Sunday, November 30, 2014

Roman Krabel
Ghana is a beautiful country by nature and could easily become a leading tourist destination in Africa if the country’s government makes tourists’ visits less stressful, Roman Krabel, General Manager of the Royal Senchi Hotel, has said.


Last year, Ghana was ranked the 9th attractive tourist destination in Africa, according to a survey conducted by Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking for Trade and Tourism in 2013.


But the Royal Senchi Hotel boss insists the country can easily climb to the top three if the requisite structures are put in place.


Scenes from Royal Senchi
“If government helps all the hotels in Ghana to make it more easy to bring more tourists into the country or make visa applications easier, I tell you Ghana will be the number two or three tourist destination in the whole Africa. Ghana has a beautiful nature,” Mr Krabel told NEWS-ONE at the official opening of the hotel on Wednesday.


Scenes from Royal Senchi
The hotel, located off the Akosombo road and situated on the west bank of the Volta River, has 74 standard rooms, nine international standard executive suites and one presidential suite with a swimming pool which is the first of its kind in Ghana. It also has conference rooms, restaurants and Olympic-size swimming pools. 


The General Manager stated that even though the hotel had been operating for over a year now, management was now certain that it was time to have a grand opening.


“You know every new hotel or international company in the world, you open soft, which means you run the establishment for six months or even one year before your actual launch; and that is what we did.  What we did was a soft opening to test and taste the facility, to improve on training of our staff and all sorts of things. When we were sure that this hotel was ready to go, we decided to have the grand opening,” he added.


Scenes from Royal Senchi
Since the 4-star hotel hosted President John Dramani Mahama and a host of dignitaries at the three-day National Economic Forum which took place in May this year, Royal Senchi has become a household name in Ghana. 


“The Senchi consensus was a good mileage. It was a mileage to publish our hotel not only in Ghana but to publish Senchi.  When I came to Ghana two years ago, I realised everybody in Ghana knows Adomi Bridge. I said to myself that one day before I leave Ghana, I will make sure every Ghanaian knows Senchi; and of course, it is my deepest wish if people will recognise Senchi, the town, and the famous hotel. To be honest, I believe what we have here now can be compared to very good international hotels even in South Africa which is Africa’s big tourist destination,” he said.


However, Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare, Minister of Tourism who cut tape to officially open the hotel, disclosed that the tourism sector is essentially a public sector-led and private sector-driven industry which requires huge investors to push the promising tourism industry in this country in the right direction.


“The tourism sector as we all know is essentially a public sector-led and private sector-driven industry. Huge investors, such as this one, are what we need to push the promising tourism industry in this country in the right direction. Most of the investments in the tourism sector are cited in major cities and urban areas. It is a credit to the founder’s foresight, determination, passion and sacrifice that they chose to enter this unchartered territory by locating the facility here,” she said.


The event was graced by the Paramount Chief of Akwamu Traditional Area, Odeneho Kwafo Akoto III and the Eastern Regional Minister, Antwi Boasiako Sekyere, among others.
Episode
Dance Hall sensation Episode has described Samini as a god who has impacted a lot on his life.

According to Episode, Samini was one of the very first musicians in Ghana to give him a big platform to showcase his talent.

“All I can say is Samini is a god to me; and I don’t care what anybody says.

I remember three years ago watching Samini from afar and he called me from the crowd, gave me the mic and asked me to do my thing,” Episode stated.

Episode, who has been considered by many as one of the most promising acts in the industry currently, added that he has been learning a lot—directly or indirectly—from Samini for a long time now.

“I can never stop learning from Samini because I think that even if he hasn’t taught me to put a lyric here or there , once I listen to his music , it is a big impact to my life. So yes, you can call me High Grade or Black Empire boy but I insist Samini is a god,” Theophilus Nii Ardey Otoo Junior, as he is known in real life, said.


The ‘Sinners Prayer’ singer put up a massive performance at this year’s edition of the nominee jams for the Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) in Tamale. Some entertainment pundits also say that Episode is one of the musicians putting Ghana on the map through dancehall.
Wanlov
Controversial musician Wanlov The Kubolor has hinted a possible third sequel to the award winning movie Coz of Moni.

Though he did not state exactly when they will start production or when it will be ready, he revealed that there were plans in the pipeline to make it happen.

Coz Of Moni series is the first pidgin musical film in the world produced by Wanlov and Mεnsa.

Its first sequel was released years ago while the second sequel was premiered December last year.

The movie has chalked several successes since it was released. It has also been talked about around the world.

It was the only Ghanaian movie to be shown at the 35th edition of the film festival in South Africa this year.

According to Kubolor who was speaking on Empire FM in Takoradi last weekend, they intended to title the next sequel “Lost In Lagos.”

“Me and Mεnsa are planning to do a part three—“Lost In Lagos”—but after spending like two weeks in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, we are confused. We don’t know when we are going to shoot it,” Wanlov said.

He was among celebrities who joined Lydia Forson’s A Letter From Adam movie tour to Takoradi over the weekend. He was at the Empire FM studios with Lydia Forson, Sister Deborah and new actor Louie Lartey.

By Francis Addo Twitter: @fdee50 Email: fdee500@yahoo.com
Yaa Pono
Rapper Yaa Pono says there are several people he admires in the music industry but he has been copying reggae and dancehall act Samini for some time now.

The ‘Amen’ singer has been in the Ghanaian music industry for over 10 years—most of which were behind the scenes—producing several hit songs.

“I have worked for more than 10 years but most of it was behind the scenes. Samini has been a copy. I have copied him till date. I have copied most of the people behind him as well. It is all good,” Yaa Pono stated as he congratulated Samini on his 10 years anniversary in music.

Yaa Pono is known for his natural charisma, use of the Akan language and sharp social observations. Being able to blend highlife, hip-hop, dancehall and afrobeat rhythms demonstrates his true versatility.

It can be recalled that the rapper recently stated that he and his management were working on a few scripts for an upcoming movie.

