By John Owoo
(Accra International Conference Centre)
The Accra Symphony Orchestra (ASO) last week easily attracted over two- dozen octogenarians to its maiden public concert at the Accra International Conference Centre.
This brings into sharp focus the failure of arts / entertainment industry players in Ghana to tailor events for the elderly, who have been completely ignored in most of the recent artistic creations.
Performing alongside vocal group Lumina, ASO charmed the capacity audience with epic compositions and re-compositions that resemble great climaxes of sound while fluid tone colours flowed with relative ease.
“In the midst of constant dark news from the media, a concert of such enlightenment asserted itself – I have not seen a performance of this nature for over a decade and I have no regrets for doing so tonight” said Ebo Donkor, a retired pharmacist in Accra.
Conducted by Benedictus Acolatse, whose technical and interpretational capabilities surprised the audience, there was a cool interplay between the orchestra and the opera singers – a feat, which Acolatse proved adept with his balancing skills.
With awe inspiring precision, passion and musicality from the Lumina singers, the orchestra wooed the crowd with its explorations into the music of the afro rock group Osibisa, Cameroonian saxophonist Manu Dibango and late Afro Beat King Fela Kuti as the singers displayed high vocal standards with voices that endeared the audience with raw pleasure.
Notwithstanding a rather high sound from the singers, the instruments were in spectacular form for the interweaving performance – thereby ensuring that the orchestra and singers were not so much in contention – but in a fruitful collaboration.
“This is a witty, delightful and sparkling concert – successful classical / operatic shows have to do with expression – and the communication was clear while the tightness of the orchestra never faltered”, added Ian Lambeth, an arts promoter on holidays from the United Kingdom.
An imaginative, tasteful and highly entertaining concert, ASO’s interpretation of Osibisa’s classic tune “Woyaya” brought nostalgic feelings to the audience as they recalled this famous tune which served as a signature tune for Osofo Dadzie series, which run on local TV in the 1970s.
With such a magnetic entry into the arts scene in Ghana, ASO will certainly be on the watch list of promoters, critics and other orchestras outside the country. Capital Bank, Daily Graphic, Joy FM, Citi FM, TV 3 and www.artsghana.org supported the concert.
Pictures – Charter House