperturbed about what his critics say about his lyrics, and is bent on unleashing another 'bomb' this year but this time, on African politics.In an exclusive interview with The Spectator this week, he explained that his decision to move to African politics was borne out of the fact that "politics is broad. It is not about NPP and NDC.

I want to show that I'm not a local champion." He said the spotlight of his new album, which he described as "extra punchy and knockout," would be on "anyone (politician) who is making Africa difficult to stay in," adding that politicians should see their people as God-given to them to take care of “and not as slaves."

He mentioned General Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President of Nigeria, and the Member of Parliament for Nkawkaw, Kwabena Adusah Okerchiri, among other African politicians as those to be featured in his upcoming album expected to be out during the Easter Festivities.

He told The Spectator that he decided to throw the searchlight on Atiku Abubakar because he is said to own about 800 cars, which he said, their acquisition is doubtful while Kwabena Okerchiri on the other hand, has also become a pompous leader.

A-Plus, who spoke with confidence and showed off his maturity and knowledge on African politics, expressed worry at how some African politicians and leaders have taken advantage of political power to amass wealth to the detriment of their people.

He observed that corruption has characterised African leadership, and as a result, politicians are bent on being in power for long, even when their term of office expires “so that they can continue stealing and oppress their people.”

His next album is anticipated to, as usual, lampoon top African leaders and politicians whose administration has been or was characterised by bad governance with its resultant corruption and death of people.

So, will the Southern African country, Zimbabwe, and its 'defiant' President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, be punched for his reportedly 'bad governance'? And what about the recent post electoral crisis in Kenya?

It is important that such politicians should take a cursory look at the end of the likes of former Liberian President, Charles Taylor, and former President of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko, and take a lesson from it before it's too late, he advised. "How they ended up should be a guide to all African leaders and politicians," he added.

Touching on the local political front, he said that the NPP flag bearer for the 2008 elections, Nana Akuffo-Addo, is one politician he admires, saying "Nana Addo is my godfather". When asked why, he said: "Nana Addo is an individual who has been in politics for long and came out clean".

"I also like freedom fighters like Kwaku Baako and Kwesi Pratt. I'm crazy about them" he added, and urged Ghanaians to celebrate them since some fifty years to come, these freedom fighters would take over from Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who would not be "remembered" again.

Before the NPP December congress last year, he said, some of the presidential aspirants and other politicians approached him to do a song for them but rejected all those offers, some of which were ready to pay a whopping 40,000 dollars!.

He said that, his single "Da no"(That Day) which gave Nana Addo thumps up and recommended that delegates voted him as the NPP aspirant, was something he decided to do for him. "Nana never paid A-Plus one cedi.

He didn't approach me for a song for his campaign," he pointed out. Being a member of the Friends of Nana Akuffo-Addo and his godfather, he made up his mind to do the song for him as his contribution to the campaign, saying "it was something I was dying to do".

A-Plus explained that it was after the song has been made that Nana even got to know about it, and adopted it out of the lots he received from other musicians and people. "All the production and everything were then paid for by Nana Addo," he said.

He told The Spectator that he is ready to do a song for any politician irrespective of his political affiliation but that person should be a rare leader with issues and must have the country and its people at heart.

Not only is A-Plus a 'kanawu' musician, he is also set to take a centre stage in comedy as he has successful passed two tests of comedy shows in August and December last year. He said he wants to prove his versatility. ''The talent is there and I only need to unearth it," he said.

The Spectator finally asked him the big question which has been bothering the minds of many people: Is A-Plus a politician, which he answered with questions. 'Was Fela Kuti a politician? Is the American group, Black Eyed Peas politicians? Both Fela and the Black Eyed-Peas have been singing about corruption, injustice and bad governance in society.

Go Africa! Concert Tonight

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday, 19 January 2008

THE United Kingdom’s most highly regarded roots-reggae band, Steel Pulse, will tonight lead an array of celebrated African musicians at the Independence Square in Accra to start the Ghana 2008 football tourney in a musical way. It has been dubbed the "Go Africa Concert".

The show is expected to draw both foreign and local football and music lovers across Africa who have arrived in the country for the 2008 MTN Africa Cup of Nations, Ghana 2008, which begins tomorrow.

