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Divas, Big Hair, Aeroplanes and Music: The Story of ‘Decibels’

CANOE Entertainment promised the people of Ghana the power of sound, and that is exactly what they delivered when they assembled four of the hottest African Divas in a live concert dubbed, ‘Decibels’. Indeed the National Theatre reverberated with a quality of sound that it had not experience in a long while; a sound that […]

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CANOE Entertainment promised the people of Ghana the power of sound, and that is exactly what they delivered when they assembled four of the hottest African Divas in a live concert dubbed, ‘Decibels’. Indeed the National Theatre reverberated with a quality of sound that it had not experience in a long while; a sound that was so clear, a sound that is so crisp, and a sound that was almost deafening in the best of ways.

This powerful sound was not just from the quality of the voices that were showcased on the night but the quality of the sound that came from the speakers, microphones, guitars and indeed all the instruments on display.  As the two complimented each other so beautifully, all that patrons could do was to savour in the delightful experience.

The Decibels experience started with a simple melody to a poetic recital by Crystal Tetteh, accompanied by her mother and some nomadic strings. Soon after the pair left, it was time for Diva number one on the night. With her big ‘Afro’ and model-figure, the swanky and slinky Gena West stepped into the light and opened her live session with a powerful rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’.  Although difficult to believe, judging by looks, the foxy singer is a gospel singer. Yes, indeed most of the songs she performed on the night gave the audience something to enjoy and swing to, as well as something to think about!

Throughout her performances to an audience that was mostly unfamiliar with her music, Gena impressed in spite of almost rushing through her act to catch a plane out of the country. Nothing says diva more than having a singer say that she has a plane to catch in between performances. Certainly, while on the flight out she could look back and smile about leaving a good impression on the people of a country that she has chosen to call her home.

As Gena West rushed out to catch her flight, in came Bibie Brew with her Pocahontas hairdo. She had nothing to do with an aeroplane on the night but she could not resist telling the audience about living in both France and Ghana – Diva! She came in with a more jazzy and soulful music that celebrated love and humanity. With her rendition of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Natural Woman’, it was clear that a strong and independent-minded woman was in the building; and it even reflected in the way she controlled her band and got the audience involved in her performance.  She taught the crowd a few lines to one of her songs and before long; she had the audience singing in chorus with her. As if that was not enough star-power, Bibie had a young man from the crowd on stage to dance with her, and before the close of her session another white woman was up on stage dancing out of tune.

Only a few people can sing in French on a Ghanaian stage and get away with it, and Bibie Brew is one of them.  She made way for the delectable, delightful and vivacious Efya. Although Efya’s name as an artist has gone through several changes one thing that remains constant is her talent. And yes, even her talent too has evolved as she has become ‘the consummate’ live performer miles ahead of her contemporaries. With no outstanding hairdo and no mention of her travelling experiences, Efya staked her claim to ‘Divadom’ with a roller-coaster of rollicking performances comparable to any female Grammy Award winner of old or present.

With her ‘journey of love’ themed session, Efya took the crowd through the ups and downs of relationships with a song to reflect each of the several stages in a relationship; from the moment you meet that special person, to the things you love about that special person; as well as the heartbreaks and troubles you get from the one you love.  Of course she wouldn’t be a diva without singing about how women should move on from a bad relationship. The energy with which she sang “…If you don’t want me, make you commot…” clearly showed that she had indeed arrived!

After exciting the crowd with amazing performances of her yet to be released songs, Efya exited the stage for the next diva to rock the show. However, as Gena West made her way to the airport, Nneka and her band were rather making their way to the National Theatre from the airport. So the audience had to chill to the sounds of the Mastermix Band while waiting for the arrival of Nneka.

Finally Nneka appeared on stage with her signature big hair and an electric guitar. Without showing any signs of fatigue or jetlag she went straight into her performances with so much energy, proving why she has been the toast of concerts all over the world. The conscious diva asked the audience to make a difference in their various communities in her interactions with them. Some of the patrons got up to dance and sing along when Nneka performed ‘I Hope She Makes You Happy’, and clearly she made them very happy.

After a few more performances, Nneka brought the ‘Power of Sound’ experience to an end when she exclaimed, “…See you next year!’ Maybe Nneka knew something that the rest of the audience didn’t know or perhaps she was just being a diva and signing out as such. But if ‘Decibels’ returns next year, it would certainly be a great experience to repeat and for those who missed out, it would be a-must to attend.

The End!

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