Thursday, August 13, 2009

My 10 favorite Ghanaian songs

For one reason or the other, I have become a deejay. I have amassed an impressive collection of African music, especially Ghanaian over the last 7 years. It's been a long while since I attended a Ghanaian party, seen myself at Kenyan, Nigerian, and Senegalese parties this year. Maybe I should organize one? Create an afrodisiac boomerang atmosphere right in the thick of aburokyire. It can be done, I gots the music to back it up. Today, I am going to share my favorite 10 Ghanaian songs which will be first in Ghanaian song series. I'll leave out gospel songs here, will dedicate a post to that.

Before that, you have to check out my 10 favorite African gospel songs, 10 favorite songs from Kenya, 10 favorite songs from South Africa, my 10 favorite Nigerian songs and 10 African songs I think you should know about. Hope you discover your next favorite morning song or find a new jam for your church's next "Kofi and Ama" collection. Click the songs to find the lyrics, video, audio, etc.

Nteteɛ Pa - Obrafour
Obrafour is my favorite artiste of all time. When I heard he was launching an anti-indiscipline campaign in 2003, he earned even more respect in my book. He was Ghana's best rapper and it's most conscious musician. I am a sucker for socially conscious music and Nya nteteɛ pa (which means 'be disciplined' in Twi) was the flagship song. It spoke to people of all walks of life, even the parliamentarians. Obrafour gained a lot of fans from this song. "Be at the right place, the right time, c'mon man, do the right thing". And he sings, let's do everything we can to help our nation. That's my anthem right there.

Esikyire - Wutah
I remember vividly where and when I heard this song for the first time. I was in a bus going to Accra from Kumasi and fell in love with the song from the very first lines. I am a huge fan of Wutah and though the song never had a video, it was hugely popular. Strangely enough, it's not on Youtube, but it's on Museke. My favorite love song of all time, it's comforting. It was a joy seeing them perform in person in December 2006. Esikyire means sugar in Twi and in the song they sing, "she has put some sugar in my mouth". Sweet!

Ako - Obrafour
By early 2004, people were complaining that Obrafour had become a highlife artiste who was enamored with singing. On this 2006 hit, he revisited his Last 2 hiplife roots, and delivered another instant rap classic. The lyrics are sick and they are like lines from rap battle verses. Hammer delivered another great beat and we were reminded how good of a rapper Obrafour was. The song has the deep lyrics we are used to from Obraour, the word play, rhyming, etc. It's believed the song 'dissed' Kontihene, and there's an element of truth in there. Ako means "fight or war" in Twi.

Do ne bi - Kwabena Kwabena
Kwabena is my favorite Ghanaian singer of the moment. This song was the follow-up single to his hugely successful debut album (with Aso). Do ne bi ended up being the soundtrack for maybe the best Ghanaian movie of all-time, the Perfect Picture. The song says "If someone loves you, love him/her too, because in this world, love goes where love is". The song is easy to listen to, easy to sing along to and easy to dance to. Like the way the song's tempo is upped as it progresses. It's the most played song on my iTunes now. Song's so good you don't even realise it is ending :-) You should look for Kwabena's unplugged videos. I want this guy to sing at my wedding.

African girls - 5Five
I saw the video on GTV once and thought, here's another group trying to make it big with some song about African women after Tuface's success with African Queen. After I heard the song in an Accra club, it had left African Queen's shadow and was bound to be a massive club jam. Hearing it on the Life N Living It soundtrack also gave it more cred (for me). Killy sounds like Akon on the track but do you think I care? The song signalled the rise of Ghanaian English hit songs. Definitely one of my favorite party jams. "She's pretty like she's half Fante". The remix featuring Iwan, Gyino, 4x4 and Kwaw Kese is fantastic.

Otoolege - Ofori Amponsah
Otoolege is one of the best and most popular Ghanaian songs ever. When the 21st century rolled in, hiplife ruled the Ghanaian music scene, it won all the major awards and had the most airplay. Otoolege changed that. All4Real featured Kofi Nti, K.K.Fosu and Barosky (a raglife musician). I believe his willingness to feature a hiplife artiste gave him that success to upstage the hiplife acts. The song's sang so well and so beautifully written. Otoolege means a stupid person. Song talks about this guy loves this girl so much and he does everything he can to please her but she doesn't appreciate it. So she sees him or makes him feel like a stupid person. This is the one song that deserved every accolade it's won over the years.

Me dofo pa - Kojo Antwi
This is my favorite Kojo Antwi song. I love the video, I think it features some Miss Ghana contestants. Kojo Antwi, aka Mr Music Man, is maybe Ghana's most popular musician. He doesn't need to promote his music, people buy it because it's from him. Is Kojo Antwi a Reggae, R&B, Soul or Highlife musician? He's a step above the rest. Another person I'll like to see perform live. I've never been to his 24th concert before. Sad. Me dofo pa means "my good love" in Twi.

Suudwe remix - K.K. Fosu
When I went to Ghana in the summer of 2004, my relatives told me about a new dance called 'Suudwe'. The hiplife trinity had been born and Batman, K.K.Fosu and Kokovelli ruled the music scene. This song was a party anthem and the collaboration was awesome. Batman (who is now Samini) had a Midas touch, if you featured him on your song, it was going to be a hit. No one really knows what Suudwe is but it has to do with sex (I think). "Edzɔ bɔdɔɔ, payanku, payanku" "Edzɔ bɔdɔɔ, kokroku, kokroku"

Tsi Obenke mi - King David
This is a song in Ga, a language I don't even understand. I think it means 'come near me' as in 'twe bɛn me'. Can someone transcribe the lyrics and do the translations for me? This is a spectacular jama/highlife/traditional song. If you thought Ga was a 'loud' language, think again.

Heavy - Obrafour
Obrafour never really shined at love songs. His strengths were conscious tracks, good head-bumping jams and songs that made you listen over and over. When he combined with Kofi B on 'Heavy', he had scored a real radio hit. Obrafour calls the girl he likes/loves 'Heavy'. Obviously, big women are not the epitome of beauty in the present day, but someone who's 'heavy' is. Obrafour is a great singer, if he wants to sing highlife, leave him be.

These are the first 10 songs that came to mind. If I remember one injustice that I missed, I will comment about it. Just like last time, I want to list a few honorable mentions. I'll do a list of my Ghanaian songs for 2009.

I love Praye a lot too - Jacket Remix, Shordy and Efie ne fie. We know him for Aketesea but I think Kontihene shined on Kro hin kro. Some other great Ofori Amponsah songs are Cinderella, Puduo, Lady, and Odwo. Buk Bak's Klu Brofo was my jam in 2002. I really like Daddy Lumba's Ahenfo Kyinie. Okyeame Kwame has been my fave for a while now and you should listen to Opabeni and Woso (remix).

I also like Atia Donko by Nana Quame, Ahomka womu by VIP, Siesie obaa no by Akatakyie, You lied to me by Becca, Akua Ataa by Kofi B, Mesan aba by Akyeame, Odo nnwom by Kofi Nti, etc. I also like more stuff from Obrafour, Wutah and Kojo Antwi, there are too many songs to list here.

If there are some Ghanaian songs you think should have made my list, let me know too.

Long live Ghanaian music.
Long live African music.
Long live Africa.
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