Billed to perform alongside the Grammy award-winning band are the female trio from Uganda, Blu 3; Orentchy from Cote D’Ivore, King Nee from Togo, Nigeria’s 2 Face Idibia, Malaika from South Africa, Don Metok from Benin and a host of others.

Representing Ghana are the now most sought for artistes in the hip life industry, Batman Samini, Tic Tac, Ofori Amponsah and Kwaw Kesse among others.

The audience is assured of nothing but pure music of all genres which would be brewed with football actions to herald the opening match between the Ghana Black Stars and Guinea on Sunday afternoon at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra.

Malaika is expected to treat the fans to some Afro pop music while the multi-lingual Orentchy dish out some refreshing francophone and funky music with the Ghanaian artistes delivering some great hip life and highlife tunes.

According to the organisers, fans should count on the several artistes for their favourite songs as the artistes are really poised to deliver to make the 2008 tournament a memorable one in its history.

The "Go Africa Concert" has been put together by MTN in collaboration with other partners and powered by Charter House Productions.

Akufo-Addo Meets Artistes

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday, 19 January 2008

Perhaps, for the first time, the crème de la crème in Ghana’s music and theatre industry have openly gave a resounding thumbs-up to a politician.
This was when the 2008 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, hosted them on Thursday.
At a ceremony to interact with the artistic industry, the industry’s players pledged their unflinching support and also to do everything possible and within their power to ensure his victory in the upcoming December polls.

The meeting forms part of Mr Akufo- Addo’s strategy to reach out to every sector and group in the country with his all-inclusive gospel during his administration.

Attended by an array of musicians, actors and actresses, comedians, producers and engineers, it afforded him the opportunity to interact with them.

According to them, their decision is borne out of the fact that the candidate who is a great lover of music, has demonstrated his commitment to help the industry.

Nana Kwame Ampadu, General Secretary of the Musicians Union of Ghana, said he was stunned by the fact that for the first time in the history of the industry, a presidential candidate has invited them to wine and dine together, adding, "we appreciate his interest in our industry".

"It’s amazing and it shows how much you love the industry and we will make sure you become president by all means. Anyone who plays down on the music industry does so at his own peril," he pointed out.

He said that musicians are ever ready to give Mr Akufo-Addo the necessary support whenever the need arise.

David Dontoh, an actor, took the opportunity to congratulate Nana Addo on his election to lead the NPP party. He said the ceremony attests to the fact that politicians are beginning to realise the important role of the artistic industry to national development.

He assured Nana Addo of his colleague actors and actresses support of his government, and urged other political leaders to also show interest in the industry to ensure its growth.

The other unions, including the Ghana Association of Phonographic Industry, Professional Musicians Association of Ghana and Ghana Concert Parties Union, all voiced their readiness to make Nana Addo’s ambition of leading the country become a reality in order for him to move the industry to another pedestal.

Earlier, Nana Addo assured all the players in the entertainment, art and culture industry of the necessary support needed to boost the growth of the industry when given the nod in the December polls.

He underscored the role of the industry to the country’s development and pledged that he would make it part of Ghana’s Development agenda, adding that over the years, the industry has helped in Ghana’s development, hence the need "to further give it a push to make it gain more recognition on the international market".

Those in the industry needed not be poor, he said, since they have all it takes to create wealth for themselves and therefore. He urged them to put in their maximum best in order to be successful.

Those who attended included C.K Mann, Paapa Yankson, Kojo Antwi, Agya Koo Nimo, Mac Tonto,Amakye Dede, Ms.Grace Omaboe, Nana Amma McBrown, Teacher Africana, Paa George, Jewel Ackah, Orlando Julius, Tic Tac, A-Plus, Wutah, Praye, Ex-Doe and Comedian Bob Okala.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Meet Miss Ghana-Italy 2007

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday, 12 January 2008

When her friends gave her the title "Miss Ghana," at the time she was growing up in her locality in a city north of Italy, little did she know she would one day wear the prestigious crown of the title in that country.

