On Friday October 16, 2015, the Embassy of Ghana in Washington DC in the United States of America (USA) played host to the North American press launch of the 2016 Ghana Music Week Festival; an annual Music Festival held in Ghana to Celebrate Ghanaian Music, one of Africa’s thriving music Industries. Ghana Music week festival aims to create awareness for and about Ghanaian music and musicians while promoting Ghanaian tourism and culture.
His Excellency Lieutenant Joseph Henry Smith, Ghana’s Ambassador to the USA, in his welcome address to the musicians and guests at the Embassy touted Ghana’s achievement in the global community and music industry over the decades.
Ambassador Smith urged Ghanaians in the diaspora to contribute positively to the development of Ghana through their God given talents and endowments. He also praised musicians for using their talents to lift the banner of Ghana on the international scene.
The Ambassador used the press launch to also introduce the newly crowned Miss Ghana Tourism USA Ms. Whitney Osei to the community and persons in attendance. Ghanaian veteran musician A.B Crentsil treated the audience to some of his old collections as the Apple 68 fm band from the city of Triangle in Virginia USA played.
President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGHA), Bice Osei Kuffour known in show biz as Obuor, encouraged Ghanaians in the American Diaspora and beyond to travel home to participate in the week long activities of the festival.
In an effort to encourage international participation, the MUSIGHA President said “South African Airways would be giving a booster to travelers’ package by offering reduced airfares”, he entreated Ghanaians, music and cultural enthusiasts in the diaspora to take advantage of this deal.
Also present at the event was acclaimed Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni who read a speech on behalf of Ghana’s Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts; Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare.
Rocky who spoke to this writer in an interview expressed his excitement about the upcoming 2016 event and asked all musicians of Ghanaian and African origin globally to lend a hand to ensuring its success.
The 2016 Ghana Music Week festival would be a week-long music festival held at various venues in Ghana scheduled to begin during the first week of March 2016 as a prelude to the annual independence celebration to mark Ghana’s attainment of sovereignty from British Colonial rule on March 6, 1958.
As the festival would coincide with Ghana’s 59th birthday, 59 artists would perform till day break in the independence day concert which would feature local and international music talents of varied musical genres.
As part of the launch, MUSIGHA awarded individuals for their contributions to the promotion of Arts and Culture in Ghana and the USA. These included the editor and Publisher of the Afrikan Post Mr. George Bright-Abu who prior to this award was recently honored by the Asante Kotoko Association with the Akatakyie Award for his exemplary media work in the United States.
Also awarded were Mr. and Mrs Agyekum of New Millennium Health Care in Columbus Ohio which have in the past invited more than 20 Ghanaian musicians to perform at events in the United States.
Dr. Brown of Sahara restaurant was recognized for his contributions to Ghanaian culture in the United States. Mr. Cobina Lartson, the brain behind AfrikMall in Denver, Colorado was also honored. AfrikMall is a place that Africans living in Colorado can call home, providing a range of business services, as well as cultural, community and social opportunities and events.
Chief organizer of the Ghana Music Week festival which is which is entering its third year is MUSIGHA and Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts. A crew of Ghanaian musicians that traveled with MUSIGHA traveled on to Mount Vernon City Hall in Roosevelt Square, New York the following day of October 17, 2015 for a performance at the official launch in the USA.
Some of the artists were Edem, Pappy Kojo, Gasmilla, Joey B, D-Black, Daddy Bosco, Becca, E.L. and among many other celebrated Ghanaian acts Papa Shee, a Ghanaian secular musician now turned gospel evangelist who offered the opening and closing prayer at the DC press launch.
Story by Oral Ofori | Photos by Afrikan Post