Yaa Pono, together with his management team, is currently shooting a documentary called ‘Uptown Energy Live’.

He is also in the studio working on his upcoming album, titled ‘Sea blue,’ which has the ‘Amen’ song on it.The ‘Good Morning’ singer is currently under the management of the Uptown Energy Label.
Avatar
Director, writer and producer of America’s epic science fiction film, Avatar, James Cameron has announced sequels for the film, which won several awards including Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

According to CNN, James Cameron has one word to describe the “Avatar” sequels: “Bitchin.”

Cameron is currently in New Zealand working on the scripts for the forthcoming films, he told Empire magazine.

The movies have been planned out in detail, he said, and now the writers — including Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Shane Salerno and Amanda Silver — are putting words to action.

“I think we met for seven months and we whiteboarded out every scene in every film together,” Cameron said.

“I didn’t assign each writer (the) film they were going to work on until the last day. I knew if I assigned them their scripts ahead of time, they’d tune out every time we were talking about the other movie.”

“Avatar,” which was released in 2009, is the top-grossing film of all time. The film earned almost $2.8 billion worldwide, including $761 million in the United States. It’s also spawned a Disney theme park.


Cameron also directed the second-highest grossing movie, “Titanic,” which earned an Oscar for best picture. The “Avatar” sequels are due beginning in 2016.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The 5 Finalists
Tomorrow, Wednesday November 25, the five finalists for this year’s edition of Vodafone Icons will battle on one stage at the National Theatre for the ultimate Nissan Qashqai grand prize.

Titi, Cena, Chris, Alice and Ratty, who recently returned from South Africa on a music tour, are prepared to trill music fans with wonderful compositions to climax the music reality show.

The show, dubbed ‘ICONS Remix’, is aimed at providing the contestants the opportunity to perform remixed versions of some popular songs.

According to the organisers, the five finalists would be performing their unique composed songs along with their own renditions of some famous songs on the night.

On that night, only one out of the five finalists will walk away with the car, a recording deal at Universal Music Studio in South Africa, as well as cash prize and souvenirs worth over GH¢100,000.

As it stands, it appears to be a close call, with organisers claiming that all five contenders deserve to be crowned winner.

Music patrons are expected to converge at the National Theatre on Wednesday evening to cheer and enjoy performances from the contestants.


Vodafone Icons, which started in 2010, has produced amazing singers including Afro Rock singer Noella Wiyaala, RnM, Black & Peach and Ryan.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Obrafour
It is not everyday that a legend feels the need to impact on the lives of others. But legendary rapper Obrafour says as long as he has life, he will continue to bless up and coming Ghanaian artistes.

According to the ‘Rap Sofour’, God gave him the gifts of rap and good hooks not for his own good but for the good of others as well.

“We cannot be at the forefront every time. What we have to do is to hold the hands of the people below us and bring them up. I believe that God doesn’t mostly put you in a position for your own good; he puts you in a position for the good of others as well. While here with life, I would have to continue blessing the young up and coming ones,” Obrafour told NEWS-ONE.

The ‘Ako’ hit maker is one of the few Ghanaian musicians who have been able to put out some timeless and thought-provoking songs. In recent times, he has taken it upon himself to work with young talents like M.anifest, Teephlow and Area Boi among others.

Kwabena Okyere Darko, as he is known in real life, disclosed that though he has worked with various talents around the country, he believes rapper Teephlow is the “ish”. Obrafour and Teephlow happen to be under the management of the Last Two Music Group.

“What it is, God gives. There are so many talents; I mean talents abound in
Ghana. You have Teephlow, Kofi Kinata and the rest of the guys out there but Teephlow for me is the ish. I did a joint with him. I’m not coming to say anything to the public but he is right in your ears,” Obrafour stated.

He noted that he would, however, want to bless Kofi Kinata with regard to working together on a joint or two.

“For me, there is one more person I need to bless and that is Kofi Kinata. That boy is something else,” Obrafour added.

He later commended beat producer Hammer of the Last Two for scouting for such great talents over the years.


“Last two, what they do is what they are doing best. Hammer has eyes for talent and he has ears for talent; and that is basically what he is doing,” the ‘Heavy’ singer said.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bessa Simons
Bessa Simons, Vice President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), has urged up and coming musicians to get involved in copyright related issues.

Bessa, who is also a member of the legendary Osibisa Band, stated that most musicians of the older generation retired from music with nothing good to write home about because they never took interest in copyright related issues.

“What I have come to realise—and I’m saying this because I don’t want history to repeat itself—is that most of the older generation never took interest in the copyright issues, so they ended up in a way that we are all not happy about. I’m begging all the up and coming young great musicians from the bottom of my heart. You are the next generation; get interested in the copyright issues,” he admonished.

The renowned songwriter and keyboardist disclosed that even though the collection of royalties by Ghana Music Rights Organisation (GHAMRO) on behalf of the right owners seems to be in its infant stages, it will get better with the young great musicians propelling it.

Bessa Simons compared GHAMRO’s royalty collection system to the early stages of the Performing Right Society (PRS) for Music in UK, founded in 1914 by a group of music publishersto protect the value of copyright and help provide income for composers, songwriters and music publishers.


“When UK started PRS for music, the first collection was about GBP 1, 900 and they had members up to the tune of 190. Now as we speak, they have collected over GBP 666 million and they are sharing it to about 100,000 musicians; and that is where we want to get to. You are the only people who can propel it. So please get interested in the copyright issues,” he urged.
DKB
Popular comedian DKB, born Derrick Kobina Bonney, says he wants to promote comedy as a viable and lucrative sector within the creative arts.

DKB has over the years consistently campaigned for respect and support for Ghanaian comedians and at a point even blamed Ghanaian journalists for doing very little to support the country’s comedians.

The comedian has told NEWS-ONE that his DKBLIVE Comedy Tour is one of the ways he is campaigning for respect and support for Ghanaian comedians and the comedy sector.