But surprisingly, the prophesy of the friends of the 19-year-old Ghanaian Winifred Tawiah, student of Institute of Andrea Mante-gna, became a reality when she was adjudged Miss Ghana-Italy 2007 on October 27.

"I felt so excited when I was announced as the winner. I never expected to win," she told the TW in Accra on Wednesday after she paid a courtesy call on the Editor of the Ghanaian Times, Ms Ajoa Yeboah-Afari.

She was accompanied by Mrs. Nana Adjoa Awindor, Managing Director of Premier Productions Limited and Jane Awindor, of Irene and Jane fame.

Ms.Tawiah said beauty contests have been something she has always wished to participate in since "I want to exhibit my talent," but noted that she never thought of becoming a beauty queen that early.

"I know how to pull and entertain crowd. I’m really an amusing person," she said, giving an infectious smile. She recounted how her performance of the popular "hei Alhaji" song at the event excited the audience.

Ms Tawiah, who migrated from Ghana to join her mother and siblings in Italy at the tender age of three, is currently in the country for a week-long visit as part of her prize package.

The final year biochemistry student told the TW about her intention to settle in Ghana after pursuing a three- year university education in Italy since "I feel relaxed and walk freely here without fear of anything."

While in Ghana, she said, she will take the opportunity to explore the traditions and culture of the people of her beautiful home country because "I know nothing much about Ghana."

No wonder she said "I am from Kormantse in the Eastern Region" although it is in the Central Region, when speaking about her origins at the Miss Ghana-Italy event. The audience, she said, gave her a loud applause amidst shouts and did not realise she had made a mistake.

"It was not until I came home that I realised my mistake because my mother told me I have disgraced her since Kormantse is not in the Eastern Region but rather in the Central Region," she said with a laugh.

Like herself, she said that there are a lot more Ghanaian youth in Europe who do not know anything about their own country, a situation she said does not auger well for themselves and the country.

For this reason, she told the Times Weekend that, she is devoting her reign as Miss Ghana-Italy 2007 to educate the youth on the need to appreciate their country, its traditions, culture and people, saying "I want those out there to keep their culture."

Ms.Tawiah said the first and last time she visited Ghana was 10 years ago, indicating "I prefer living in Ghana because with a good job, one would live better here than in Europe."

Touching on beauty pageants, Ms.Tawiah who aspires to be a nurse, indicated that many parents do not want to allow their wards to participate in such pageants because of the perception that participants normally expose vital parts of their body.

Wearing a skimpy skirt or beach costumes on platforms of beauty contests or on the streets, she explained, does not make one an immoral person. She noted that beauty contests helps to uncover talents and provides opportunities, hence the need for parents to allow their wards to participate in them.

She said that she would prove to people that "beauty is about intelligence and a beautiful girl can do so many things".

Ms.Tawiah, who has been modeling in her area in Italy, told TW that she would also go into film acting as a part-time profession because she loves acting. Her hobbies are singing, dancing and acting.
(From Left)- Miss Ghana Italy ,Winifred,Nana Adjoa Awindor and Stephen Effah,journalist


By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday, 12 January 2008

WITH just 11 months to the country’s general elections, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has suggested to the Electoral Commission to review the voting period to avoid late counting and collating of ballots and any malpractice.

It said the current voting period, which is between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. should be shifted to 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. to make room for counting of ballots and collating of results in day light.

"It is our belief that the incidence of threats to peace due to problems created in the counting and collating of election results in the night may be prevented," the commission said at a news briefing in Accra yesterday.

The briefing was aimed at reminding stakeholders of their respective roles in ensuring free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections in December.

Mrs. Augustina A.Akumanyi, Deputy Chairman of the NCCE in charge of programmes, said the EC must ensure that all temporary staff engaged to assist with poll duties are of "unquestionable character".

She said: "They must be well versed in the rules and regulations governing the elections".
Another concern in the elections is timely declaration of election results by the EC, Mrs Akumanyi said and added: "Disagreements over election results in African countries pose a serious challenge to political stability and constitutional development on the continent, with the latest being the Kenyan experience".

Mrs. Akumanyi said such socio-political instability in some instances has led to armed conflicts.It is important for Ghana to learn from such examples and ensure that the upcoming general election is free, fair, transparent and peaceful, she said.

