By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
The serene terrace of the Goethe-Institut in Accra fell into a fleeting silence as rhythms from a xylophone played by multi instrumentalist Aaron Bebe transformed the cool night air into a musical groove.
With dimly lit flashlights glowing in between assorted plants and flowers, Bebe alongside percussionist Mustapha Bortier and bassist Joshua Nkansah, successfully expressed the musical soul of Ghana through a dramatic fusion of diverse indigenous instruments.
Bebe, who at various stages of the concert, introduced and played xylophone / seperewa from Ghana as well as mbira from Zimbabwe, exhibited imaginative solos from all three instruments that revealed the beauty, diversity and capacities of traditional African instruments.
“The audience had a very close interaction with the three musicians as soft and tender rhythms flowed freely from the stage. The percussionist surprised me with his rather soft approach to playing”, said Margaret Tinsen, a teacher from the United Kingdom.
An apostle of contemporary Ghanaian music, Bebe created his own world of music in which melody, harmony and rhythm flowed into an unceasing stream alongside lyrics in Ga, Twi, Dagarti and English that comment on love, peace, wisdom and corruption among others.
Complimented by subtle kpanlogo and djembe drumming, the trio transported the audience to rural parts of Ghana with extensions of traditional rhythms that echoed the skills of ancient Ghanaian composers and performers.
The audience could not help but ask for more as Bebe played a couple of tracks from “N’yong”, a fifteen piece album, which was recorded in The Netherlands during a performance tour that featured the eminent ethnomusicologist Prof. John Collins.
Currently an instructor at the Music Department, University of Ghana, Bebe has performed with Novisi Dance Group, Ghana Dance Ensemble, Pan-African Orchestra, Abibigromma and Hewale Sounds alongside holding workshops for students and lecturers in the United States, several countries in Europe and many parts of Africa.
The performance, which formed part of “Goethe Abansoro”, a hub that has been providing acoustic music of all genres, was supported by the Goethe-Institut.