The infiltration of our culture by that of the Western World has been enormous. Mostly, there’s a higher level of a lack of a belief in our innate abilities as a people, and most often than not, we spend our time trying to look and sound like the Whites. We tend to forget that the past is not irrelevant.
Focusing on Ghana, we have forgotten or maybe have decided not to remember that the Whites entered this nation and plundered it. They came in like sheep, but we later discovered that they are Wolves and long after we gained independence through the toil of our Fathers, we are still going back to them for assistance.
Kwame Nkrumah’s fear of neo-colonialism is just as real as the coronavirus. More striking is the fact that we have ditched or appear to ditch or culture and have decided to embrace a more foreign way of living. Even our music (which is supposed to also tell our story) has been corrupted, and our musicians rarely sing songs which remind us of our struggle as a people.
Well, we can’t begrudge them because it is not even automatic that singing such songs will give them the status they desire to achieve. But well, there are others who have stuck to their first love as Ghanaians and have consistently represented our culture, irrespective of where they are. Let’s take a look at some of them:
One of Ghana’s most celebrated exports in terms of music, Osibisa, was a Ghanaian Afro Rock Band which was founded in 1969 by four expatriate Africans and three Caribbean Musicians. The group was made up of; Teddy Osei, Kiki Gyan, Sol Amarfio, Frank Tontoh, Wendell Richardson, Kofi Ayivor, Mac Tontoh and others.
They are responsible for globally acclaimed hits such as; Woyaya, Heaven Knows as well as Sunshine Day. Their kind of music combined African, Caribbean, Jazz, Funk, Rock, Latin, R & B and Highlife. Osibisa is widely regarded as the most successful and longest-lived bands of African Heritage which was based in London.
Their songs have made several appearances on the Billboard Charts. Indeed, they portrayed being Ghanaian and so are definitely of notable mention when we’re to consider musicians who made us proud to be Ghanaian.
Noel Wiyaala! She is an Afro-pop singer and songwriter who sings in her native language of Sissala and Waala. She also sings in English and sometimes, combines all three languages when singing. She takes pride in being called ‘The Lioness of Africa’ and always represents her culture in any country she finds herself.
Wiyaala, in her Sissala dialect, means ‘The Doer’. She is also associated with UNICEF Ghana and has together with UNICEF, held campaigns in Ghana against child marriage, child poverty, health and sanitation.
In 2018, Wiyaala was selected as one of BBC News “African Women We Celebrated in 2018”. She has toured several international countries, a feat which she began in 2015. She has performed at the Hague African festival in the Netherlands, The Afrikadey Festival in Calgary, Canada as welal as WOMAD UK.
She has also performed at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club during Place of War’s “Voices of the Revolution” which is an international collective of female musicians from countries of conflict around the world and other UK Festivals such as; Shambala and the Hull Freedom Festival.
In fact, after her performance at WOMAD UK, The Irish Times had this to say about her; “Feisty is not the word – she is a powerhouse in the mode of Angelique Kidjo, Effervescent and Funny, she rocked the crowd and got a great reception”.
She has also spoken against the male-dominated culture and polygyny, which takes place in some African countries.
Her song, “Tinambayai” which was sung in Sissala has been regarded mainly as one of the best songs which have spoken against the exploitation of women in Africa. She has featured on the BBC to air her displeasure against child marriage.
Her song, “Make me Dance” has been included as one of the top feminist songs for the 2013 winter by the Bitch Feminist Magazine.
In fact, Wiyaala designs her stage dresses and jewellery in order to showcase her Ghanaian culture. She was cited by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post as a role model.
Clearly, Wiyaala is one whose achievements on the global scene will make you proud to be Ghanaian.
It is of no doubt that people have said “there are only two musicians in Ghana; Wiyaala, and the others”.