I have come to realize that if you continuously decline invitations, you may one day wake up to realize you have declined an invitation to heaven. And on two occasions I got invited to certain programs but declined. So this year, one of my resolutions, among others, is not to unruly decline invitations since I might not know which one is to heaven.
The pre-launch of Mutombo Da Poets spoken world album, ‘Photo Sentences’ as well as the premiere of the video for his second single ‘X-RAY’, was the highlight of the show.
The show was advertised to begin at 5 pm. And knowing Ghana and how shows are organized vis-à-vis time, I decided to be a ‘little’ late. I got there around 6:25 pm. It was late indeed as the show took off as advertised.
I stepped into Sytris Bookshop at Osu when Fawas was in the middle of his delivery. A well crafted, humor-filled piece, which caused giggles and laughter among the audience. No wonder he got a standing ovation.
Other poets who took to the mic that night include Chief Mommen-who walked the audience through the history of Ghana from the 15th century to when the nation experienced her first military interregnum, Miriam Quarshie, Edith Ndabli, Ian Jazzi, Des Mon, Elikplim Akorli, Kwame Write, Nimz, Namoji Obese and many others.
Kofi Akpabli, two- time CNN Journalist of the Year winner in the Arts category read a piece from his book “Tickling the Ghanaian-Encounters with Contemporary Culture and a Sense of Savannah-Tales of A Friendly Walk through Northern Ghana”. The humor in that piece was so poignant that the audience kept laughing most of the time.
Another episode that pricked the audiences’ sense of humor was when some poets ‘choked’ on their lines. Ian Jazzi, in the middle of his piece “We on Fire”, missed a few lines. Another person had to break twice to regain his composure. And the host of the show, the indefatigable Kweku Sonny struggled at least four times on the word ‘distinguishable’ (or distinction was it?). It took the intervention of Mutombo to crack the word up. It latter came to pass that, the word was mis-spelt, hence the mispronunciation. This reminded me of what former Prez. Rawlings is reported to have opined when he choked on a word whiles delivering an address, “English is a stupid language”.
Before the man in whose honour the show was partly put together took to the podium, some of his Pidgin Music label mate came to show him love. Yaa Pono, the afro-centric rapper delivered a poetry recital of one of his songs to the cheers of all. Lady Jay, Pidgin’s first lady, took centre stage and serenaded the audience to an acoustic ballad. Her soulful, wholesome yet smoky voice added colour to the ambience inside Sytris. Also, Kye kye ku was on hand to recite some words and ended up doing a rendition of Wanluv the Kubolor’s tune “Human Being’ which the audience hummed along.
Mutombo, Ghana’s foremost spoken word artiste took centre stage and performed some of his ‘old’ works. He further spoke about his journey from obscurity to prominence as well as the state of spoken word/poetry in Ghana today. He entreated fellow compatriots not to relent but keep pushing. The animated video of ‘X-RAY’ was premiered.
Though the night was to celebrate Mutombo, the one thing on the lips of many was the performance of “RE-WRITE” by KwameWrite, Namoji Obese and O'zionn. The message in that piece is as potent and deep as the performance delivered. It was exhilaratingly magnificent.
Personalities who came to support the show included Mariska Taylor-Darko, Nana Awere Damoah (Author of Tales from Different Tails), Panji Anoff (Pidgen Music), PY Annan (One Show, Bless the Mic), XO Senavoe (rapper/Musician).
· Audience appeal was ever present. The ambience was perfect, audience expectant and engaging. The show of support for poets who “choked” on their lines attests to that fact.
· The venue was not only filled by Ghanaians. I saw a few ex-pats and judging by their reaction, they had an enthralling time.
· I also met a couple of first timers and if their responses are anything to go by, I dare say they won’t ever miss an Open Thought show.
· The organizers displayed a high sense of professionalism in respect of time.
· The show served as a plateform for both “old’ and “new” poets to fraternize. I had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time the man who added me to the group P.O.E.TS (Eli), Mariska, Nana Damoah among others.
· There appeared to be inadequate chairs at the venue. Perhaps, the organizers under-estimated the number of persons who patronized the show. Or could it be the size of the venue (space wise)
· There were more guys than women. Maybe Kweku should do well and extend invites to the ladies next time to ensure gender balance.
· I got the impression that the host was talking to those at the front rows. However, the ‘back-benchers’ announced their presence from time to time.
All in all, I would thumb-up Kweku Sonny and his colleagues for a successful show. It was amazing, exciting and diverse. Guest would have had their monies worth if they had paid to enter. As one attendee whom I bordered a car with told me, his journey from Koforidua to Accra and his decision to over stay just to attend the show has not been in vain. We parted at Circle as he went looking for a car to Koforidua around 9: 20 pm.
The highlight of the night, as many told me was the performance of RE-WRITE by KwameWrite,O’Zion, Namoji Obese and O'zionn. You can read the full text on www.kwamewrite.blogspot.com