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Song Tribute To Kwame Nkrumah 3/13/2007
The lives and works of political figures have been fodder for all shades of creative persons for ages.

For some reggae musicians, especially, names of personalities like Marcus Garvey, Haille Selassie and Kwame Nkrumah have become well-loved mantras that must be sprinkled, even if in very tiny doses, in their works.

In Ghanaian reggaeman, Midindi Ra’s Tribute in honour of Nkrumah, there is no such sparse sprinkling. It is a very generous pour of adoration for Ghana’s First President as his name is mentioned about 40 times in the five-minute song.

Apart from that, the Osagyefo’s own voice is heard declaring the nation independent and talking on issues like tribalism, the ills of colonial rule and why Africans should not be poor because Africa is rich.

Such rousing statements and others described as ‘prophetic’ by the artiste, make Nkrumah loom very large in his view as a great statesman worthy of celebration at all times but especially in this jubilee year.

‘Tribute’ is the title track of a six-song album recorded at Elisee Studio at New Bortianor by Midindi Ra. It is scheduled for general release next week but has already become the toast of reggae presenters on some of the radio stations in Accra.

The 50th independence anniversary celebration has galvanized hiplife, gospel, highlife, reggae and purveyors of other styles of music to chip in whatever bits of patriotism they feel inside.

Unlike some of them, Midindi Ra is not interested in a cosmetic mention of his political hero, thus Tribute.

In such situations, the message in the song is what matters most and the artiste scores ample marks for the very positive image he paints of Nkrumah as a forward-looking statesman concerned with the well-being of his people.

In a section of the song, he goes: He was a blackman commited, dedicated. Liberator with unshifting focus on good works. Pick a day to honour him.

Tribute maintains the strident reggae approach and the rhythm is coloured with a repetitive tenor guitar that appears to constantly ‘voice out’ Nkrumah.

Wearing a full beard and appearing to be more comfortable with a Jamaican-style lingo, Midindi Ra said he has loved music since childhood and turned professional in 1992. He sings and is a multi-instrumentalist.

His previous albums which he produced himself are The Diary of Unsung Lyrics (1997), Odo Boxing (2000) and Represent Ras Right which was recorded last year but will be outdoored later this year.

During the 40th independence anniversary celebration in 1997, the Gramophone Records Museum & Research Centre of Ghana at Cape Coast, put out Africa’s Man of Destiny, a CD of Nkrumah speeches and highlife tunes recorded in his honour.

Midindi Ra has gone a step further to blend the Osagyefo’s speeches with his own music and voice. It is likely we would see more of such approaches from other artistes before the jubilee year is over.

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