Song: Made in Ghana
Artiste: Okyeame Kwame featuring Kidi
Producer: Dan Grahl
Arranger: Ebo Taylor
Author: Kwame Dadzie
Introduction: On Friday, 28th September, 2018 I had the opportunity to listen to Okyeame Kwame’s new song titled ‘Made in Ghana.’
Typical of me, I listened to it umpteenth times, so I could appreciate the taste of every single ingredient that went into the preparation of such a masterpiece.
Okyeame Kwame does not compromise on quality – and he affirmed that in this song.
Instrumentation: The song is in a 2/4 time signature and was programmed in a quintessentially highlife fashion.
There are the typical bells and castanet ostinatos of highlife running through ‘Made in Ghana’ from top to drop.
Co-produced from the stables of 82 year-old composer, Ebo Taylor and producer Dan Grahl, one could not have had enough of top notch quality in production. Classic!
And the horns! Reminiscent of the old Cape Coast and Takoradi highlife.
Dan Grahl complements the composition with his heart – tingling strums from the bass guitar.
Vocal delivery: Sang in Key E♭ Major, the song starts with Kidi who opens with a short prelude which welcomes the instrumental intro.
Kidi’s velvety voice sets the mood for the song as he sings the chorus.
For those who are very familiar with Kidi’s voice, he sounds quite different on ‘Made in Ghana’ and that makes the song more refreshing to listen to. Kidi’s vocal texture and modulations are unlike what he typically does.
In my appreciation, I believe Kidi was challenged to try something different from what he always does. I personally have the feeling that the melodies and lyrics were all prepared for him (by Okyeame Kwame), so he just laced his voice on it.
Usually, Kidi sings between B Flat and C Sharp Major. Singing in E Flat Major on ‘Made in Ghana’ required that he either pitched higher (which may have been difficult) or sing an octave lower (which he did but made him sound quite deeper in voice quality than he’s been heard on most of his songs.)
Message: The new song titled ‘Made in Ghana’ features Kidi, Ebo Taylor and Dan Grahl.
It is actually the theme song for Okyeame Kwame’s upcoming ‘Made in Ghana’ album.
According to Okyeame Kwame, the ‘Made in Ghana’ project is aimed at imbuing in Ghanaians, a sense of national pride, foster music tourism and expose indigenous music fusion.
These aims of the project can be felt greatly in the theme song which basically talks about the pride of the country.
It mentions some Ghanaian cultural values, objects and practices.
Content appreciation: Kidi starts the song with a verse that sums up the pride of Ghana. He sings:
They say I smile too much
I’m way too hot
I’m too spirited
They say my dance is silly oo
My girls are hipsy oo
I love my soccer
All the girls tastes like sugar
In the above, the writer (Okyeame Kwame) gives human attributes to Ghana – personification.
This summarises the traditional Ghanaian hospitality, the curvaceous women and other great things Ghana has.
Then, Okyeame Kwame comes in with his first verse. He touches how Ghanaians show love to each other even when times are hard. He makes his point by particularly mentioning the Kotoka International Airport as he also talks about Ghana being the gateway to Africa.
The chorus repeats and the second rap verse comes in. He again, accentuates the various cultures in Ghana but makes a striking statement that turned on my libido for controversy.
“Banku over fried rice any time
Fufuo over pizza any time,
Kente over linen yenni size,
Highlife over hip hop bor ne twice…”
Okyeame Kwame started music as hip hop person. In fact, rap is the soul of hip hop – and the fact that Kwame is predominantly a rapper than a singer is no gainsaying.
His preference of highlife over hip hop in the lines captured above, however, clearly shows his heart is leaned now towards highlife than any other music genre.
By rating highlife over hip hop, Okyeame wades in on the recent campaign by some people to revive highlife music which is of Ghanaian origin.
Veteran Highlife musician Rex Omar, for example, has launched a campaign to revive the highlife genre and also redefine it.
There have also been calls by some Ghanaians to play about 80% of Ghanaian music than foreign. The call does not put premium on only highlife music though; it only
Ghana is not a homogeneous society. It is made of up different ethnic groups and tribes – most of which have distinct cultural identities.
Therefore, in making a song that sets out to talk about Ghana and what it is made up of, the risk of leaving some particular groups of people out is high. However, Okyeame Kwame’s ‘Made in Ghana’ fairly represents the major groupings on the Ghanaian society.
He mentions, the Aboakyer Festival which is celebrated by the people of Winneba. He also cites the popular Easter Celebrations by the people of Kwaku, the Paga Crocodile Pond located in the Upper East Region of Ghana, among others.
He does not leave out the beautiful chieftaincy institution of the Ashantis.
Even though he does not specifically give accounts of every ethnic group, he gives them ‘shout out’ by mentioning them.
I would have wished he mentioned every region’s pride and heritage but that would definitely not be possible for a 4:32 song.
I am already salivating for upcoming album which also features Kurl Songs, Kwan Pa band, Wiyaala, Atongo Simba,Yaa Yaa, Fancy Gadam and Afriyie Wutah, Wulomei, Feli Nuna and Kuami Eugene.
I hope the remaining songs which represent the other 9 regions will be exhaustive in telling the stories of the regions.
We have been singing the National Anthem of Ghana parrot-fashion for God knows how long.
Some may say ‘Made in Ghana’ would also be just a jam to dance to. But I believe Okyeame Kwame would revive the spirit of patriotism and nationalism in most Ghanaians with the ‘Made in Ghana’ project.
As the chorus simply puts it, we need not change our identity completely irrespective of the environment we find ourselves in. Okyeame Kwame has been a living testament to this as evidenced in his sense of fashion and knack for indigenous Ghanaian rhythms.
Acculturation is a big challenge to preserving one’s culture but we can try, not to lose our SELF completely.
I rate ‘Made in Ghana’ 97.3%.
By: Kwame Dadzie/citinewsroom.com/Ghana