DKBLIVE Comedy Tour is a weekly tour event, where he takes comedy and music to the doorsteps of various tertiary institutions across the country.

“The season 2 of the tour is set to promote Ghanaian comedians to the active youth across the tertiary landscape,” he said in a release to NEWS-ONE.

Speaking on the same subject last Friday at the launch of the Big Weekend Afro Beats Festival, DKB in his characteristic satiric style, unleashed his frustrations on the media.

“You guys [journalists] do not support us and when we complain you say we are not funny; yet you are here laughing… Let me use this opportunity to thank ABL for really supporting comedy made in Ghana. Castle Milk Stout has really supported all our tours and I wish the media had given us same support,” DKB, MC for the launch, said.

Tomorrow, Saturday, November 22, DKB and his Ecstacy Entertainment team will launch the second edition of the tour at the Ghana Technology University in Accra.

Among comedians to grace the Ghana Telecom launch would be Foster Romanus, Sarkodie Acheampong, Gasmilla, Jupiter, Obibini and Echo Charles among others.

The show is sponsored by DJ Energy Drinks, Afro Star TV, YFM, Chapters Couture and Gold Coast Clothing.


BY Francis Addo (Twitter: @fdee50 Email: fdee500@yahoo.com)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Samini and Bessa Simons
Ace highlife musician Bessa Simons says among the current crop of young Ghanaian musicians, he considers Samini as a visionary and a very serious musician.

Speaking at the launch of the ‘MTN Saminifest’ music festival over the weekend, Bessa, who is a member of the legendary Osibisa Band, stated that Samini is a very creative individual, businessman and a great musician who is full of determination.

He disclosed that his first encounter with Samini at his studio helped him form a strong opinion about the reggae and dancehall artiste.

“I remember the first time I met Samini, I didn’t know he was a visionary, an innovator or someone who is very creative, businessman and a great musician; but now I know.  When I came back to Ghana, I remember he came to my studio with ‘Quick Action’. Samini just sat at the corner, listened to the music, took his pen and paper and he was working. I was just watching his seriousness. I later went upstairs and told my late wife that we had this young serious musician down in the studio. Now I know why he was that serious. He knew what he wanted,” the Vice President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) said.

Bessa Simons commended Samini for the hard work in his music career as he celebrates 10 years in the music industry.

“In this business, if you have respect and you respect people, they will respect you back and the longevity side of it is with you. Samini has always been respectful and I can tell he is very very knowledgeable,” he noted.

Bessa is a prolific song writer, keyboardist and singer who has worked with some of the greatest names in West African Music such as Pat Thomas, Paapa Yankson, Kari Bannerman, Osibisa, C.K. Mann, Ebo Taylor and Multi-talented Afro Pop star Gyedu Blay Ambuley among others.

On the other hand, Bessa also advised up and coming musicians to take a cue from what Samini has been able to achieve through music.


“Music is business. Everything I have done in my life has to do with music; I earned my car from doing music and there are so many things you can do with music. As you can tell, Samini is doing it. So I will like the younger musicians to take a leap out of this and start planning because there is a lot they can do,” he added.
Kwaw Kese
Rapper Kwaw Kese, also known as ‘the man insane’, says he, together with the crop of artistes who have been in the music business for the past 10 years, have brought Ghana’s music far.

According to Kwaw, the veterans who have been raising the flag of Ghana high through music for more than two decades have done a lot for the country through music.

“Ten years ago, we were there… and my big brothers have done it for two decades, which is 20 years. We have brought Ghana music far,” the ‘Me Wo Dollar’ singer told NEWS-ONE.

Kwaw had his major breakthrough in music when he was featured on Obrafour’s Executioner’s Diary with his ‘Oye Nonsense’ song in 2004. He has since managed to release several hit songs over the years.

The ‘King of the Street’, as he is popularly known, made this comment in relation to the celebration of Samini’s 10th Anniversary in the music industry.

“As Samini prepares to celebrate his 10th anniversary in music, we will all support him and we will be there rough rough,” he stated.


Sources say Kwaw Kese is currently in the studio working on his upcoming album.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yvonne Nelson and Ice Prince

Just as dust is about to settle on the controversy generated by the ‘gone bad’ love relationship between Ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson and Nigerian musician Iyanya, another Nigerian act, Ice Prince Zamani, has revealed that he also dated the sexy actress but their relationship just did not work out.

It is not clear why Ice Prince of ‘Oleku’ fame is making the revelation at this time but he told Olisa Adibua, host of ‘The Truth’, why he parted ways with Yvonne.

“It [the relationship] just did not work. She is a very very busy person. She was way busier than I was at the time. I am a very busy person as well; I am never around and we don’t get to chill as much. That just kind of created space and over time, it just went its way… We are cool. Yvonne is still Yvonne Nelson. She is still very sweet and we still keep in touch when we can. Not every day, not every month, not every week, but we talk,” Ice Prince revealed.

The musician said he has tried several relationships that did not work out well and after his relationship with Yvonne Nelson hit the rocks, he dated yet another Yvonne but that one too did not work out for same reasons.

“She [the other Yvonne] was very busy as well and it just did not work. But they are very very cool people in my life and we still talk. I was in the club with the other Yvonne the other day and we were nice. They are still good people. Very, very good people. What man proposes, God disposes. It just did not work out,” he added.

During the interview, Ice Prince disclosed that he has a son but is not planning on settling down with a wife anytime soon.

I have a son who is two. I am not planning on getting married now but I intend to get married someday and raise a family. But I have not proposed to anybody,” he said.

On the question of how he deals with his female fans, Ice Prince explained: “I don’t have time for that.  I really really don’t have time for that. Every day when I wake up, especially when I am in Lagos, the first thing I do when I wake up, the first thing on my mind is to go downstairs to my studio to make music. I have a lot of features to record. I have a lot of stuffs to record so to be honest, I pay no attention to female fans and all that. I ignore whatsapp and all that.”

Yvonne Nelson is yet to respond to the disclosure by Ice Prince. It is also not certain who she is dating now or whether she is even in a relationship.