She advised parliamentary candidates of the various political parties to use inspiring language and avoid inflammatory utterances in their campaigns.

Mrs Akumanyi also stressed the need for the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), to assist the EC with ideas that go beyond partisan interests of political parties and proposed that the IPAC concept should be replicated in all the regions and districts to ensure that disagreements over the elections are nipped in the bud early.

She also spoke about the roles of the security agencies and the religious bodies in the success of the elections saying that the credibility of the elections would depend largely on the conduct of the security agencies before, during and after polling.

Religious bodies she said should also use their platforms to promote peace and encourage their congregations to exercise their franchise.

Give 2008 Presidential Candidates Bodyguards- NCCE Boss

By Stephen Kwabean Effah
January 14,2008

The Chairman of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Laary Bimi, says the state should provide security personnel as bodyguards for all the presidential candidates for the 2008 general elections.

The provision of bodyguards for the candidates, irrespective of their political parties, is paramount for their protection before and after the upcoming elections," he said, adding: "Presidential candidates so far nominated should be given equal protection by the state."

Mr. Bimi was speaking at a news briefing in answer to whether there is the need for the presidential candidates to be provided bodyguards by the state.

The conference, held in Accra on Friday by the NCCE, sought to remind the various stakeholders of their roles in ensuring free, fair, transparent and peaceful polls in December this year.

Mr Bimi argued that providing bodyguards for the candidates is appropriate in view of the recent assassination of Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani Prime Minister, after a rally in Pakistan last December.

However, "before providing such bodyguards, it is important that the state consults the candidates, and there should not be any discrimination in the number of guards or motorcades to be provided each candidate.

"There shouldn't be a situation where a candidate is given a greater number of guards or motorcades than the other. They should be provided bodyguards with equal strength.He advised them to desist from wading into chieftaincy matters which may cause conflicts, saying, "there are institutions already set up to address such issues".

He noted that the country now has a plethora and mosaic of chieftaincy disputes, and as such, political leaders in their bid for votes should avoid issues that have to do with chieftaincy matters.

Touching on chiefs and politics, he said that there is nothing the NCCE can do to prevent chiefs from engaging in open politics, but said that the Constitution forbids chiefs to engage in open politics.

The Chairman advised political party leaders not to preempt or declare election results, saying "it is only the Chairman of the EC, who can declare the results of general elections in the country".

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Wednesday, 09 January 2008

AN attempt by a driver to save the life of a stray dog early yesterday morning, resulted in the death of the two people on board his vehicle and the injury of a seven-month-old baby.
The accident which occurred at about 6 a.m. on the Tema motorway, involved three private cars whose occupants were going to work.

The cars, a black Opel Vectra with registration number GT 9981X, was travelling from Tema to Accra, while the other two cars, a Nissan Primera with registration number GT 62 X and another Opel a white Vectra GW8881 Q heading towards Tema from Accra.

The driver of the black Vectra was crossed by a dog at the Klagoon Underpass area of the motorway which he attempted to save but unfortunately hit it and lost control of the car, resulting in it somersaulting many times and skidding off into the other lane.
The two other cars that were travelling from Accra to Tema on seeing the black Vectra somersaulting, slowed down but were hit by the car and went off the road.
Briefing the Times, ASP Timothy Dassah, Unit Commander of the Ashaiman MTU, who confirmed the accident, said the three people in the Nissan Primera including a woman and her seven-month-old baby sustained injuries.
The baby is now in a critical condition and has been put on oxygen but the mother and the driver, together with the only passenger in the other white Vectra are responding to treatment at the Tema General Hospital.

ASP Dassah said the bodies of the two people who died on the spot have since been deposited at the Tema General Hospital morgue.

Legon Must Renew Itself - Prof. Kwapong

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Wednesday, 09 January 2008

The first Ghanaian Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Alexander Kwa-pong, has urged the university to carve out a new and appropriate niche, and renew itself as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

He said that although the university is still the "Primus Inter Pares," (first among equals) and has made an indispensable contribution to the country’s development, it must adapt and change itself to conform to current trends.
Launching the anniversary in Accra yesterday, he said that it is important for the university to have a clearer appreciation and deeper understanding of what it has accomplished so far and what needs to be done in the immediate, medium and long term future to make it "a truly great century world university".

