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Gospel Musicians Refuse To Come Clean 2/21/2007
As part of activities to mark the celebration of Ghana?s 50 years of independence, a number of gospel shows have been scheduled to take place in every regional capital in all ten regions.

An Initiative of Ghana at 50 secretariat lead by Dr. Wereku Brobbey and organized in collaboration with the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) and regional based gospel musical bodies.

In Greater Accra, the nation?s capital where the golden jubilee celebration is centered, this event came off at the fore court of the state house on Sunday 28th January and was beamed live on GTV.

In a radio interview after the show, with Kwasi Ernest, General Secretary of United Gospel Musicians Association (UGMA) and organizing member of the event, he told DJ Abio on ?205? an entertainment review program on Channel ?R? that, the total amount made available by Dr. Wereku Brobbey?s office to organize the Accra concert was a sum of one hundred and twenty three million cedis (123,000,000) cedis but he refused to comment as to how much each artiste was paid for the show.

According to him the initial plan was to use only 12 gospel artists but for the fact that it was a national event and because there were a lot more gospel musicians based in Accra, they decided to increase the number to more than 20 artists including Pastor Josh Layea, Nii Okai, Christiana Love, Dany Nertey, Andy Frimpong Manson, Daughters of Glorious Jesus, Grace Ashy, Maame Pokua, Ophilia Nyantakyi, Collins Nyantakyi, Vine Praise, Philipa Bafi, George Cobby and many others. And he quoted Dr. Wereku Brobey to have said in one of their meetings that ?this is a national cake it is only right for everybody to have a taste of it than share among a few gospel musicians.

When Diana Akiwumi, Vice President of MUSIGA and an organizer was also called to explain and make public how the said amount was expended among them after their performance on the night.

Diana who also performed her happy birthday song said the money was paid according to a grading system they designed themselves. She stated that this grading A, B, C and D was categorized based on the individual artist?s involvement in national events, his or her consistency in the industry and frequent public performances.

She went on to explain that in every industry there are pacesetters, so new musicians should not expect to be paid more or equal to what the old folks are entitled to, even though old gurus like Suzzy and Matt, Mary Gansah, Cindy Thompson, Nana Yaw Asare, Jane and Bernice, Daughters of Glorious Jesus and others were not invited.

DJ Abio?s effort at ?forcing the cat out of the bag? only ended the telephone conversation with a question from Diana wanting to know if the host can put his monthly salary in public Domain. Perhaps she forgot that Abio?s salary is not paid by the tax payer. Eventually Diana refused to give account of how the money was disbursed.

A chat this reporter had with some of the gospel musicians who pleaded anonymity shows that a section of gospel singers do not understand or agree to the so called grading.

Some were of the view that the amount in question was only meant for that night so whether old or new you are paid based on your performance that night. While others also believe they did this for God and country whether paid or not, they are proud to have been part of such an important national concert.


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