You are here: HomeEntertainmentMusic2004 01 12Article 191163

Music of Monday, 12 January 2004


Bernice Is Different

I am no Bernice Offei fan. I am a fanatic. This lady is different: her voice belongs to nobody else not at least, in this country. And, like Mary Ghansah (where has this queen of gospel vanished to?), Bernice refuses to sacrifice the messages of the cross for any other consideration.

The first time I heard this type of voice, I was instantly slain. It was Nana Mouskouri, the Greek songstress singing on Ghana Television in the late 1970s. The timbre in the voice rang out sincerity. And that is what I hear in Bernice?s voice.

Belongs to that class of Christians known as Chrifey, Bernice Offei challenges her listeners to make up their minds, give up their old ways and follow the Lord.

Bernice has just released her fourth album, titled Grateful. My prediction is that like her second album, Hold On, this album currently selling on CDs and cassettes, will take her into more than a million homes in Ghana. As in Hold On, she is careful not alienate the interest of her executive producer even while she preaches the message of salvation.

The very first track bears the unmistakable stamp of her type of Christianity as she warns that no-one can go to heaven without being born-again. But she does not stop there. She says it is not enough to be born-again: the only way to qualify to see to the lord is holiness; that is, a life without envying, backbiting, unforgiveness, etc. The message is driven by a rhythm that is a cross between classical highlife and burger highlife.

The Chrifey message continues in First Love in which she challenges her listeners with a reminder of the zeal which they used to exhibit when they first tasted Salvation. The beauty of the horn-riffs here compelled me to check out the credits. Guess whose name I saw as the hornsman! Osei Tutu, the Great trumpeter, perhaps after Eddie Quansah. The flugel melody. The horns wax more mellifluous in eHappy Birthdayi, a hot and jumpy track that resonates with happiness. There is plenty of music here.

If ever you need to cite an example of how a technical producer?s work affects the outcome of music, I recommend and fast-track to Ye Ma Mo Ayekoo. For such excellent work behind the mixing consoles, it is a mystery that T.V.O. Lamptey is not a household name hereabouts.

Listen to how the choruses of voices are controlled to sound so far-away, fading off into the distance, and then coming up into a crescendo with the horns to burst into an orgasmic climax. Pure musical Pleasure! A similar effect is achieved in Mogya, in which T.V.O?s fingers on the controls multiply the horns into a thousand sounds.

Easily the most memorable track is Mogya. I still am undecided whether the pull is the melody or the fact it has something to do with one of the most powerful weapons in the Christian's arsenal. There is something in this song that pulls at the Christian heart.

Track number nine, Kaashe Gbeyie is also good, but you need to pound it at the crusade grounds.