The anniversary has the theme: "Legon-Charting a New Course". Activities for the anniversary include the re-launch of the university’s endowment fund, presidential debate, West Africa inter-university games and an international conference.

It will be climaxed in August, the month the university was chartered, with a special congregation to award honorary degrees.

Professor Kwa-pong noted that the higher education landscape in Ghana is now different from the early pioneering days, hence the need for the University of Ghana to re-examine its focus.

He said that he welcomes the complete overhaul and revamping of the university’s infrastructure and resources as recommended by the visitation panel to the university last month in its report.

He underscored the need to restore quality to the university as an academic institution by assuring quality to its faculty, teaching and research and by giving very high priority to expanding and enhancing graduate progra-mmes.

He also advised the university to reform "its fraught examination system".
Prof. Kwapong praised the university council and the Vice Chancellor for appointing the Visitation Panel which he described as timely and urged the authorities concerned to implement the well –thought out recommendations.

It is important to honour Ghanaian pioneers and all those who laid the solid
foundation for the growth and development of the university into a great African university, he said.

Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse, Chief Adviser to the President and a member of the university council, pledged the government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations, of the panel, saying "the government takes the report seriously".

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Tuesday,December 08,2008

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has painted a gloomy picture of the country's health sector with the projection of a 1,706 and 11,696 shortfall of medical doctors and professional nurses, respectively by 2010.
Based on assessment from admissions and productions from the two teaching hospitals it is clear that the 3,732 medical doctors needed in the various health facilities nationwide by 2010 cannot be met, Dr. George Amofa, Deputy Director of GHS has said.

Delivering a paper on the topic: "Promoting Health for All - The Challenges," at the New Year School in Accra on Sunday, Dr. Amofa cited manpower in terms of adequacy in numbers, skill mix and distribution as the major challenge within the health sector noting that the current ratio of one doctor to 9,090 people one nurse to 1,538 and one pharmacist to 13,373 is not the best for the sector.

He said that “37.6 per cent of the health sector workforce falls within the age group of 40 and 50 with 33.9 per cent within the age group of 50 and 60," adding that 80 per cent of the 33.9 constitutes medical assistants and midwives.

He noted that Ghana's geographical location in the tropics also creates a condition favourable for the "manufacture of all types of vectors and disease" while global village is also posing serious challenge to health in Ghana.

The estimated per capita health expenditure of 40 dollars per individual in 2015 for scaling up health interventions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) he said may not be achieved in the country.

He explained that while the MDGs prescribed 21 dollars expenditure for an individual for the year 2007, Ghana was around 12.3 dollars, adding "a best realistic assessment of potential available resources to the health sector for 2015 is estimated around 16.5 dollars" in Ghana which is below the 40 dollars.

Dr Amofa also observed that, despite the galaxy of very skillful health workforce, "we have to admit that there has been laxity and poor planning and management of health service, especially at the district level where the action is.

"There is corruption and mismanagement of resources by a few of our staff. More importantly, the attitude of our staff leaves much to be desired and a hindrance to promoting health for all," he said.

In spite of the numerous challenges, he said there has been progress in the health sector in terms of infrastructure and access to quality health care, saying "we have done quite reasonably well".

"Major successes, have been chalked especially in areas controlling childhood vaccine, preventable diseases and epidemic detection and response," he added.

He said the service is working hard to ensure that the gap which is likely to be created by 2010 is forestalled, adding that the establishment of the College of Surgeons and Physicians is a major breakthrough for the training of more professionals and check the brain drain of medical doctors.

The move by the University for Development Studies and University of Cape Coast to train medical professionals, he said would also be another step to solve the problem of manpower in the health sector is incentives like salary enhancement and vehicles given to medical professionals.

Guidelines Undermine Decentralisation— Expert

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Monday, 07 January 2008

A Local Government expert has said that the central government’s guidelines on how allocations from the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF) to the assemblies should be expended are undermining fiscal decentralisation in the country.

