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Ghana: Burger Highlife Project Brings Separated Mu

Public Agenda (Accra)
27 April 2007

Posted to the web 30 April 2007
Frederick Asiamah
It was all joy for Ghanaian music lovers who thronged the National Theatre in Accra to watch their idols perform in last Saturday's show dubbed "Burger highlife concert," that was put together by the Goethe Institut.
For the music fans, seeing two of the greatest burger highlife duos coming together again to perform at the concert was just refreshing. Many people were therefore ecstatic to see performances from the pair of Charles Kojo Fosu, (aka Daddy Lumba) and Nana Acheampong who until the early 90s comprised the Lumba Brothers; as well as, Okyeame Quophi and Okyeame Kwame who before 2004 constituted the group Akyeame.Indeed, the Lumba Brothers used the occasion to announce their comeback and hinted that their first comeback album will be out soon. But Akyeame gave no hint about their future plans.The live-band concert itself began when MC for the night, Mr. Fritz Baffour invited the Dance Factory onto the stage. The group stirred up the atmosphere with well-choreographed dances to set the tone for a memorable night.
Then came Akyeame, the first Ghanaian group to win the hip-life song of the year award in 1999. The audience was more than happy to see the two perform Masan Aba, the song that won the award in 1999.
The Lumba Brothers followed with the infamous track "Yereye Aka Akwantuo Mu." Then each member of the group, backed by the other, took turn to perform some of his individual songs.
Besides the performances from the two groups were those of the good old Pat Thomas, George Darko, McGod and Charles Amoah. On the whole, many of the spectators described the three-hour concert as thrilling but failed to single out any of the musicians for praise because they were all spectacular.
Yet, those who went to the National Theatre with their dancing shoes on, basically found performances by Pat Thomas and George Darko as dazzling. The two unquestionably distinguished themselves by dishing out melodies that compelled almost everyone to boogie.
Individual brilliance aside, the audience also gave an indication that the message in a particular song was as important as the rhythm. Indeed, their reaction to George Darko's "Moni Palaver" and Pat Thomas' "Sika Ye Mogya" was indicative of mankind's insatiable quest for money and wealth. They danced endlessly to these two tunes with many shouting "encore."
Perhaps, one could say without doubt that Pat Thomas stole the show. He was the last to perform, and if the organizers intended to save the best for the last, they certainly got it right. Almost everyone in the audience, men and women found their dancing shoes as he performed Sika Ye Mogya, Woma Me Nka Bi and Bisa in that order to climax the show. But all that came after he had performed Odo Masan Aba, Me Gyedi So, Yesu San Bra.
There is no doubt that it was the ubiquitous George Darko who set the stage for Pat Thomas with tunes like M'asem Ni, Odo Colour, Akoo Te Brofo, and Akwankwa Teaa in that order. He also played the instrumental version of Mesan Aba and followed it with a medley titled Anyemi before sending the audience dancing with Moni Palaver.
Arguably, the night would not have been complete without McGod. The 1993 ACRAG Award winner gave just two renditions, but the audience was moved, perhaps not by the songs but the way he danced. He definitely added a touch to the songs Adonko and Highlife Agogo with his superb movement on stage. And so the capacity crowd could not help but show appreciation with a standing ovation when he was through with his performance.
And the best was still yet to come as the pony-tailed Charles Amoah took his turn. He also added to the excitement with well-rehearsed dances. He began with Menewo Begoro followed by Asawa Do, before lowering the tempo with So Medo Hwe. However, Eye Odo Asem and Sesa Wo Suban brought the best out him on the night.
Burger highlife music lovers in Accra would certainly relish another opportunity to attend such a concert but for now the train is moving to Kumasi on April 28.
The "Burger highlife concert" is part of a project being organized by the German Cultural Centre in Ghana, the Goethe Institut to assess the impact of Germany's contribution to the music industry in Ghana.
Eleonore Sylla, Director of Goethe Institut says the project forms part of the institute's contribution to Ghana's 50th independence anniversary celebrations after 45 years of its existence in Ghana.
"And the idea of celebrating burger highlife arose because it illustrates perfectly how wonderful and inspiring inter-cultural cooperation can be," she said.
The German Embassy, OneTouch, GTV, Hospital Engineering, Universal Motors, Busy Internet, Citi FM, Lufthansa and the National Theatre of Ghana supported the concert.