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Ayisoba''s GMA surprise 5/15/2007
Jay-Z and Beyonce would probably have gone unnoticed had they appeared in a parachute. It was all about our very own stars. Samini, King Ayisoba, Amandzeba, Lord Kenya, Kwaku Gyasi, KOD, Bola Ray etc. You had almost every person in the uppity and not-so-uppity class present making it very easy to get caught up with stars and friends of stars wanting to make a fashion statement. Live on the ‘Red Carpet’ were Chris and Pamela welcoming in the stars of the night. Praye’s explosive performance started the night on a good note. Then, quickly, the awards rolled in. Luckily, there were no unnecessary speeches from the recipients of the awards. It was the usual thanks to God Almighty, family and production team.
The big winners on the night were Kwaku Gyasi, Ofori Amponsah, Obrafuor and (surprise!) King Ayisoba. Ofori Amponsah took home all the three highlife awards as well as Album of the Year. Hiplife song of the year presented by Bola Ray and Hamamat (Miss Malaika 2006) went to Obrafuor for ‘Heavy’. The ‘Executioner’ dedicated his first award of the night to his “14-week-old baby.” He also won ‘Best Collabo’ of the year with Kofi B as well as Hiplife Artiste of the Year.

Samini was the recipient of the African Pop Song of the Year award (a new category this year) and artist of the year. He came onstage with an entourage hoisting the Ghanaian flag. It was difficult to hear him over the shrill screams of the ladies in the house.

But King Ayisoba was the shocker (or surprise) of the night, taking home three awards: Traditional Song of the Year, Discovery of the year and the Most Popular Song of the Year with ‘I want to see you my Father’. The audience waited for bated breaths as Alhaji Sidiku Buari, MUSIGA President, opened the envelope to announce the winner of the last (but most important) award of the night. Many thought it was a straight contest between Ofori Amponsah and Batman. So when Alhaji Buari called out “Ayisoba”, many were surprised initially. But after a short moment of reflection, the applause came and the traditional musician walked majestically to receive his award. King Ayisoba’s surprise win of the ultimate prize might still linger but if you count the number of times you heard ‘I want to see you my Father’ on radio and television as well as on phone ring tones, you will understand and appreciate why he beat the likes of ‘Emmanuela’ and ‘Heavy’.

Overall, the audience seemed to have enjoyed the night. But the programme started late (what else is new) and it seems that being on time for such events is tantamount to self-inflicted punishment of having your time wasted as you wait for so-called VIPs and for the event managers to put their act together. The intermittent advertising and inserted documentaries on payola, sponsorship and piracy needless dragged the night. The performances were somehow below average. Phillipa Baafi’s ‘I go dance’ failed to move the crowd and Ofori Amponsah’s attempt at singing with a live band was unimpressive. It came off as a poor imitation of himself and his unsynchronized dancers did not help matters either. For someone who had garnered 3 awards on the night, a much better display of showmanship was expected. As it stands, the performances of Batman, Praye and Jeff Bogologobo from Cote D''Ivoire stood out as the most exciting. Bogologobo brought down the house performing ‘Ei Alhaji’. As he performed, everybody waited eagerly while he went through the French mumbo-jumbo and then pounced on the chorus: “ei Alhaji, Alhaji…”

Then came the African Music Legend of the year, Hugh Masakela. He performed very well with Kwabena Kwabena and Becca. But the performance was cut abruptly ended by what appeared to by a system failure, which affected the PA system: the mics went off, the electrical instruments wouldn’t play and both Becca and Papa Hugh tried in vain to continue doing their thing. When all failed, MC Kwame Sefa Kayi sent out the audience for an unscheduled break as the technicians tried to resolve the problem. Thankfully, it didn’t take them long to sort things out and the programme started again after some 15 minutes.

The last performances of the night were back-to-back performances of the song of the year, ‘I want to see u my father’ and Samini’s self titled song. This year’s GMA winners did not just receive plaques. The title sponsor, Areeba will give five million cedis worth of talk time for each plaque the award winners picked. So for his three plaques, Ayisoba has 15 million cedis of talk time from the mobile phone giant. Now, even if he can’t see his father, he can call and talk to him.

Earlier on Thursday… dinner with the stars

The Ghana Music Awards festival kicked off with an awards dinner at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel. ‘Industry awards’ were given out at this event and it was a celebration of roots Ghanaian Music, with due recognition for the likes George Darko, Nana Kwame Ampadu to Ebo Taylor. The merit award winners took home mobile phone handsets and they will enjoy six months of unlimited talk time from Areeba.

Nana Ampadu, who has about 100 albums to his credit, opened the night. Initially, the audience did not warm up to his performance. Unhappy with the response, he stopped singing and asked: “Why are you sitting there ‘bom bom’ like that?” As if on cue, the rhythm kicked in and Nana Ampadu put the older folk in the groove and they showed of a bit of what was ‘hip’ back then. A total of 20 awards were given out. The most notable award introduced this year was the Ghana@50 Merit Awards. This award was for those who have contributed to Ghanaian music over the past 50 years. Old and almost forgotten names were recognized for their contribution to Ghana’s music.

After the first batch of awards, Kwaisey Pee took to the stage and he had Pascaline Edwards on her feet from the moment he picked up the mic till he dropped it. Jemimah Annor-Yeboah (‘Stars of the Future’) sang her debut track, ''gospelling'' her way to the dais. But people were too busy munching on food to pay much attention to her. Thereafter, George Darko and Ebo Taylor licked a few tunes on the guitar. Wutah and Praye were also there as a team, singing their jubilee composition. By the time they were through, the older generation had left and that drew down the curtain on the night.

By Winifred hMensa


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