I was in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area in late July for an event and took the opportunity to see Kojo Antwi in concert again, which was organized by Special Kay Entertainment. I had already seen him at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi during the 2009 Christmas period. I was excited to see him in concert again but his music is great and evergreen. The show was scheduled to run from 10pm to 4am, because Kojo loves to leave it late. Late he did, he was on stage at 1am and performed for 3 hours. Till 4am! Even some of the concert goers got tired and went home and Mr. Music Man kept on going like an energizer bunny. He's truly the maestro.
Before Kojo was on stage, a couple of Ghanaian music acts preceded him. Koby Maxwell performed his popular tunes like Abiba and I'm aware while Papa Shee performed Koyon so, Ate pa, Atadwe amongst others. While introducing Kojo Antwi, the emcee said, "One of the most famous musicians from Ghana" in reference to Kwadwo. I thought this was a little disappointing. Kojo should be one of the most famous musicians from Africa, and not just Ghana. This is what he should strive for and he needs the support of Ghanaians everywhere as well. His singing in Twi is not the only limiting factor, Angelique Kidjo, Oliver Mtukudzi and Salif Keita have navigated that problem already.
Kojo performed with a full band and a back-up singer. Kojo started his show with some of his old songs. I joked with a friend of mine that those songs were recorded before she was born. Kojo has been doing his thing for a long time. You can learn about his story here. He started with some songs from the To Mother Africa album, like Akonoba and Meto nko. He also sang Menya ntaban from the same album. He also performed Brebre Anowaa. This song is a tribute to mothers and he always performs it. It's a very lovely song. He followed it with Afofanto from his Superman album. He also performed Rocklynn, a dedication to his wife, who wasn't at the concert unfortunately. He didn't perform Dadie Anoma, which left many patrons disappointed though he performed Abofra bo ngwa from the same Afrafra album.
He sang one of my favorites from the Akuaba album, Nkwanta basaa and then continued with Akuaba, Wo do yi ye nsa, Tom and Jerry Awaree and Bra. How he managed to miss out on the classic Me dofo pa baffled me. That's one of the best Ghanaian songs ever made. Kojo has made so many great songs through the years. People clamor to get his new CDs when they are out with little promotion on his part. His work is legendary and speaks for itself. People have complained about how his recent music is not as good or danceable but give his CDs a couple more listens and you'd fall in love with his music all over again.
Densu may be his most popular album by far and it was understandable that he performed a lot of songs from that 2003 CD. He sang Densu, Kakayi, Nyankonton, Odo nsa ano wappi and Nfa me nko ho. Amirika is a heavy fan favorite and Kojo loves to have fun while performing this song. He invited some people onto the stahe to sing along. He also invited some ladies onto the stage and serenaded them. He even organized a dance competition for some young ladies as well. Yes, the ladies were going crazy. Wɔnmo nti gyae!
He also performed Odo a medo wo and Tattoo from the Tattoo album. He rounded up the show performing some songs from his latest album including Happy anniversary and Adiepena. He mentioned a couple who he claims, attended his concert 12 years ago in Maryland, met, fell in love and got married. It was really beautiful when he called them on stage to acknowledge them.
Kojo Antwi has built his career organizing great concerts. His December 24th concerts in Accra, Ghana are well-known. He has performed for crowds all over the world as well. He's still not as big an African musician as Ghanaians may want him to be and this is where he has to set up partnerships with organizations that will get him there. He should try and play at some more lucrative venues. This Maryland concert was organized at a high school gym, a move meant to cut costs. Kojo's asking price is high but he and other African musicians, as well as the Special Kay promoters and other African music promoters must learn to organize world-class and excellent events and not always think about their pockets first. We need to see better organized events that will be talked about for years to come and that goodwill which will drive the music industry even further up.