By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Young singer / songwriter Essi alongside the Essi Band last week electrified an enthusiastic audience with a magnetic poise and stage presence that opened a highlife soiree at the Goethe-Institut in Accra.
With a marvelous voice and sleek dancing between romantic lyrics from both traditional and contemporary highlife, the young diva descended into her own world and proved the fact that young Ghanaian musicians are capable of taking highlife a notch higher.
Undeniably, Essi is ready to reach the stars – she is without doubt an amazing performer with a bright future ahead of her – not forgetting her confidence on stage as well as a shrewd knack to engage and sustain the interest of the audience.
Her performance recalls brave and remarkable women including Lola Everet and Charlotte Dada, who radiated energy from the 1960s through their contributions to the development of Ghanaian highlife and the current group of female artists, who have continued to make a sustained and remarkable presence.
Atenteben dynamo Dela Botri surprised the audience as he sang a number of his recent compositions alongside those of the Kumasi Trio, Pat Thomas and the late Nigerian star Sir Victor Uwaifo while interspersing them with brilliant solos from the atenteben flute.
Backed by the Abiza Band, he brought the crowd to his feet through his new songs, which drew heavy inspiration from Afro Beat, Calypso, Palm Wine Highlife and a number of traditional Ghanaian rhythms such as Adowa, Agbadza and Kpanlogo.
Dripping with sweat, acclaimed guitarist Akablay showcased a restructured / intellectual music language as he played highlife that has been heavily spiked with Kundum rhythms from the Nzema area of the Western region.
In recent years, a festival titled Kundum has been transformed into a spectacular sight of silhouettes, bright nights and a wonderful ambience filled with highlife rhythms as waves from the Atlantic Ocean gently pound beaches, which are replete with diverse musical and dance performances.
Goethe-Institut Ghana supported the performance.
Pix – Matthew Hansen