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Music of Thursday, 12 January 2006


Amandzeba?s New Year Discovery

Only a couple of days after Christmas last year, Amandzeba had to pack his bags and head for Bamako, Mali, in response to an invitation to be part of Tamani, the country’s music awards event.

"What I walked into," Amanzeba told Showbiz last Tuesday, "was more than an event. I discovered a total energising experience that has strengthened my resolve to continue to do what I am doing as a musician committed to promoting authentic African rhythms."

For the past three years since Seydomi Production Company of Mali which also operates in Burkina Faso, Niger, Sweden and France, began the Tamani awards, the event has become the biggest of its kind in Francophone West Africa.

The last Tamani, according to media reports, was attended by 300 local and foreign musicians, producers, promoters, journalists and tourists.

Basically, the event is to award distinguished local musicians but it also give awards to top musicians from other West African countries.

Over the years, the setting for Tamani has been unique. A festival village is rigged up in Bamako where activities connected with music and arts in general take place over six days.

These comprise exhibitions, crafts market, music performances, seminars, eateries and also a rendezvous for players in the music industry.

Amandzeba said that he was greatly impressed by the fact that despite being a relatively poor country, Mali is very rich in culture and wherever he went, he was not left in doubt that the people were culturally awake.

His day of honour was on New Year’s Eve, the awards event when he was called up to receive the award for best Artiste from Ghana and do a performance soon after. "I was deeply touched," Amandzeba said.

"I did not know that all along, some people had been observing what I did in my very small way to keep the rhythms of Africa going."

Although there were similar award winners from other countries outside Mali such as Meiway (Cote d’Ivoire), King Mensah (Togo), ASDJ (Burkina Faso) and Kande Kante (Guinea), Amandzeba said he was made to feel special particularly following his performances.

Besides his performance at the award event, Amandzeba was also invited to put up two other performances; one during a dinner for all the award winners, government officials and members of the diplomatic corps and two; during a New Year live show on Mali TV.

After those performances, Amandzeba said there was nowhere that he went without the people acknowledging him. "What I went through in Bamako was so beautiful and it tells me that it does not take money to grow people’s culture.

"Malians may be poor but their appreciation of their arts and culture is exceptional.

It is so deeply cut into their psyche that I feel re-engineered and the belief I have in myself now is so solid that I won’t be anything else than I am now."

While paying tribute to the people of Mali for their high level of music appreciation, Amandzeba said he also recognised similar support given his music by a number of Ghanaians especially by people in the media who continue to promote his vision.

He made special mention of the selflessness of such radio presenters as Kwami Sefa Kayi, Fiifi Banson, B.B. Menson, Kwasi Aboagye, Hammer, KOD, Abeiku Santana, Mofti Dabre, Isso Paeley, Doreen Andoh, Ken Addy, Beatrice Agro, Kofi Kum Bilson and Bola Ray.

Even as he basks in his recent Bamako re-generation, Amandzeba has plunged into serious rehearsals with his 15-piece band in preparation for "Tabaski," a peace concert scheduled to come off in Togo in March.

The concert, which has Rita Marley as a patron, will feature other Ghanaian artistes such as VIP, messiah and Vibration Kings.