By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
South African singer / songwriter Pilani Bubu together with GH Jazz Collective on Saturday opened the 2019 edition of Live in Accra Jazz Festival with a magnetic concert at the Alliance Française in Accra.
Momentarily disrupted by a raging fire in a nearby construction site, Bubu dug deep into her rich repertoire and unleashed a cocktail of jazz that have been dramatically interspersed with poetic devices.
With Bernard Ayisa (saxophone), Victor Dey (keyboard), Frank Kissi (drums) and Bright Osei (bass), Bubu delighted the crowd with lucid tunes, catchy rhythms and a distinctive sound that was complemented by a felicitous style from the versatile saxophonist.
“I am greatly impressed with the performance – jazz seems to be having its best and most creative times in Ghana. It is really sad not see any news on jazz in the Ghanaian media”, said an obviously impressed Joan Phillips, a teacher from Bristol, United Kingdom.
With a voice that seemed to soar like a bird in flight, Bubu who enriched her repertoire with influences from Toulouse (France), New York / New Orleans (USA), Dublin (Ireland), London (UK) and Lagos (Nigeria), joyously filled the air with compositions that are equally rich in soul, folk, blues and funk.
Undeniably, they played together with simple clarity and ease that managed to sustain the interest of the audience to the last note. Indeed, it was near impossible to tell where composition ends and improvisation begins.
“It should never fail to amaze any jazz lover who had the pleasure of experiencing this memorable performance by an extra ordinary talented lady with support from equally endowed instrumentalists”, added Kofi Manu, a musician in Accra.
Bubu’s first EP “Journey of a Heart”, which was produced by RJ Benjamin, was released in 2012. The first single, “Miss Understood” play-listed on 25 radio stations across South Africa while regularly touring and performing internationally.
Her live repertoire includes a forthcoming album ‘Warrior of Light’ with new big band renditions from her first EP. Bubu has graced the stages of the Drum Beat Festival, National Arts Festival and Fete de la Musique – all in South Africa.
Alliance Française in Accra organized the festival in collaboration with Goethe-Institut Ghana, Best Western Premier Hotel, +233 Jazz Bar & Grill, Republic Bar & Grill and New Morning Arts Centre.