I've always wanted to attend a Kojo Antwi concert. Every time he had one of those 24th night shows in Accra, I was in Kumasi with my family for Christmas. So when I saw the poster for his 2009 festive season concerts, I wished he'd be in Kumasi as well. My brother pointed out to me that he'll be live at Golden Tulip Kumasi City Hotel on the 26th of December. I was not going to miss out. Yes, I wasn't going to attend the concert with my girlfriend like I always planned but I was going to be there to sing along to all of Kojo Antwi's songs. Kojo Antwi is arguably the biggest Ghanaian musician ever. He's the music maestro, Mr. Music Man. He's awesome, his rasta is evermore and his music is timeless.
I had heard from an aunt that Kojo Antwi never showed up early for his concerts. It's not his fault, African musicians never show up on time. It's almost an accepted practice. Have some opening acts clear the way, have your fans wait and anticipate your grand entry and then come send them into delirium for a short but frolicking time. I decided I'll arrive at the venue at 10:30 instead of the 8pm advertised. I had heard the ticket cost 30GhC so you can imagine my happiness when I arrived and the ticket master said VIP cost 30 and regular cost 20. I bought 3 20GhC tix for me, my brother and cousin. We paid, entered and sat at places reserved for VIPs anyway. Why? I was going to blog about this awesome event that I had to be given a break. So that was it, saving 30 Ghanaian cedis, approx $21.
At 10:30pm, no one was performing or had performed. The promoters had a projector screen showing some reggae band performance, and these reggae raggamuffins didn't look familiar. The seats were all filled and we waited and waited. One person got up and shouted 'Tsooboi', as if to rally the attendees to force some musicians to come unto stage. Advertised opening acts were Wutah, Flavour, Okomfo Kwaadee, etc. Kwaadee is very popular in Kumasi, Flavour's Ashawo has been one of the most played songs in Ghana recently and Wutah (one of my favorite Ghanaian groups) had returned from obscurity in a big way with the chart-topping Kotosa, which still doesn't have a video. If you are counting/scoring/recording at home, Wutah hasn't made music videos for Goosy Gander, Esikyire (Change your style), Big Dreams or Kotosa. And these are their four biggest hits in their entire career. Wutah came to perform around 11:30 and were the only group to perform before Kwadjo Antwi. The audience was too pissed to give Wutah the support they needed. They gave a good account of themselves and the audience danced and sang along.
By the time Kojo Antwi appeared, the audience had warmed up and warmed up to giving the musicians their support. The maestro started with some old school hits, Akonoba, Menya ntaban, Dadie anoma, Meto nko, Afofanto, Me dofo pa, Tom and Jerry Aware, etc. Kojo Antwi is a great singer and performer. He was backed a full band and one of her back-up singers was Dela (one-time Mentor contestant and singer of Fever, Odo and the soundtrack to the Heart of Men movie). The audience sang along, they knew most of the lyrics. We must thank Museke.com for that and Kojo himself for putting lyrics to many of his songs in his CD packets.
I loved it when he had some people in the audience come up stage to sing Amirika. He was organizing a singing competition in front of people who had paid to come see him sing. No one was complaining. Some people in Kumasi can sing though. But wait, the women! Shiee wow. The ladies were dressed to kill and there were some fine fine ladies at the concert. Ghana mmaa hoɔ fɛ na wɔn ho nso twa ampa!
Sonti Ndebele, a South African singer who featured on Menya Ntaban, performed a tribute to Mama Africa Miriam Makeba. After the concert, I greeted her saying 'Sawubona'. Nana Yaa (Pat Thomas' daughter), who has done a lot of duets with Kojo Antwi on his later albums came on stage too. She's such an awesome singer! I asked her when her solo debut would be out, and she said 'February'. We'll see. Together with Kojo, they sang Amirika, Do me wu, Odo a medo wo, Densu, etc.
Kojo Antwi has a new album out called Mwaaah. I've bought the CD and it's super, just like all Kojo Antwi albums. He performed some songs from Mwaah, including Happy anniversary, Adiepena, Sho' naa (features Meiway), Ice Cold, etc. I can't stop listening to Adiepena, it's magnificent. Happy Anniversary is supposed to a song for married couples to celebrate wedding anniversaries. Kojo may have come late but he performed for more than 2 hours!
Kojo Antwi was recently adjudged Artist of the Decade at the Ghana Music Awards. He deserves it and may challenge for the title of Ghana's best musician ever. I managed to get a picture with him even though my camera was indisposed at that time. I had to get a moment with the Maestro. I also met Kojo Antwi's wife, Rocklynn. Yes, he composed a song with her name. How sweet! Kojo Antwi, kudos to you! Keep on making great music and lifting the flag of Ghana high! You're the best. Thanks for a magnificent concert!
Blog originally written on Museke.com