Entertainment of Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Source: Osarfo Anthony-Flexghana

"Ghanaian musicians should shut up - they don't pay bands men"

The recent reason given by most Ghanaian musicians for their high professional musical performance fees is due to the high cost of paying their instrumentalists but the revelation is that, it is a fable.

Since the beginning of this year, professional fees of our celebrities have come public due to the professional and hard work by some Art writers.

Taking the music industry as a case study, quite a number of our musicians charge a relatively exorbitant performance fees from event organizers. Since live band is now the order of the day, most of these musicians claims their huge fees are due to the fact that they have to pay big budgeted monies to their live band instrumentalists or members.

Flex newspaper got in touch with one instrumentalist who works for one of the veteran highlife musicians to find out if the assertion by the musicians is true but unfortunately, the revelation was a shocking one. He said; “Many a time when I hear or see musicians speak on radio or appear on television and makes the point that their high fees is due to monies they pay to us, sometimes I feel sad, at times too I go mad! In my case I am paid GHC 200 per any performance, I mean whether the performance is in Ghana or abroad. At times, I don’t receive any fee at all.

“As an instrumentalist, I equally know the fees of all my colleagues in my own camp as well as those in the camps of other musicians. In my camp, the highest paid is GHC 300. Mean while if the performance on stage is 1 or 2 hours, we together with the artiste, spends the same ours on stage. On rehearsals, we use our own monies to foot transportation bills and even cater for our own feeding. These preliminary expenses we incur are not refunded to us; yet I often hear our musicians hear they budget for pre rehearsal costs to event organizers, so where is the money?”

“As I said earlier, I also dialogue with other instrumentalists who play for other musicians and the story is the same. Most of them are not paid at all or paid as little as GHC 50. We are all going through the same plight. The sad part of our story is that some of us are married with children. What is GHC 200 to a married man like me? And as you know, the performances don’t come often so if our fees go up, it will help us a lot.

Sometimes when I ask the musician to support me, he does not mind me. Many instrumentalists have stopped playing for many musicians because of poor fee payments. Ghanaian musicians should shut up, they don’t pay bands men”.

Flex newspaper asked this instrumentalist what he and his colleagues will do to expose our penurious musicians concerning their low fees and none payments. “I don’t know because we are not together. For instance I don’t want you to reveal my identity because if you do, no musician will be willing to work with me. In this country if you speak the truth, you become an enemy. Journalists like you and others should help us make our plight known to all and sundry. Ghanaian musicians are cheats!

Ghanaian musicians who stand accused in this regard should bow down their heads in shame for veiling behind their poor instrumentalists to increase their performance fees at the expense of their bands men or instrumentalists. I long for a day these instrumentalists will come together as a formidable force and stage a demonstration against some of these cheating musicians.

Hypocrisy will find all of us out someday.