Source: NEWS-ONE



Obrafour
Hiplife legend Obrafour has promised to drop one song every month till he releases his complete album in March next year.

The ‘Rap Sofour’ admitted that even though it appeared he was on a four-year break from music, he was working tirelessly during that period to put together his ‘Obrafofro’ album.

It’s taken almost four years and I’m done with the album. It will be launched in March next year. Like what everybody does these days, they put singles out. So I’m promising that I will drop one song from the album every month till we get to March,” Obrafour told NEWS-ONE.

It will be recalled that in October, Obrafour released his ‘Odasani’ track, which featured rapper M.anifest. The song was actually the first to have been released from his upcoming album.

The ‘Ako’ hit maker, who is known in real life as Kwabena Okyere Darko, therefore hinted that he and his management are going to release two more songs this week from the ‘Obrafofro’ album.

“I’m about to release two songs from the album this week, in addition to what we have released already, and then we will take it from there as we go,” he added.

Obrafour is one of the few Ghanaian musicians who have been able to put out some timeless and thought-provoking songs.


The ‘Executioner’, as he is affectionately called, is currently with the Last Two Records, headed by the legendary beat maker Hammer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

M.anifest 
Popular Ghanaian rapper M.anifest says his family had no qualms about his decision to go into showbiz.

His comment comes a day after he released his new video for the “No Shortcut To Heaven” featuring Obrafour.

The man, who is born Kwame Ametepee Tsikata, is the son of Ghana’s celebrated lawyer and academic Tsatsu Tsikata.  Many had thought he would follow in his father’s footsteps. But the “Somewey Bi’ rapper decided to be successful but only through music. He has already worked with the likes of English musician Damon Albarn, Flea, Tony Allen, American songwriter and singer Erykah Badu, and is featured on five songs on the Rocket Juice and the Moon album.

“I mean, of course, if you are doing something that is bringing glory to your family, there is no way they will disagree with it, ” M.anifest said about his family over the weekend when he and Lydia Forson were hosted by Melvina on Sunyani-based radio Suncity 97.1 FM.

Both M.anifest and Lydia were in that part of the country as part of the actress’ A Letter From Adammovie premiere at the Sunyani Polytechnic.

According to M.anifest, he has surrounded himself with people like Lydia Forson because they inspire him.

On Friday M.anifest released his much-anticipated video for his hit single, “No Shortcut to Heaven”.

The video was shot in two locations in the Eastern Region of Ghana and is set primarily in a mining site.

The video was directed by Garth Von Glehn of Film Fam, and M.anifest assumes the role of a small-scale miner while narrating the cautionary tale of a young hustler trying to make money and navigate love.


By Francis Addo (Twitter: @fdee50   Email: fdee500@yahoo.com

Monday, November 17, 2014

Samini
Ghanaian reggae and dancehall act Samini has revealed he is planning to
stage a great comeback concert with his former music group that consisted of himself, KK Fosu and Kokoveli.

According to Samini, the music trio, who were known back in the days as the ‘Trinity’, will unite to perform their popular hit songs on stage at the ‘MTN Saminifest’ music festival.

The group rocked the airwaves with their hit songs like ‘Zaza’, among others, between 2003 and 2004 before they decided to go their separate ways.

“This concert will feature some of the biggest stage rockers in Ghana. For the first time in a long time, I will be performing with the Trinity—
a group I rolled with in my early days, featuring KK Fosu and Kokoveli,” Samini stated at the launch of the MTN Saminifest over the weekend.

MTN Saminifest is an annual music festival that seeks to bring together music patrons from all over the world to celebrate Samini as an artist, his musical works and also to showcase classact performances from leading
Ghanaian artistes.

The maiden edition of the four-day music festival will kick off from December 3 to December 6, with events ranging from Industry Workshops,
Photo and Video Exhibition, African Market Day and the main concert at the Accra Trade Fair to climax the festival.

This year’s event is also to celebrate Samini’s 10 years in the music industry.

“But why Saminifest? I have always thought we need a programme that
reflects the massive opportunities in our industry and a great deal of tourism potential and revenue for our country and the Creative
Arts Industry. And that is what I see in MTN Saminifest.

Also, the first edition of the event coincides with my 10-year anniversary in music; meaning fans should expect nothing but great promise for our industry.

It’s a unique experience you don’t want to miss,” Emmanuel Andrews Samini, as he is known in real life, added.

The event will bring together a host of top-notch Ghanaian artistes like
Obrafour, Paapa Yankson, Stonebwoy, Kaakie, R2bees, 4X4, Episode, Kofi Kinaata, Noble Nketiah and Jupitar, among others.
Bill Cosby
Comedian Bill Cosby is coming under increasing pressure over allegations of rape.

Suggestions the 77-year-old former star of The Cosby Show might have been guilty of sexually assaulting a number of women in the past have long swirled in the background, but a number of factors have now conspired to bring the allegations to the forefront of public debate.

A month ago a fellow (though far less well-known) stand-up, Hannibal Buress, caused something of a furore with a routine accusing Cosby of rape.

The video of his performance was circulated widely on the web.

Cosby then inadvertently contributed to his own woes by suggesting on Twitter that people might think up their own "Cosby meme".

The memes that followed, associating the comic with rape, (as an example, one said: "I've been accused of rape by 13 different women"), were not what he had in mind.

The extent to which the Twitter stunt had backfired became clear as the spotlight fell on allegations that, though on record, had never been examined in detail by the media.

In an article in the Washington Post, Barbara Bowman, who accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in 1985, wrote how she was "grateful for the new attention to Cosby's crimes".

However she suggested the fact she has been openly telling her story for 10 years without the story taking hold shows others have been complicit.

Arguing that the entertainment industry is "rife" with men who victimise young women, she wrote: "Even when... victims speak out the industry and the public turn blind eyes; these men's celebrity, careers and public adulation continue to thrive."

Cosby denied other allegations of sexual assault in the past by Andrea Constant, but has chosen not to address further allegations.


