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Music of Friday, 3 June 2005


Alhaji Sidiku Buari

Alhaji Sidiku Buari is one of Ghana's most successful musicians. His hard work and determination led him to high position as the president of the Musician Union of Ghana, the seventh president of the union.

He is presently the chairman of the African Action Committee of the Federation of Musicians (IFM) and also the acting chairman of the Copyright Society of Ghana (COSGA).? Is he living up to expectation as the president of all musicians in Ghana?

What is he doing to take Ghanaian music to the top? For answers to these questions and more read on.

GB:? Can you tell us a little about your background?

Alhaji: The most important thing about me is that I am a Ghanaian born and bread in Ghana.

GB:? Where in Ghana do you come from?

Alhaji:? I don't think that will be necessary all you have to know is that I am a Ghanaian.

GB:? Did you ever dreamt of becoming a musician?

Alhaji: It all started when I was in the government boy's school where I played with musical instruments but as a student I was more involved in sports than music.

GB:? So how did you get into music?

Alhaji: My music carrier started in the United States of America where I played baseball and sang some songs I was taught in Ghana. This was where I realized I had a hidden talent in me. I fortunately met one of the biggest producers in the U.S. called the Heaven Mechanics and he said he wanted to produce me because I was retiring from active baseball. After retiring, I went to study music in the New York school of music where I learnt more of professional music and the business aspect of music. After which I recorded my first album titled "Kalanbari" which made it very big in the United States.

GB: What is your educational background?

Alhaji:? I was educated in the government boy's school and African College in Ghana. I later went to the New York music school, from there to the Bronze community College. So I now have a diploma in music and business administration and professional interior decoration.

GB:? How many years have you been in music?

Alhaji: I been in music for thirty years and have been able to produce sixteen albums.

GB: How successful would you say you have been in these thirty years in music?

Alhaji: I think I am very grateful to the almighty God for where he has placed me. I am saying this because I am a very determined man; whatsoever I lay my hands on becomes a success. When I was a sportsman, I won four medals for Ghana and still flying high in music. So I am very grateful for what God has done for me.

GB: What is the secret behind this great success?

Alhaji:? Its determination. Anything you wish to do, you have to do it perfectly and be very hardworking.

GB: What are the difficulties you went through in building this success?

Alhaji: There is nothing easy especially if you want to come out with the best, because even Moses as a leader in the bible had problems, Jesus had problems and Mohammed had problems. So far as I remain a leader and a human being the problems come and they can be solved. I can mention specific problems but there were and there are still difficulties.

GB: What would you say is your most satisfactory achievement?

Alhaji: In music my biggest achievement was when I had the chance to record my first album at the united states in 1957 and in sports is when I went to the all African games in Senegal and for the first time won a silver medal for Kwame Nkrumah to shake my hand, I think it was a dream come true.

GB: How did the whole idea of MUSIGA start?

Alhaji: When it started I was a child and wasn't a musician. It started with E.T. Mensah but for a very short time, people started protesting against him and there was this other faction called the guitar band also made up of musicians. We didn't know what happened but all we saw was that E.T. Mensah was changed and they kept changing presidents. Sometimes the presidents don't even stay for six months but get overthrown.

The Union didn't have a permanent office, they kept moving from one place to the other. Unfortunately, because my predecessor had no money to get the union an office. Until I was given the mandate of presidency I was able to bring together all the musicians, mobilize them, put all resources together and MUSIGA now has a place of its own.

GB: How many years have you been the president of MUSIGA?

Alhaji: I just completed my first term of office and am starting another term.

GB: How many presidents came before you?

Alhaji: I think there are about seven or perhaps more than that because even before the late E.T.Mensah in the colonial days, there was a Musician Association, which also had president.

GB: There seems to be some sort of division in the Musician Union what is the problem.

Alhaji: I don't think the problem is with the Musician Union Of Ghana is about the collective society which is COSGA. There's a problem about how musicians right should be reserved, but I know for sure that some will have problem with me because they don't understand why I was elected unopposed in my second term, but there was a congress we attended so if you don't accept me being re elected why don't you come to the congress and oppose it.

We are in a democratic world so I expect anyone who does not understand anything to confront me so that we can sort it out than to sit somewhere and just say it in the air. . But as a leader you are bound to face this. They are not my enemies; they just have different opinion from mine.

GB: Why should you be the chairman of COSGA when you are already the president of MUSIGA?

Alhaji: The law that exist as of now, PNDC LAW 110 states that representatives of various associations should form and become one to collect on behalf of the members which include book writers, literary works, film makers, script writers, musicians etc. When all these associations met they decided and elected me unopposed. There is this bill in parliament yet to be passed and I met the parliamentarians over it and we are still putting things together. It is still open for any changes so we said if you have any problem write to us if it is valid we will do the changes for you. We are doing this because of the piracy problem in Ghana.

A musician will do his music and somebody else reframes it and gets all the money in his pocket. This is what we are fighting against, because our musicians have no social security, no insurance, no pension scheme and most of them die as poppers. We are not thinking about all this but we rather sit somewhere and say Sidiku Buari is not good, when you can send me down through your vote.

GB: So what are you doing about piracy as the president of COSGA?

Alhaji: I have already done some much. This adhesive system is used worldwide but if it comes to Ghana we don't have the gadgets. So we have designed some sort of seal under COSGA which is not easy to be duplicated and can only be found at the internal revenue services and people are complaining that they cant buy something to protect their creative works but it is done everywhere in the world. So we are still against piracy.

GB: What have you achieved so far, being the president of MUSIGA?

Alhaji: By the Grace of Almighty God I have been able to get a whole place we can boldly call our office, I used my own money to furnish the place and also to set up a contract through a lawyer to make sure the musicians get what rightly belongs to them, and to be able to organize workshops to educate our musicians. I had to bring the musicians together to compose songs for the nations campaign against HIV/AIDS and for peace, we have been able to workout something to bring together all young and talented musicians and we're still fighting to bring back the system of live band. My executives and I have done a lot and still doing more.

GB: How would you say you have influenced the people with your position?

Alhaji:? I don't believe in blowing my own trumpet but think with what people are saying about me I have a great impact on people and thank God for directing me.

GB: What do you do apart from music?

Alhaji:? I have many businesses I run. I have over six businesses in Ghana and I am an interior decorator as well.

GB: Who is your role model?

Alhaji: James Brown, and thank God I was able to meet him when I was in the states.

GB: What do you have to tell the general public and the musicians?

Alhaji: I advise my musicians to know that they are the voice of the people and they must always preach in whatever they do during the election and after aftermath. They should pray to have a good country, which is peaceful because that is the only way you can operate, and work very well.

I am wishing everyone out there good luck in whatever they are doing and I want to tell them to be very careful in the sense that they should not allow themselves to be used by anybody because I know my musicians are doing very well and they should keep that determination in whatever they are doing and I wish them all the best.

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