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Opinion: VGMA 2015: Better or Worse ? (By Joseph Aqweci Ofori)

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On the 11th day of April, 2015, Charter House, with sponsorship from Vodafone staged the 16th edition of the Ghana Music Awards. This is the only night both young and old people get glued to their TV sets to watch a musical show of this kind. The red carpet session commenced around 8:30 pm. A whole lot of artists and industry players were interviewed by the usual, Blackboy and Amanda Jissih, as they took selfies with the new Samsung Galaxy S6. As you’d expect, people were looking fly as they knew they’d be asked what/who they’re wearing. Generally, the fashion sense was good. What I really can’t stand is the fact that almost everyone who gets on the red carpet feels “big” and cocky. As entertainers, it’ll be classy to be down to earth, and not making your fans catch the inferiority complex.

On to the awards show itself… it set off with a stunning performance by Wiyaala. She excellently fused traditional choreography with her usual cultural music. The whole event was structured into a format, ordered into performances by artists, then about 3 awards presentation by dignitaries and industry moguls. Some performances were mind-boggling, others were the direct opposite— arousing indignation. Chris and Sonnie Badu teamed up to perform their song “Otega”. It was a well-rehearsed stage act, just that Sonnie Badu couldn’t dance along with other choreographers and Chris himself.

No Tribe’s performance got me out my seat. It was like heavens were descending. Power-packed stage delivery that was. Edem was artistic as he could be. Thumbs up to him for bringing up on stage other artists including Gemini and Lil Shaker. However, I think he could’ve done better. He needs to do more work and rehearsals if he wants to get the crowd’s attention with a live band.

For Dark Suburb, they did their best- band, songs and stage act were all on point. All I can say is that Ghana is not yet ready to accept their genre of music and stage act. Culturally, Ghanaians aren’t raised with Alternative Rock music. Although they’ve fused pidgin English to make it sound pleasing, their costume, branding and stage drama make it scary and “unlively”. Pappy Kojo and Joey B had the worst performance of the night. they had no creativity at all. they’ve been putting up this style of performance ever since “wave” became a hit. the “Realer No ” hitmaker and Beezy should work on that, and give us an unforgettable experience next time.

Kudos to the organizers for blending ‘old skuul’ with ‘new skuul’. It’s a brilliant idea, just that they may not have made the best choices. As a pioneer, most people got wild to his songs, but he couldn’t deliver as expected. If I saw right, it got to a point when he forgot some lyrics to his “Philomena” hit song. Tinny however did marvelously great. Daddy Lumba looked ill, and ended up being the greatest disappointment of the night. If he wasn’t really physically fit, he could’ve easily turned down the offer professionally.

Stonebwoy’s performance is undoubtedly one of the best the night. His entrance, delivery and energy were dope. Samini, The Compozers and Yemi Alade also made the night one to remember . Patoranking was okay. Award winners rightly deserved it, just that in my humble opinion, “Realer No” doesn’t deserve to be called Hip Hop song of the year, as it was in the same category with a song like “Finish Line”. Eyebrows were raised on E.L’s win of the Best Rapper award. To be frank, E.L worked hardest in rap music than anyone during the year— releasing BAR Mixtape, staging a full Hip-Hop concert, etc.

On to other factors, I point out that stage lights were better than last year’s but still mediocre. Stage set up got better whilst TV broadcasting quality got poorer. Sound production wasn’t the best. The event lasted too long (about 6 hours). Stage security was nothing to write home about— people from the audience decided to rain money on Stonebwoy taking advantage of the weak security, almost ruining his performance. The MC’s didn’t do much of a good work.

Nathaniel Attoh together with Joselyn Dumas was really boring and humourless, as the former kept on shouting into the microphone. DJ Black was looking fatigued. Generally, I think Charter House could’ve done better because they’ve been doing this for a while now. If this is really the biggest night in Ghana music, then it’s a disgrace.

By Joseph Aqweci Ofori

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