By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
Beiko Band, a contemporary music group last week ended the Covid 19 virtual concerts organized by the Goethe-Institut with a visually eloquent performance at the premises of the Institut in Accra.
Led by Austria based Ghanaian percussionist Kofi Quarshie, the band delivered a penetrating performance that recalled the skills of Ga musicians, who recorded classic songs and performed in Accra and other parts of Ghana in the 1950s and 60s.
With Kofi Quarshie (donno / vocals), Mark Essien (bass), Sammy Superstar (guitar / backing vocals), Gideon Anthony (keyboard), Love Mensah (backing vocals), Isaac Ansong (trumpet), Thomas Botchway (drums) and Samuel Addo (percussion), they severally and jointly showcased a cool but intensely charming stagecraft.
Through a cool mixture of highlife, afro jazz and world music, tunes such as “Nyomo Oyi Wala Don”, “Agoo”, “That’s all for Now”, “Nyeh Ka Taashie”, “Mama Africa”, “Beiko”, “Maaba”, which were composed by Quarshie, appeared to flow like a fast-moving stream.
Lyrics that commented on unity, peace, harmony, love, culture, tradition and the economy were supported by an array of local and western instruments that turned the evening into a highly entertaining and memorable one.
Quarshie is definitely among a few Ghanaian musicians who are apostles of Ga musical traditions – and his music encompass inflections from this convention alongside rhythms, beats and styles from other musical traditions.
He has closely worked with Lizzy Hammond, a West African dancer / singer and has been a member of the jazz group KDR Society for over a decade while playing at Jazz Festivals in Romania, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden.
In October 2017 Quarshie released his album “I Remember (Mama I Love You)”. Easily one of Ghana’s best drummers, his passion has always been the development and promotion of traditional music of Ghana, thereby making regular visits to the country.
Goethe-Institut Ghana sponsored the concert.