Cosby has not responded to attempts by Sky News to contact him over the claims.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

James Boakye Sarfo, ABL District Manager, INSET: Karen Mcphee, Director of Sales and Marketing, Movenpick
Multi-purpose events company and record label, BBnZ Live, has officially launched the 2014 edition of ‘The Big Weekend Afro-Beats Festival’—a three-day beer, music and dance festival scheduled for December 12, 13 and 14 at the Independence Square in Accra.


The Big Weekend Afro-Beats Festival 2014, with Accra Breweries Limited (ABL) as headline sponsor, was launched last Friday at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra, where it was officially confirmed that American singer, songwriter, rapper, producer and actress Ms Lauryn Hill will be the headline artiste at this year’s event.


“Ms Hill will be in Ghana with her crew—that is close to some 20 people—and we could not have thought of any other person than her. She has had a very good year and her tours have been fascinating,” Alvin Bekoe, Chief Executive of BBnZ noted at the launch.

The event will also have performances from a tall list of some of Ghana’s finest musicians, including Stonebwoy, Efya, E.L, Okyeame Kwame, Mzvee, Joey B, Chase, Lil Shaker, Jay-So, Kumasi Kojo-Cue, Treasure, AI, Dex Kwasi and several others.

Kwame Blay, Director of BBnZ Live, explained at the launch that on Friday December 12, there will be a mega party event at the Independence Square to kick start the event and it will be followed by an all night long Afro-beats bash the next day, Saturday December 13, at the same venue.

He said on Sunday, December 14, Ms Hill will headline a live acoustic event all through the night at the same venue.


Tickets to cover all three days will be selling at just GH¢10.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wanlov
Rapper Wanlov the Kubolor, has mocked Ghana’s Parliament over the quality of a set of new leather chairs recently imported from China for the House.

Known for his controversial ways, Wanlov labelled the newly refurbished Parliament as the “biggest KVIP on the planet”.

“Ghana government should have told us they were replacing the Accra zoo with the biggest KVIP on the planet,” Wanlov posted on his Twitter page along with a picture of the new chairs in Parliament.

Emmanuel Owusu Bonsu, as he is known in real life, has often made his way into the news with a series of controversial statements or acts, and this post on Parliament is no different.

Earlier this month, the leather chairs and other gadgets in Parliament were replaced with what was supposed to be an improvement on the old ones.

But since the replacement, there have been several concerns from the members of the House over the quality of the chairs.

It would be recalled that one of the wheels and the steel supporting the new leather chairs broke when Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Member of Parliament for Anyaa/Sowutuom, sat on one of them during the proceedings of the House.


The incident has sparked a series of agitations by some members of Parliament, especially the Minority caucus, who have said they will wage a strong campaign in Parliament, dubbed “Bring Back Our Old Chairs Because We Don’t Trust The New Ones”.
The late Fela Kuti interacting with Faisal Helwani
The Helwani and Kuti family are currently in talks to release a movie that was shot in Ghana by legendary music producer Faisal Helwani about Nigeria’s musical icon, Fela Kuti, some 37 years ago.


The movie, titled ‘The Black President’, is based on Fela as a person, his life, the movement he started and his ideals.


Singer and daughter of Faisal Helwani, Yasmeen Helwani, told NEWS-ONE that the movie’s production was put on hold after the soundtracks and some other audio tapes for the movie got burnt at Fela’s Shrine in 1977.


“My father brought Fela to Ghana to do a few shows back then. They did shoot the movie called ‘The Black President’ and my father produced the entire soundtrack. There was a time frame where Fela was facing political heat that resulted in an incident when the shrine got burnt. The soundtrack, along with several tapes, got burnt in the fire and that put a halt on the release of the movie because they had produced the whole soundtrack of the movie, the voices and everything was gone and basically we were left with only the video,” she stated.


Yasmeen Helwani
After the burning down of the shrine, the rest of the movie was properly stored in the UK as Fela and Faisal Helwani kept deliberating on the production till the ‘Zombie’ hit-maker died in 1997.


“The video was with one of the Italian colleagues who worked with them on the project. He had it properly stored in the UK until they could revisit it. But of course Fela passed. Then this Italian gentleman also passed and the video landed in the hands of a production house,” she said.


But according to the ‘Paddy’ singer, both families were working tirelessly to put together and release—if not immediately—the complete movie.


Yasmeen disclosed that during the Felabration music and arts festival in Nigeria, she met with Yeni Kuti—daughter of Fela Kuti—about the movie and she expressed interest in revisiting it.



“It will be very difficult for it to come out as the originally intended movie. But when it is done, it will look more like a documentary and not necessarily the movie that they intended at first. Currently we have some of the rights and the Fela family also has some of the rights; so during the Felabration, I had a meeting with Yeni to discuss the way forward because it is a very valuable footage that we want to put out there,” she said.
From Left: Lawyer Maurice Ampaw and A-Plus
Multi-talented Ghanaian satirist, A-Plus, and Lawyer Maurice Ampaw have both confirmed speculations that they have decided to end their legal battle in court and make peace with each other.

Lawyer Ampaw recently went to court, claiming A-Plus had made defamatory comments about him and was therefore demanding an amount of GH¢1 million as damages from the latter so as to send warning signals to persons he claims want to run him down.

A-Plus, in response, decided to fight the case in court and vowed to embarrass the lawyer.

The case attracted a huge media interest and was first called on November 3 and adjourned to November 14, 2014. But even before the adjourned date, myjoyonline.com is quoting Lawyer Ampaw to have said he was withdrawing the case.
The news site said A-Plus and Lawyer Ampaw met at a party held at the Aviation Social Centre in Accra over the weekend, where they talked things over and decided to call a truce.

Lawyer Ampaw was reported to have said: “I’m so excited to meet A-Plus in person; I’ve never met him before. I love him so much and I think that in everything that happens you have to give thanks to God. If this had not come, I don’t think that I would have had the opportunity to have a very [important] interaction with A-Plus and I think that it is better for us, it is better for the country that brothers will try to patch up any differences.

