Cold winds from the Northern part of the city of Aarhus “bombard” the “Headquarters” – a popular venue for live concert in Denmark’s second city as guests walk in by the minute.
An eerie silence engulfs the hall as the curtains gradually drop. On stage are members of African Footprint International (AFI), who are poised to delight a mainly Danish audience with a passion for African music. But a huge surprise emerges.
Paul Bilson, the UK based Ghanaian musician and easily one of Ghana’s finest trumpeters is on stage with fellow trumpeters Frank Guilford, Richmond Bilson (who is also his nephew) and AFI artistic director Kweku Addison on percussion among others.
An introduction from keyboardist Appiah Mclove gradually bring in Danish guitarist Otto Dahlgaard Mikkelsen, percussionist Kobina Prah and Burkinabe Kora player Baba Kone thereby turning the party-like atmosphere into a music groove.
With cues from the other trumpeters, the senior Bilson goes into a world of his own – and excitement suddenly becomes a contagious commodity – moving from artists to the audience, audience to the artists and eventually from musician to musician.
With interconnected rhythms and a particular dedication to time and space, Bilson adds to the excitement through a feeling of tension and contrast of complex patterns that tend to flow with deceptively simple trumpet lines.
Earlier, a launch of “World At Your Feet”, an album by Danish guitarist, Nikolaj Rosengreen Pedersen, who has performed on several occasions with AFI in Ghana and Denmark, was marked with an appealing performance alongside Mozambican, Burkinabe, Ghanaian, South African, Syrian and Kurdistani musicians.
A music and dance group based in Cape Coast, AFI is currently on a performance tour in Denmark with support from Keld Hosbond, Royal Music Academy (Aarhus), Klejtrup Musikefterskole and Addison’s Mighty Works Aps.
By John Owoo
At large in Aarhus, Denmark