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Music of Thursday, 19 April 2007


Mighty Show But Low Patronage

It was a bit of a let-down for the famous Mighty Diamonds from Jamaica that turn-out for their first-ever concert in Africa was appalling.

Despite the heartbreaking attendance, those lucky enough to be at the National Theatre last Friday night had a wonderful time soaking in 80 minutes of the free-flowing, highly entertaining vocal harmonies of the trio which has been together since 1969.

Posters and handbills started surfacing in Accra a few weeks before the Mighty Diamonds tour was due to start but there was no concerted effort to go all out and publicize the band and the dates.

That was really sad because the Mighty Diamonds are custodians of the sweetest and most enchanting reggae. They almost effortlessly caress your ears with delightful songs that make dancing irresistible.

The show was scheduled to take off at 8.00pm but the hall was empty by then. Hoping that things could get better a bit later, the organizers delayed the start till nearly

Only a few seats had been taken up when Master of Ceremony, Ras Murbarak announced the first act, Ras Tontoh. Then came Chizzy Wailer, Osagyefo and Black Prophet. Backed the tight, local All Stars Band, they all did quite well to impress the sparse audience with their message songs.

Performers and Masters of Ceremony at reggae shows must, however, appreciate the fact that we all don?t easily grasp their Jamaican patois and must speak in plain simple English when it is not a strictly Rasta gathering.

The United Kingdom-based Wisdom Band has been to Ghana on two previous occasions and was the last support act for the Mighty Diamonds. A section of the audience wanted more of them when they finished their set but time was too far gone for that.

The main act came on at 12.40 am. A few more people had walked in but it was still an audience size too small for a mighty group like the Mighty Diamonds.

Fronting six instrumentalists, the trio of Donald Shaw, Fitzroy Simpson and Lloyd Ferguson lunged into some of their time-tested songs like Country Living and Pass the Kutchie.

The songs smoothly rolled off them and it was all like a pleasurable, jerk-free train ride as the portion of the small audience who knew their repertoire, sang along and also danced to their fill.

Everyone was already standing and having a satisfying time by the time they started singing ?Get up, stand up for your rights.? It seemed everyone, both musicians and audience, had had enough by 2.00 am when the show closed.

The Mighty Diamonds are on stage again tomorrow at the Ho Sports Stadium. They then move to the Gyandu Park in Sekondi 0n Saturday. Kumasi hosts the last concert of the tour at the Cultural Centre on Sunday, April 22.