“Actually I have decided to withdraw the case from court and be a brother to A-Plus and maybe something good will come out of this relationship. This should end the matter,” Ampaw stated.

He said his decision to withdraw the matter from court was because of the healthy relationship he has with A-Plus’ lawyer, Gary Nimako Marfo, and the musician’s explanations.


A-Plus was also quoted to have said: “The best thing we can do as men is when you have issues with somebody, especially somebody who is older than you, and he takes the initiative to try and sort it, you don’t want to go into who was right and who was wrong.”

Source: NEWS-ONE
D-Black
Rapper D-Black has been signed as the official brand ambassador for CÎROC Ultra – Premium Vodka, a product of Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd (GGBL).

As part of the one-year deal, Desmond Blackmore, as he is known in real life, will be the face for CÎROC Vodka and he will participate in all activities designed to project CÎROC as the vodka for ultimate celebrations in Ghana.

According to Nathaniel Ansong Manu, Head of the Luxury Brands portfolio in GGBL, D-Black as an entertainment icon, embodies the “art of celebration” through his lifestyle, which was what CÎROC stood for.

“D – Black’s style, talent and attitude make him the perfect celebrity partner to further enhance the luxury profile of CÎROC in Ghana. A major component of this partnership will be our commitment to promote responsible drinking as an integral part of all our activities,” he said.

However, D-Back, in response to the deal, stated that his brand thrived for excellence and would work with the best.

“I’m elated to be the official CÎROC Brand Ambassador for Ghana and I strongly believe this partnership will deliver great results. The D-Black brand thrives for excellence and will work with the best. The experience which I have acquired over the years, through managing a successful marketing agency and my music, has developed the skill set needed to partner and establish CÎROC as “The vodka” for celebration in Ghana,” the CEO of Black Avenue Works added.

CÎROC Ultra – Premium vodka was introduced in Ghana around 2013 by Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

Yasmeen Helwani
Daughter of Ghana’s music legendary producer Faisal Helwani of the Bibini Music fame, Yasmeen Helwani, has stated that the highlife genre as we knew it before is gradually fading out.

Yasmeen Helwani spoke to  Nii Ogbamey Tetteh in an interview about her experience working with her father.

Yasmeen is a renowned songwriter and vocalist who has over the years shared stage with international acts like Xhibit, Naughty by Nature and Snoop Dog among others.  Her vocal abilities earned her the nickname ‘Golden Voice’.

What genre of music do you do?
I would like to say Afro-soul but it is difficult to categorise me into one place because I’m quite versatile. These days a lot of artistes are also doing same. We are not pigeon-holed into one genre. I have always been into the Soul genre because I feel my expression has the kind of Soul vibe to it. I also like to fuse it with other genres like Reggae, Jazz and Afrobeats.
I really want to have my Ghanaian side also reflect in my music. When you listen to my ‘Paddy’ song which I released recently, you will hear a very distinct African side.


What was the starting point of music for you?
Eeerrhmm, in the womb. My father has been a pioneer at the forefront of the Ghanaian music industry. Even in the womb, I’m sure I was hearing the music outside and all the vibrancy that was going. Immediately I could speak, I was singing.  So basically, I was born into it and it looks like the spirit sort of guided me into it. I was born with a phenomenal voice and I don’t know where I got the voice from. It just so happened that I was put into this environment that helped me to grow my skills and my talent.

Among all the songs you have, which one will you say is your favourite?
That is a very difficult question. I wouldn’t really have a favourite song because as a song writer it is very difficult. Every song I have really put out there was written and arranged by me. But I can maybe say recently the last songs—Paddy and Medication—are very dear to my heart.  They are my favourites because these came after the death of my father and I had been sort of free to be the creative director of my own stuff. These songs are like the couple of first recordings that I have been able to express myself very well without any influence from anywhere.

Were you under the management of your father?
Yes, I have always been since I was a kid. He was a music producer, manager, promoter and I was under him.  He was the one taking care of all my recordings and guiding me in the industry. He built a name for me and built up my value to a point where people knew that when it comes to Yasmeen, you had to go through Faisal.

How was the experience like working with Faisal?
It was both a blessing and a curse because he was my father and you know the relationship between fathers and daughters. Sometimes it was like expose her, but do you want to expose her? Put her on stage, but do you really want all these guys staring? I’m sure for him also, he had this conflict of love, emotion, versus business. With him gone, I did feel a huge loss and a huge void but at the same time creatively, it spurred me on to really bring out what was deep inside me and hadn’t really come out yet.  My dad was very ‘my way or the highway’ so it was like do what I say and that’s the end of the story. For someone who had the kind of experience he had, you needed to respect that. I was always told that ‘ok you are a brand or an artiste so people don’t need to be seeing you everywhere’. I will say he groomed me in the right way.


Do we sell our culture in the music being played today?
Yeah you still get that. You still have the authentic Ghanaian sound but I feel there is a whole lot more that is not being explored.  Ghanaians pick one trend and ride it till God knows; then it gets boring, and then they pick another trend. I feel Ghanaians are more into rhythms. If your song is not a rhythm that they can dance to, then forget it.

What is your opinion on the recent trend of Highlife Music?
Even the highlife, it is sort of waning. I’m not hearing the real highlife that we used to hear those days. Now there is hiplife but it can be like a sub-genre of highlife. We are a very trendy kind of people.  But I have also noticed that a few people are also trying to get the highlife thing going; and Castro, wherever he is, tried to incorporate that highlife vibe. There are also a few other artistes who are doing well and pushing a little highlife into the system.

How did it go at Felabration ?
It was actually very interesting. It was the first time I had performed in Nigeria and for me, it was the best entry for me. People have now come to revere the event.  Secondly, my father Faisal Helwani and Fela had a relationship so it was sort of a reunion for the two families.  I met with Yemi and Femi, Fela’s children, and it was awesome.

