Music of Thursday, 14 October 2004
Mama Africa Anytime the word introducing has preceded a new name in a movie, it has been worthwhile, as the new entrant or artiste has always proved his/her mettle. Over the years it has become obvious that such slots or chances are not given to just anybody, save the ones with great promise.
It is in this light that I believe Ms. Lydia Amankwah, a. k. a. Mama Africa, a creative designer, has got what it takes to be a star in her own right, as far as highlife, in the country, which has become the preserve of males for a long time, is concerned.
And indeed, Mama Africa, who loves to work with beads, paint and do other creative works, has taken a very bold step into the domain of men; ready to match up with the Daasebre (Ahoofe) Gyamenas, Felix Owusus and the like.
With her debut fully loaded 8-track highlife ?love? album, this daring new entrant who wrote all her songs, strongly creates the impression that she has been around for a very long time.
Both the outstanding instrumentation and the incorporation of other voices on the album other than the debutante?s, which slightly betrays that she is a first timer, are the strong points of the album, which will definitely have its fair share of airtime, once it is released.
The over 41 minutes duration album starts rolling with ?Kwadede? ma fi wo (I have missed you), which instantly hits the listener with an irresistible and pleasing reggae featuring Fido ?D?with his fusion of some very interesting rap (Patois to be precise in both English and Akan ? can you believe that?).
And Mama Africa combines very beautifully with featured artiste Paa Sammy in the main lines of the song. This is certainly going to be a hit. After this track rolls another buster ?Fa wakoma mame?(Give me your heart), which runs for 6:10 seconds happens not only to be the track with the longest play time but is also the toast of the artiste, is a groovy highlife, which promises to be a strong contender for honors on the local charts. This is a love song, which will definitely be the toast of lovebirds as it clearly portrays what goes on between two people madly in love - with the solemn promises and all.
?Eya krokro me medo? (Do pamper me) is the main refrain in the third track. It says though sometimes loved ones may hurt each other; the in thing is to talk about it and resolve it amicably. Following on the heels of the third track is ?Sweet Teller? in honour of Lydia?s mother?s ability to tell sweet stories and which is an ingenious indigenous style more tilted to a ?Kwadaeish? or ?Obooic? music type.
It is made up of much local stuff ? traditional drums, flute, cowbells, very pronounced guitar and all, and talks about the pain and anguish war on the African continent has brought to women especially and children as well. It also offers a plea to African leaders, bodies like ECOWAS and UN to stop the fighting and suffering of Africa?s natives. Another rap artiste, ?Titine? is featured on this rack.
Then comes ?Aka menkoa? (I am all alone), a sukus rythmed fast tempo highlife " Mawofo aboame" (My parents have helped me), a fitting appreciation for parents, is the sixth on the list.
?Odo Ankasa? na me dowo efe dee eba no sen literally translates I love you with a true love but what happened to our love? This is the seventh track, which is a must for he/she that has been disappointed or jilted by a loved one. This track is also fused with some Twi raps done nicely by ?Ageorgia? ? some hiplife for you there!
The eighth track ?Ohia begu menim ase? (poverty will disgrace me) reechoes that poverty is to be hated by all. However, though the horns are powerful, the lyrics contain too much pessimism and the track is definitely not a song for the optimist ? poverty indeed is bad but with hard work everyone can come out of it.
On the whole, this is not just a good attempt by all players on this album who are led by Kwaku Antwi, technical producer, T.L.C. Productions, Mile 11, but a very very good one, which only needs good marketing to take it far.