Kwamena Ahwoi, a Senior Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, said the assemblies were expected to use the DACF to finance "development needs and priorities determined by themselves, not by the central government".

The allocations come with directives as to how they should be expended and according to Mr. Ahwoi, this does not give the assemblies the free hand to use the funds as they deem fit.

"Clearly, the purpose for which the DACF was set up by the Constitution is being undermined with these guidelines," Mr. Ahwoi, a former Local Government Minister in the NDC administration, said at a symposium at the ongoing annual New Year School at Legon on Saturday.

The Common Fund Act states: "The Minister of Finance in consultation with the Minister responsible for Local Government, shall determine the category of expenditure of the approved development budget of the district assemblies that must in each year be met out of amounts received by the assembly from the fund."

Mr.Ahwoi who was speaking, on the topic: "Resourcing District Assemblies for Effective Local Governance", pointed out that the guidelines, the first of which were issued in 1994 and the recent one last year, "represent excellent examples of the extent of the central government control over what are meant to be resources belonging to the assemblies".

The situation, he explained, has resulted in a number of problems for the assemblies including delays in releasing funds allocated to them, such as occurred in 2003 when arrears of over one year accrued.

He said that the constitutionality of allocating a percentage of the fund to Members of Parliament is doubtful, adding, "the constitution only requires parliament to approve the formula for disbursement; the disbursements themselves are to go to the MMDAs"

"By dictating beneficiaries of the disbursement other than MMDAs, Parliament has gone beyond approval of disbursement," he said.

In the same vein, the constitutionality of the allocations to the Ministry of Local Government, the Regional Coordinating Councils and the Common Fund Administrator is similarly doubtful".

Mr. Ahwoi therefore called for the scrapping of the guidelines and repeal of the section of the DACF Act that empowers the Minister of Local Government and the Minister of Finance to issue those guidelines.

"Total fiscal decentralisation will require that the development and investment budgets of the decentralised departments be wholly transferred to the district level and relocated in and integrated with the budgets of assemblies," he suggested.

He said the surest way of keeping finances and functions of assemblies in equilibrium is to operationalise the district composite budget concept that was conceptualised in 1993.

The other speakers at the symposium called for reforms in the country’s decentralisation process, especially in revenue generation, human resource development and their functions to make it more effective and efficient.

Nana Boachie-Danquah, Chairman of the Local Government Council, one of the speakers, said that there are too many central directives and instructions to assemblies arising out of unequal and unaligned power relations.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Top Marks For Lumba

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday, 05 January 2008

The once upon a time high life ‘twins’, Lumba Brothers, last Saturday proved to the hundreds of patrons who attended the ‘United For Peace Concert’ that they are still a force to reckon with in live band musical performance.

Throughout their one and a half hour show, the kings of highlife, Nana Acheampong and Daddy Lumba, thrilled the charged audience with their hit tracks from both their old and new albums.

It was as if there were no seats in the packed auditorium as everyone got onto their feet to dance and or sing along with the ‘born again’ duo who staged a spectacular stagecraft. The two musicians went their separate ways in the 1980s after their first hit album ‘Yere ye aka Akwantuo Mu’.

They were preceded by other performers but at exactly 1:30 am, when some of the audiences were feeling exhausted and Nana Acheampong stepped onto the stage in an all white-attire, the reception was amazing.

His appearance was greeted with yelling and thunderous applause, which ‘resurrected’ those dozing off at the time. Although his performance did not initially stimulate the audience, he went all out to finally pull the audience to the dancing floor.

With few minutes for Nana to end his performance, Daddy Lumba showed up on stage but he quickly moved backstage after few seconds, hyping the excitement of the crowd. Nana’s dancing moves with his dancers were impressive.

It was a paparazzi affair when Nana Acheampon finally paved way for Daddy Lumba to mount the stage for his performance. His fans moved forward to the stage amidst shouts with their cameras to snap shots of him while others set their phones to record his performance.

Others tried all out to touch him. His love songs and silky voice perhaps charmed the audience, especially the ladies who wanted to either join him on stage or move him to join the audience.