Yasmeen, apart from music what else do you do?
Well apart from music, I’m a creative person who likes doing things with my hands. I’m into eco-friendly lifestyle and I also have a couple of different businesses that I’m into and most of them are in social entrepreneurship. I love people and I love to affect the lives of people. Whatever work I do, it has to be something that empowers people and helps to bring people into a better situation. I have a product line called ‘Madame Yasmeen’ which is mainly organic; and I make everything myself—from soap to body products—and it is all natural because I’m against too much chemicals.

Where do you see yourself in the next two years?
I live in the ‘now’. I have stopped sitting down and saying ‘oh next year I will do that or  two years I will do this’, because I could be gone tomorrow. What I’m doing now or I can do immediately today is where my focus lies. Of course I could have goals but I don’t really do these projections. My wish is that I’m going to continue contributing greatly to that demographic of people who appreciate good music.  I’m always going to put out music because music is in my blood. Whether commercial or not, I’m always going to put out music. On the other hand, I will say touching people’s lives, making a difference, because I’m always about spiritual enlightenment.  

What religion do you belong to?
I don’t publicly declare any religion because religion is manmade and we are sinking so deep into this manmade concept where now we are not even sure how to interpret our own creation. For me, I operate on the fundamental laws of the universe which we are all a part of. Love is number one on the fundamental laws. You must love yourself enough to be able to love someone else and you must love someone else the way you love yourself. When you look at someone, you must be able to see that person as a reflection of yourself so that you treat that person as if you are treating your own self. If you don’t have love, you will be mean, wicked, you will kill and steal.  The love here is all encompassing.  Nobody is perfect and I always say I’m not religious but I’m spiritual.


By Nii Ogbamey Tetteh email: ogbameytetteh@gmail.com , twitter: @ogbameytetteh
Chase Forever, born Fianko Bossman, is an award winning recording artiste and songwriter.

He was born in Hackney Town, London, and partly grew up in Ghana. He grew up listening to the likes of Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, Paul Simon, Milli Vanilli, Usher, Bobby Brown and Boyz2Men, to name a few.

At age ten, Chase had already started writing song verses and performing. He participated in every talent show organised by his school.

Chase spoke with NEWS-ONE’s Francis Addo over the weekend in an interview that touched on industry issues, his Unappreciated album, the relationship among Ghanaian artistes and his thoughts on the Nigerian music industry.

What have you been up to?
Well after the album I’m just looking to expand the brand, do more tours and focus on building an empire, LFO Group worldwide, which will be a group of different talents family and songwriters and composers. My ‘Fire’ video is also ready so I’m looking for the appropriate time to drop it.

What is LFO?
Loyal Friends Only.

How is your new album, Unappreciated, doing so far?
Well, yeah we’ve actually run out and reprinting more for sale.  The people who have listened have had great reviews and remarkable comments about the album.

Wow! So how many copies have you sold so far?
On the day of the launch we sold close to GH¢50,000 that night.

Why did you title the album ‘Unappreciated’?
Well it’s a phase I went through. I work hard a lot to put out the end product for people to hear. I think I kind of expect more than the attention I received but that’s just me being over the top with my feelings I guess.  It applies to my past relationships and all; you know I always put my ‘A game’ into whatever I’m doing. So I kind of always expect more. Unappreciated spoke my falling out with the people I have love for. You know it’s kind of still ongoing but I’m learning the game fast now.
Some think you feel the industry does not appreciate you.
The industry flushes out artistes every day. You know I’ve been relevant since I took off and I appreciate that. What I don’t appreciate is the way we gravitate to everything that comes from outside. I feel like even we the artistes do a lot of “ass kissing.”

What do you mean by that?
Say I have an album out, how many artistes did you see post that to promote it? We don’t even support each other, to begin with.

Ghanaian musicians are not united?
Yeah, then we turn around and complain the foreigners (Africans) are more successful—Nigerians, etc.

Why do you think Ghanaians gravitate to anything foreign?
It’s pretty a generational thing. But we misuse that feature. We are warm-hearted people.  How do we solve it, if we can’t love ourselves? Who would love us? It’s a big problem. And honestly as artistes some of us have a lot of work to do.
How did Chase end up in music?
Passion brought me here. I love music so much I overlooked a lot of other opportunities to forgo my dream. I mean if we are living to die why not live being happy.

How did it all start?
I started as a rapper. I was in a rap group called Soljas Inn. We used to ‘battle’ rappers and ‘kill’ them for real. It was me, Treasure, Bils Rayoe and X.


Treasure is still around, how about the rest?
Bils Rayoe is in the States. X found God and got married. I’m still doing my thing.

How did you break onto the limelight?
I think my songwriting made me popular. At the time I wanted to start song writing, there was an artiste in Richie’s camp called Salimi. So I wrote a song for her, then when I went to Richie to sing it for him to give the girl, he was like why don’t you do this yourself? So then I started to record. Some songs leaked and got me popular. Then I left Lynx Entertainment and dropped ‘Tell Me Your Name’featuring Paedae. God was just good because I didn’t even have a marketing plan for the song. It just took off. Then when the video dropped it went extra. Shouts out to Nana Asihene.

What will you describe as your biggest achievement in the industry so far?
Well dropping my album meant a lot to me. My Channel O nod was also a great feeling. But there’s more to come.

Who do you see as competition in the industry?
Well nobody and I say this out of respect and sincerity. My style is different…

Who is Chase?
He is Forever. Whatever lingers in your mind too long trickles down to your heart eventually. My music that.

Which part of Ghana are you from?
Akuapim/Ashanti.

What is your education background?
I was at Aggrey Memorial for a year then left to Pope Johns. After, I went to Central University and years down the line here I am.

Any massage for the people who follow you?
Stay true to yourself and address your fears at all times.  That’s all I want to tell the people.


By Francis Addo (Twitter: @fdee50    Email: fdee500@yahoo.com)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Afriyie
Highlife musician Afriyie of Wutah fame has praised Kojo Antwi for his immense contribution to the development of music in Ghana.

