Gonje Thrills Ali Farka Fans
Gonje, a new Ghanaian Highlife group last Saturday thrilled invited guests of the World Bank Country Director, Mr Marts Karlson, to a five-hour Ghanaian and African highlife music at his Ridge residence in Accra.
Dubbed a 'Night with Gonje', the event was to commemorate the life and death of an African highlife musical star, Ali Farka Toure, a Malian who died a few weeks ago.
The event was sponsored by the World Bank as part of its Country Director's initiative to promote and encourage African musicians to develop their talents in traditional music by the use of local instruments such as the xylophone and other traditional instruments.
Veteran highlife musical artistes, Gyedu Blay Ambolley and Ebo Taylor stole the show which was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, the business community, the media, members of the academia, including Professor Kwame Karikari of the University of Ghana, Legon.
The band Gonje formed two years ago and led by Boateng Kodua Acheampong played some of its 40 songs from its first CD album titled “Bolgatanga.”
The band fuses musical forms and rhythms from both the northern and southern parts of Ghana.
The songs were sang in languages from all over the country, while the band used exclusively and indigenous traditional musical instruments.
Ebo Taylor, a guitar virtuoso who has been at the centre of the development of highlife music in Ghana since the 1950s and his veteran associate Gyedu Blay Ambolley stole the show with some of their old pieces.
Professor Karikari, the French Ambassador to Ghana, and Mr Karlson took turns to pay tribute to the life of Ali Farka who has put Francophone West Africa on the musical map of the world.
The World Bank Country Director underscored the important role of music in development.
“It articulates core values and promotes a direct confrontation with contemporary realities,” he said adding that music was also a real part of the economic world.
It is against the backdrop that he stressed the need for the recognition and support of musicians as well as upholding their rights and giving them the opportunity to exploit their talents.
The World Bank Country Director said West Africa has given the world impetus to the most vibrant musical forms, bluesand jazz. He praised Ghana in particular for its bigger role of promoting these musical genres in Africa and beyond.