The late sunday afternoon heat is quite bearable as a gentle breeze flows in subtle succession through centenarian nim trees that dot the Youth Home Centre in the Northern regional capital, Tamale.
Five young bands go through sound check formalities as they prepare for the 2014 edition of New Music Ghana Festival – a competition that is dedicated to the empowering of youthful artistes throughout Ghana.
Comprising young musicians under the age of 25, some of whom have never been on stage, they appear nervous as they emerge from makeshift dressing rooms to a worn-out basketball court that served as a performance venue.
Five groups – namely Bizung School, Yurlim, North Wings, Suhuyini and Young Echoes Bands, who have been rehearsing over the past few months, perform a cool blend of rhythms from Northern / Southern Ghana with western rhythms as they woo both the audience and jury members.
North Wings Band, led by Frank Elinam emerge as the first group with a dramatic fusion of Bamaya, Gahu and Agbadza with jazz to create a new music synthesis that drew wild cheers from the audience, which encompassed several music lovers from Accra and tourists.
Suhuyini, Yurlim, Young Echoes and Bizung School Band, who took the second, third, fourth and fifth positions respectively, received cash prizes totaling Ghc 3,000.00 alongside the winning group for their dedication in employing the use of local musical resources in their compositions.
Earlier, flute dynamo Dela Botri held an improvisation and composition workshop for all participating artistes while MUSIGA Northern regional director BA Konlaan gave a lecture on effective lyrics. Dance director Abdul Rahaman Mohammed equally took on the use of traditional dance on stage by musicians.
Korkor Amarteifio, Director of New Music Ghana Festival, moderated a round table discussion of the effective strategies to employ in the quest to embolden and support young artistes in Northern Ghana.
Undeniably, the seeds of full-blown inventive musical creations in Ghana are being sown in the savannah highlands of Northern Ghana through this vibrant, radiant and transformative musical experience.
Goethe-Institut in Accra and the Ghana chapter of Arterial Network supported New Music Ghana 2014, which was organized by the Institute Music and Development.
By John Owoo