“Kojo has contributed immensely to the development of music in Ghana. Most of the aliases he has earned for himself over the years, he got from the songs he has produced over the years.  He is also one of the pioneers when it comes to Reggae music in Ghana and across Africa as well. When you mention Reggae musicians on the continent, you talk of Alpha Blondy, Lucky Dube and if you don’t mention Kojo Antwi then your list is not complete,” Afriyie, who was one of the acts who offered tribute performances to Kojo Antwi at the Legends and Legacy Ball over the weekend, toldNEWS-ONE. 

Kojo Antwi was honoured at the 4th edition of Legends and Legacy (LAL) Ball over the weekend for his immense contribution to the music industry at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).
Afriyie, known in real life as Kwadwo Osei Afriyie, stated that Kojo Antwi’s lyrics could be heard in most of the songs trending in Ghana currently.

“When it comes to writing, he is one prolific writer because most of our songs we sing now, you hear Kojo Antwi in there. If you pick 10 songs trending now, you will find a Kojo Antwi line or lyrics in there. He has contributed a lot to the development of music in our country,” he added.

The ‘Love of My Life’ singer disclosed that when news broke about his selection to perform at the LAL Ball, the feeling was more than any award a young musician like him could ever receive.

“I might say I felt very good as a musician because I heard he was part of the selection process and he wanted specific people to be on the show. Being recognised by the maestro himself was more than any award a young musician like my type could ever receive,” he said.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sarkodie
Award‐winning rapper Sarkodie has commended his Ghanaian fans for remaining loyal to his brand throughout the years.

Sarkodie, who put up a marvellous performance at the ‘Tigo Music Unplugged’ concert over the weekend, stated that he was overwhelmed by how his fans cheer, listen to his music and even fight for him when issues about him come up.

“Ghanaians made me who I am today. You guys are the best. The way some of you even fight for me when issues about me come up is touching,” he stated after his performance at the Accra Sports Stadium.

The ‘Adonai’ singer also commended organisers of the ‘Tigo Music Unplugged’ concert for putting together a massive crowd of music lovers for the show.

Sarkodie performed a lot of his hit songs including ‘Baby’, ‘Illuminati’ and his new track titled, ‘Mεgye Wo Girl’, among others.

It would be recalled that the artiste was recently in the news after he released his ‘Inflation’ song which centred on the current economic hardship in the country.


Michael Owusu Addo, as he is known in real life, has managed to stay on top of his game despite the keen competition in the music industry. He is also the Chief Executive for his Sark clothing line.
Emerging fashion designer, Nina Bakers Wood, Chief Executive of Bakers-Wood, has said it is unfortunate that some Ghanaians continue to look down on fashion designers and hold the perception that it is school dropouts who opt for the fashion designing profession.

“The perception is still there and when people hear you are a fashion designer, they think it is because you cannot become a medical doctor or a lawyer or an astronaut; and this is unfortunate because fashion designing is very big business and not a last resort for school dropouts,” Nina told NEWS-ONE.

Nina Bakers Wood 
She said “fashion designing is a creative sector and it takes people who can think on their feet in a very creative way to enter into it.”

“There is no set of professionals who do not wear clothes. Who would design the clothes if we all decide to become medical doctors or lawyers?” Nina quipped in this interview that touched on her brand and the fact that she has been ranked Among Top 7 Emerging African Designers.


Tell us about your brand
The name is Bakers-Woode. We are into fashion retail. Though we do a few stuffs for men, I like to focus more on women. We have been working for some three years now and we have had some successes and recognition.  For instance in July 2013, the Vogue international magazine did a whole feature on us as a fashion brand from Ghana. We put Ghana out there. We have also been featured on international news channel, CNN, for being among the top 7 emerging African designers in same year. We are a success story so far.

But you are not loud in Ghana.
I have no idea why we are known more internationally than in our home country. I think it is probably because of our styles. Our style resonates better with the international market and most of our clients are international. We are a bit different from the normal Ghanaian designers.

What is the difference?
Most of the Ghanaian designers use the regular African prints. Though I stick to African prints, I use mostly ‘Tribal African prints’ and not the regular prints. Tribal African prints is the type of print that has to do with symbols from tribes all over Africa and not just Ghana. So for example you can have ‘Adrinka’ from Ghana, some Egyptian mummy and Turkana from East Africa all appearing on one fabric.  My prints have symbols that tell a message and we blend them nicely without creating cluster.

You manufacture in Accra here. How do you sell internationally?
We mostly sell online. Most of our purchases are from the internet and our clients buy through all our social media pages.  It has worked perfectly for us within the last three years.  Most of my clients are in the United States, Canada, France and other parts of Europe. We are looking at expanding our frontiers in the near future by opening retail outlets to ensure we get to the market that cannot purchase off the internet.

Where did you learn to do this?
I guess I have had the passion for a while. This sounds cliché but that is the truth. I was doing the designs and taking them to independent tailors. But that had its set of challenges and they were all messing me up. I therefore decided to go to fashion school myself. I enrolled at Joyce Ababio for a year and I learnt a lot. Now I am hands on though I have in-house tailors working for me.

Has the journey been worth it?
It has never been easy but I am happy where I have reached. Sometimes I want to give up. But I also want to see my brand in other countries all over the world; and this keeps me pushing on and on despite the challenges.
What are the challenges?
Finding tailors, finding fabrics, finding quality zippers and all the things that go into production.  There are tailors all around but it is difficult to find a good tailor that is punctual and loyal to the work. And one who has perfect skills for finishing. Finishing is the most important part of fashion. Finding fabrics is not easy for me. That’s why I use custom made Tribal African prints.

Anything you want to add?
Well, people should just buy Bakers-Woode.


By Halifax Ansah-Addo (Twitter: @HalifaxAnsahAdd)

About Me

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I am a Creative Arts Writer who is also into Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Photography and IT consultancy. I am also Social media enthusiast and an alumni of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ).

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