For about 30 minutes, the man who has 24 albums to his credit moved the spirits of the audience with his love songs and seductive dance on stage. Just as he got charged to deliver more of his songs, Nana Acheampon joined him on stage to do their 1980s hit track "Yereye Aka Akwantuo Mu’.

But just as the Ghana Base Band hit the tune of the track, boxing champion, Professor Azuma Nelson, emerged from backstage to lift up the hands of Nana and Daddy Lumba to signify their reunion.

It was an exciting moment for both the crowd, Nana Acheampong and Daddy Lumba as there were shouts all over the auditorium.

The show, organised by Ghana Base Management Limited began with performances by Wulomei, Antwi ne Antwi,Castro, Mzbel, Daasebre Dwamena, Nana Quame, Becca and Wutah, all of whom performed satisfactorily.

‘Decemba 2 Rememba’ - A Review

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday, 05 January 2008

THE Accra International Conference Centre was the place to be last Friday when the maiden edition of the ‘Decemba 2 Rememba’ Concert earned it a place in the year-end entertainment rankings.

It was all excitement at the filled auditorium when the various artistes entertained the audience with their impressive performances which moved patrons from their seats to do some boogying.
Indeed, it was a night to remember for the crowd of the show. It provided a platform for the one time Music of Black Origin award winner, Batman Samini, to celebrate his 25th birthday with the audience.

Although all the artistes proved their maturity in stage performance, especially with live band, that of the ‘Kangaroo’ man, Tic Tac, was exceptional. His introduction onto the stage was welcomed with thunderous applause as he appeared with the beat of his hit track, ‘Philomena.’
His performance of some of his hit tracks upturned the excitement at the hall as he together

with his seven-man band squad thrilled the ecstatic crowd who demonstrated their verdict by taking to the floor.

It was as if there was no seats at the auditorium when the band squad struck the tune for his current hit track ‘Kangaroo’. Almost every Tom, Dick and Harry got onto their feet to show their prowess in dancing the ‘Kangaroo dance,’ a new dance which imitates the walk of a kangaroo.

Then came the moment, when 10 people were called from the crowd to the stage to do the Kangaroo which could be described as captivating. It was all shouts and excitement at that moment.

The excitement did not end with Tic Tac’s performance but continued with the ‘birthday boy’ Samini, who was the last artiste to perform. His introduction was greeted with a deafening applause but his performance although energetic, stimulate the crowd.

Instead of performing his songs which the audience is familiar with, he used his turn as a ‘teaching class’ to teach the audience a song on his upcoming album which received little attention from the audience.

Barely 20 minutes into his performance, he was invited to the lobby of the Conference Centre where he cut his Ghana map designed cake with his picture embossed on it to begin the birthday party.

Before Samini’s performance, VIP, the ‘Nima Boys’ who although did not perform with a live band, also managed to charm the audience with their stagecraft and songs.

Wearing T-Shirts with the inscription "We Are Back", the trio really showed they were back and for that matter for good after being on a low key role for sometime now.
Nana Quame and Kwabena Kwabena slowed down the tempo when they took the stage in turns to treat the audience with cool love songs.

After few minutes of performance from each of them Nana Quame and Kwabena Kwabena, the Nescafe African Revelation champs, Praye took over the stage with a spectacular performance.
The group, which appeared on stage with some two children, showed they were a force to reckon with. The biggest surprise from the trio was when they invited the ‘Sexy’ Tinny and 4X4 to do the remix of their song titled "Jacket"

Kwaku Gyasi, Mzbel, Slim Buster, Okyeame Quami and Bradez, Daasebre Dwamena and Kofi B also put up wonderful performances. The show was put up by Citi FM and Agoo Magazine with sponsorship from MTN, Burn Energy Drink and Coca Cola.

The ‘Decemba to Rememba’ show is to be an annual affair.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year’s Eve at Osu

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Saturday, December 29,2007

OSU R.E., popularly known as ‘Oxford Street’ will on New Year’s Eve host one of the biggest outdoor entertainment events in Accra, a street carnival, to draw the curtain on the Golden Jubilee year and usher in 2008 in style.

It will be all music, fun and merry-making when hundreds of people dressed in fancy and colourful costumes pour onto the streets of Ghana’s ‘small London’ to celebrate peace and West African culture in vibrancy and colour. For, it will have a good representation from other West African countries, as well.

