I switched on my TV – a rare occurrence – to catch some Nigerian music artists. Wow! Provabs Kosi ft. Ige’s mixes a range of musical styles with a video that includes aspects of contemporary dance. The chorus contrasted operatic female vocals with an almost chaotic burst of shouting. I loved it. That was followed by Rooftop MCs with Shock Therapy – a heavy rock backing track with rap delivered with an aggressive energy.
Sorry to say, but Ghanaian music just doesn’t hit it for me. OK that’s my own personal taste and many will disagree. But it sometimes seems that Ghanaians don’t expect much from music and their conservative tastes have limited the market.
The local sound of Hip Life has improved as producers have paid more attention to the synthesised sounds being used. But when you compare the exciting gospel sounds of the Nigerian artists I mentioned above with Ghanaian gospel, Ghana loses. The poor state of singing and the lack of musical interest and production values in the backing tracks are painful for me to listen to. The DIY, anyone can do it attitude in Ghana is admirable. But sometimes I wonder if this is at the neglect of the development of real skills.
I’ve never had that feeling of excitement, that something new was taking place, when listening to Ghanaian artists. Sarkodie certainly has an exciting sound but I feel a distance from his music that I don’t believe is due to my lack of understanding of his lyrics. In the Nigerian tracks you could believe anything could happen – there was a sense of danger and risk. This is what I expect from art.
Perhaps, the very safeness of Ghanaian music is a reflection of the culture. And perhaps that’s why Ghana is the country that I prefer to reside in.