Our friends at Blogging Tracks have recently organised, in association with the Moringa Tree, a festival in Ghana aiming to bring people from around the World, Ghana and the local community together to experience the fundamental universal constant which is Music! Below is an account of the organisation that went in to the event, how it all went and the vibe that transcended the whole festival. Enjoy, it's a great read and there are some amazing artists that you may want to check out.
AND SO...The Asabaako Music Festival train pulled into Busua village last weekend for two days of live music and SERIOUS beach parties!! After 2 years of figuring out how this might work and a mad few weeks of preparation, everybody came together to make the Asabaako Music Festival a very special event, combining the most beautiful beach setting with a mix of traditional to modern African and African-inspired music. People came from around Ghana and mixed with those from around the world, alongside a village of people whose energy, enthusiasm and welcome left everybody awestruck.
Our Asabaako DJs Kobby Graham, Rita Ray, DJ Juls and Guynamite made daytimes chilling by the beach, sipping on coconut milk and rum, just that little bit more perfect, spinning anything from Afrobeat to hip hop, afro-funk & soul to high life, reggae and loads more.
Asabaako is a way for us to provide a platform for younger artists with Bless the Mic, bringing a bus full of underground MCs from Takoradi to tear up this usually quiet village resort. Performances from Sketches, Spooky, Nero, Jay Billz, Pictures, King Arthur, Scurry plus Macho Rapper, while Kweku Ananse brought a whole different vibe with his solo balafon performance.
The Agona brass band got everybody moving, while one of Ghana’s hottest rappers, Yaa Pono, took the crowd in the palm of his hands with his distinctive flow and hard hitting punchlines.
Wanlov the Kubolor, our headline artist representing Pidgen Music, had already got the village’s attention by strolling through town in his trademark dreadlocks with nothing but a tight pair of swimming trunks. But things got really interesting when he introduced his African Gypsy band, including a French accordion player and violinist, to bring something completely different to Asabaako.
And the after parties...WOH. Man....they were serious. They were serious beach parties man. I can’t even really put them into words. Big ups to our Busua DJs, Shocka and Andy Stoner!
It was a fantastic community effort, with boys from the village helping to put the stage together, running around picking up last minute generators, getting food together for our artists...and best of all, the village LOVED it. I’ve been walking through the street since having anyone from kids to old women shout “ASABAAKO!” at me as I go by. Which is nice.
OK, so preparation was a little complicated. What was supposed to be a 2-day beach party about 5 weeks before, took an interesting turn when US hip hop legend Talib Kweli tweeted to his 260,000 followers that he wanted to perform...despite the difficulty we knew we’d face, we gave it a go, had it lined up, but were then forced to cancel due to sponsorship problems...eventually taking us BACK to our original plan... (That’s a very long story short)
The past year has been an amazing experience of highs and lows, and it’s as if that was all building towards some crescendo of madness that carried into the last few hours of Asabaako 2011. Talib, no Talib....sponsorship, no sponsorship, bit of sponsorship maybe....but we got there, we did it, despite the various and plentiful challenges and pitfalls, we did it, and not without thanks to the dozens of people who helped us, along the way and on the day itself. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster like nothing you would ever imagine, but we’ve got there.
BIG LOVE to (in alphabetical order)...The first Asabaako is done, and preparation is underway for the next with an increased programme and international artists currently in discussions. And I’m telling you...BIG tings about to happen here in Ghana!
So I guess this is where we say thank you...It’s quite a list. So let’s get on with it. Thank you EVERYONE for EVERYTHING you’ve done to help us get where we are, for those who helped us out when times got hard, who believed in us when doubt reared its ugly head. Your support, guidance, advice, contacts and stress relief techniques have started something that more and more people now see will really, truly grow into something very special.
Achoo, African Rainbow (Bill, Sewa, Nana and the team), Africa Cola (Aicha, Pierre and the team), Akua and Louise, Akwaaba UK (Eben and Elliot), Ameyaw Debrah, Amy Clark, Bob Gallagher, Bibie Brew, Bill Bedzrah, Ben Bish Clark, Black Star Surf Shop (Naiomi, Yaw, Kofi, Charles, Ernest, Nat and the team), Bless the Mic, Busua Inn (Daniel & Oliver), Brown Berry, Dadson Lodge (Mama Betty, Julie and my many Dadson wives), David Thomas, Ebeneezer Bentum, Entertainment Revolution (Regis and Ben), Fayzbuqbwoi AbeikuQuansah Breezy, Fiona Stewart, Ghana Facebookers (Nana Yaw, Bizzy Mill, Eli, Gamel et al), GhanaWestCoast.com (Lorena and Stephen), The supportive family!, Green Turtle Lodge (Tom and Jo), Ian Bowden, Iso Paelay, Jay Hill, Jean Berthon, Jambo Lafferty, Jon K Fidler, Kajsa, Kate Marriage, Kobby Graham, Kofi Amponsah, Kweku Ananse, i-cr8 (T, Alima and the team), Lisa Lovatt-Smith of OrphanAid Africa, Macho Rapper, Macjordan, Mantse, Marie Howell, Melody FM and Gyandoh, M3nsa (next year I'm telling you!!), MMRS Ogilvy (Miguel, Nathalie, Fred and the team), The Moringa Tree (Chris Vaughan & the team), Nana Chillin, Nana Queci Otu Nketsia, Ms Naa, Neon Comms UK (Sam, Rols and the kids), Nick, Tom, Steve and the “overlanders”, Nii Ayertey Aryeh, Nii Sai Doku, Paa K Holbrook Smith, Paa Kwesi aka
RASTAMAN, Panji Anoff and Pidgen Music, Paul Stagg, Pete Nardini (Surf Shop & Black Star Development NGO), PY, Quantas, Rita Ray, Sidique, Skyy TV and Radio, The SRK, Stak Dollar Bundles and the OC crew, Takoradi Facebookers, Tacitus, Trenton Birch, Uncle Ralph Casely-Hayford, Valerie Lesbros, Vodafone (Cynthia and the B&S team), Wanlov the Kubolor, Yaa Pono, Yemisi Mokuolu of Out of Africa, and everyone else who's pointed us in the right direction or lent a helping hand along the way.
And a special thanks to all the people of Busua for letting us party on your beach, partying alongside us, helping to get everything together and for your continued support. We hope the festival will continue to bring business your way and show the world what a beautiful place you have here.
For more information on West Africa, its rich local heritage, and tours, accommodations and volunteer projects which will give you the opportunity to discover first hand how beautiful this region is, visit the West Africa Discovery website, or you can join us on Facebook.