This year’s event has been put together by an Accra-based radio station, Vibe F.M, in collaboration with Ghana @50 Secretariat and MTN.

The carnival was established as a major street party to enhance cultural bonds between different regions and countries.

At exactly 8 p.m. on Monday, all shops along the street, from the Danquah Circle to the Castle traffic lights will close and the crowd will take over with a procession of masqueraders.

The event, which will run until the following day, will have four different stages: the ECOWAS Village, Children’s Village, Live Stage and the DJ Power Play stage.

An official of Vibe FM told Times Weekend that the ECOWAS Village will feature francophone, Liberian and Nigerian artistes and disc jockeys with their indigenous foods and drinks on sale.
What the Children’s Village will offer includes kids castles, face painting, lots of ice cream and soft drinks, while the live stage will offer live performances by Samini,Tic Tac, Reggie Rockstone, Kweku T and Wutah among other shows.

The DJ Power Play stage will present a rotation of disk jockeys from the various radio stations and night clubs in the country dishing out mixes of good tunes.

The official urged all to attend the carnival as it will be filled with lots of fun suitable for the whole family.

Ofori Amponsah fails to Rock fans

By Stephen Kwabena Effah

The high expectations of the hundreds of revellers who thronged the National Theatre on Christmas Eve for the maiden edition of “Ghana Rocks with Ofori Amponsah and Friends” were dashed when the headliner, also known as Mr All 4 Real, failed to move their spirits.

Ofori Amponsah, who has released hit upon hit over the years, was greeted with a standing ovation amidst an uproar of shouts and thunderous applause when he was introduced onto the stage. However, he simply could not hold the expectant audience.

With his carefully selected tracks, which perhaps, he had rehearsed with the live band, he tried with the vim and vigour to move the crowd from their seats but could not succeed as only a few people responded to his performance.

For the about one hour when he performed with the live band backed by two ladies, Ofori Amponsah, who has been noted for not performing well with a live band, moved from one end of the stage to the other without any creativity.

It was when he performed his new hit “Odwo” that he managed to get quite a number of the crowd to respond but even that was not very encouraging. For the rest of the tracks, some of the people responded at the start of the songs but took their seats before he even got to the middle of the songs.

Further, none of the artistes who have been featured on his numerous albums were present to sing their part of the songs, which created what could be termed as gaps in such songs like “Odwo.”

Due to their absence, he had to double as both singer and rapper on songs which he had featured Kofi Nti and Samini, among others.

A number of the patrons who spoke to the TW expressed disappointment about Ofori Amponsah’s performance and wondered why he is not able to stage a good live band performance.

“I expected something lively and different from him but what he gave us, to me, cannot qualify to be a real live band performance,” Eugenia, a fan who was at the concert said.

She said that she has been an ardent fan of Ofori Amponsah for quite some time now but was disappointed about his performance that night, but added “he is good in video clips.”

Another patron, Richard, told the TW: “I can’t understand why the organisers did not invite any of those who have been featured on his songs to sing their part for a big concert like this. I think this brought a heavy burden on his performance”.

Prior to his performance, Daasebre Ahuofe Dwamena, Kofi B and Shasha Marley, Lenny Akpadi, the hottest sensation in gospel music, Kwaw Kesse and the hei alhaji man from Cote d’Ivoire treated the audience with good musical performances which made the audience yearn for more.

Lenny Akpadi opened the curtain for the night with his hit “the Most High God” which seemingly turned the parked auditorium into a praises session in a church auditorium with handkerchief flying all over.

Daasebre Dwamena,Kofi B and Shasha Marley who played with the live band really performed with perfection that one wonders whether it was a live band playing or a compact disk as there appeared to be no difference.

But the man who stole the show, Kwaw Kesse, appeared from behind the audience in Father Christmas attire. He did not only dress as such, but gave away some of his CDs and other gifts to the audience as Christmas presents. His ‘abodam’ slogan, which he has associated himself with was on the lips of all.

The Ghana Rocks show was put together by Charter House Productions in collaboration with Onetouch.