I just love flowers and rainbows and unicorns and romance and happy endings (not those… gutter mind much?)…
I love beautiful ‘how I met my partner’ stories and ‘how I almost let her get away but then I got my mind right’ stories…
I love ‘Love and Basketball’ because I secretly wish I knew someone most of my life and just woke up one day and realized they were the person I was meant to be with.
I am a hopeless romantic and I believe there is a love that can conquer anything.
I love love!
I also love love songs. Really pretty ballads with someone crooning on a track… giving us the
false sense that relationships are these collections of 5 minute moments of bliss, set over a beautiful piano composition with simple lyrics that you remember for a lifetime.
Recently, a friend of mine sent me a song he composed and sang. It is a beautiful ballad about being in love until eternity and— catch this— it is all in Twi, one of the popular languages spoken here in Ghana. So here’s the thing, if you understand the popular music scene here in Ghana, there is literally one mega genre into which all music sort of sits under. Whether you call it afro-beats or hiplife, the truth is, the Ghanaian sounds are usually these fast paced, repetitive dance tracks that will definitely tear up the club but may not push the envelope in musicality or content. Don’t get me wrong, Ghanaian music is definitely making waves internationally and there are people who are trying to do something different in the form of music or content, but they are definitely few and far between. Our award show categories don’t even include a plethora of music genres (ie. best ballad, best traditional, best dance etc.), its more or less categories of best types of musicians (ie. best new artist,
best artist with a name that starts with an S, best artist to release a track that became a jingle during a telecom commercial, etc.) So I was really grateful to hear a ballad sung in Twi with such soulful delivery.
Now this could definitely turn into a conversation about identity and music and the influence of the West and authenticity— but I am here to focus the conversation on how important it is to have this kind of music. Songs like this restore your faith in African men because a) an African man wrote it and you sort of want to believe (whether true or otherwise) that there are guys out there that love this beautifully and b) it puts the local language into a different light, allowing you to appreciate it beyond proverbs and general narrative conversation. African men definitely get a bad rep for being particularly unromantic— well Ghanaian men, I should say. Everyone knows that Senegalese and Nigerian men get the stereotype of being especially handy with words and compliments and romance
(but will be spitting the same great game to all the woman in the village). Ghanaian men get the stereotype of being timid and dutiful, though not particularly romantic, after all, taking care of you is the highest form of love really— so there’s that. But I like that this song, sung by a Ghanaian (even though he looks straight up Igbo— but I digress haha), is in a Ghanaian language and characterizing the principles of love and commitment— as opposed to the hiplife version of love where women are compared to food, and sex and love are used interchangeably.
Beyond just the song, the video is also beautifully done and super creative. It definitely transcends ethnicity, culture, race and location. Anyone can watch the video, and whether you understand the language or not, you can immediately relate to the themes. My favorite part is the glitter hands… because
glitter is my favorite color it’s such a beautiful way to represent the sanctity of marriage. I also just love the overall use of fingers, especially when the girl finger (whatever that means— talk about gender norms, lawd!) kicks her foot up… so cute!
In any case, I will stop gushing over the video, and let you all judge for yourself. Whether you understand what is being said or not, you can concede that the love brewed in this African pot is sweet
like aliguntugui— ok I am done with food references and love (HA!). Check out the video and let us know what you think!
Do you think there is a place for this type of love song in Ghana’s music scene? Sound off in the comments, we love hearing from you!