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MUSIC REVIEW: “Conqueror” by ICGC Gospel Diva, Yvonne Asamoah-Tawiah, will certainly make you conquer the unconquerable

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Minister Yvonne, known as Yvonne Asamoah Tawiah — a supremely talented UK-based Ghanaian gospel singer, songwriter, and minister whose star may rise as quickly in Ghana as it is in the UK is rocking our gospel screens with a tantalizing spirit-engulfed gospel music. 

The gospel diva cum military woman currently works with the British Armed Forces as Human Resource Specialist.  She is a staunch member of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) UK.

Last year, she began releasing her maiden singles, comprising “Unchangeable God” which got listed on the UK Gospel Music Chart for weeks, and “Besuka” which infused the melodic sensibility of African pop with flashes of afrobeats and R. & B. which lends an extraordinary sweetness to the songs.   

In August 2020, her Besuka gospel video won the Best International Video of the year award organised by WWGMVA UK.

Minister Yvonne is reshaping the acceptance of Ghanaian gospel music across the world.  

Her latest, “Conqueror,” is yet another proof that she is fully prepared for the mandate ahead.

“Conqueror” is one of the best bodies of work Ghanaian music has seen in 2020. Released on 30th October 2020, and available on all the major digital streaming stores, the song makes room for empowerment as a key to survival in this era of COVID-19. 

THE REVIEW

Excellent song I must say!

The genre of the song is reggae. According to the Jamaican based Reggae Plus Radio, Gospel Reggae is the fastest growing segment of reggae music at the moment. It is therefore really homecoming of sorts for Minister Yvonne as songs like “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego” by Justin Hind became a worldwide hit because it demonstrated a major Gospel influence. 

Content: The title of the song, “conqueror” is an intoxicating mash of mental revolution as it empowers listeners.  

The title “conqueror” according to the English Dictionary means one who subdues and brings into subjection or possession by force or by influence. In the strictest sense, it means one who conquers, vanquishes; a victor. 

With inspiration from Ephesians 6:10-17, Minister Yvonne uses the word “conqueror” to minister and tell the world that we are conquerors despite the challenges we are confronted with. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked nations and economies. Individually, it has drained people financially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. The song therefore offers the perfect prescription for people from all walks of life to conquer their fears in this era.

There is no way you would listen to this song without feeling you are a conqueror! You would instantly be mentally revolutionised and be pushed to accept yourself as a conqueror. This song from beginning to the end is spirit-filling especially that chorus part where she chants “among all conquerors oh…oh I am a conqueror”. I was lost in the spirit as I sat to review this song. 

Vocal Strength: From her two previous projects, “unchangeable” and “Besuka”, Yvonne has exhibited impressive vocal capacities in her delivery and live performances. I am not surprised at all her vocals on “conqueror” is faultless.  

Yvonne’s voice is honey-sweet without being saccharine, and the song is incredibly dreamy while still maintaining a strong rhythmic focus. Her notes are clean as she sings comfortably within her range. One characteristic that will certainly make the song a favourite for all is the witty kind of playful ad-libs to the inner fabric of the song’s DNA.

Song Arrangement:  The song comes in one verse. The pre-chorus “Lion of Judah He roars with power and might” was taken twice. The main chorus, “I am a conqueror” was taken twelve (12) times. The post-chorus predominated the song. The hook “Great I am, great is in me” was sung six (6) times while the bridge “You’re sovereign” came once. 

The lyrics are well arranged. The verse, chorus and the bridge relate to the entire theme of the song which is “conqueror”.  The lyrics of the song is simple to assimilate and in her honesty is a subject that cannot be over flawed. She keeps the message pretty simple and very easy to understand. 

In the verse, she exhorts us to be courageously “fitted in readiness” for every situation with the “shield of faith fearlessly” like a soldier because there is no more time to wait. She urges us to “Shout it out” by saying “I am a conqueror” if you believe you are one. 

Instrumentation/Production: The major instruments used to compose this song include drums, obviously to keep the timing and to maintain the integrity of the one drop beat. The natural sound of a milked piano with the keyboard adds freshness to the lyrics, making it a classic riddim. 

Additional instruments used are electric guitar and mellow strings, metronome, light percussions. It is a mid-tempo song laced with powerful vocals and rhythmic switch of instruments with backed up soothing harmony that works perfectly on “conqueror” song well – it is very interesting to the ears.

The rhythm is spirit filling, the melody is spirit filling, the lyrics are spirit filling, the video is spirit filling, the artiste is spirit filled, the backup singers are spirit filled; the entire song is spirit filling. 

The song producer, Samuel Ababio Yeboah of X-Tee Muzik Lab did a great job on this project.

“Conqueror” is a must-listen song and already looks a strong contender for Best Reggae and Gospel Song of the Year, locally and internationally.

I rate the song 90%.

WATCH THE VIDEO FOR VICTORY BY EBEN BELOW

The writer is with the Centre for National Culture, Kumasi.
He is a Creative Arts Director, Playwright & Critic.
Email: ej.peprahmensah@gmail.com

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E.L’s ‘Superhero’ becomes most streamed Ghanaian Hip-Hop song on Spotify with over 20M plays

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V.O. Nation frontman, E.L breaks Spotify’s streaming record for Ghanaian musicians today, clocking over 20,000,000+ streams for a song from years back that bizarrely flew under the radar to now become by far the highest streamed Ghanaian Hip-Hop song to date. (more…)

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Somali-Canadian Singer Amaal, Releases New Single “Heaven”

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Amaal releases her long-awaited follow up single “Heaven” across all major tv and radio stations in South Africa and her newly established fans are beaming in excitement! Having debuted her very first single “Honey” in South Africa a few months ago, Amaal took some time to express her gratitude to SA media for the love and support that she receives all the way in Canada.

Amaal’s new single keeps viewers mesmerized as they dive into the free and luscious mind of the singer-songwriter. Amaal will reveal more on her acts of feminine liberation, detailing her unapologetic inner thoughts that embrace intimacy and female autonomy on her highly-anticipated forthcoming EP, Milly, releasing October 28th.

Amaal’s first studio EP Black Dove made quite an impact in the Canadian music scene as she showcased her powerful intuition both musically and emotionally. “Not What I Thought” boasts 1.8 million views as Amaal sang her heart out in a gorgeous Iceland set music video directed by Sean Brown. “Amaal has mastered the art of pairing airy but commanding vocals with pulsing production,” The Fader explains.

The fourth of ten children, Amaal began her remarkable journey in war-torn Mogadishu, where she and her family lived until they were forced to flee as refugees in the early 1990s. Starting over fresh in Toronto, she embraced the poetic nature of her cultural heritage but bristled at the conservative structures and customs that came with it, particularly the repressive expectations placed upon women.

By the time she hit 20, Amaal had grown bold enough to begin making her own music, but she still felt limited as to what she could sing about, so she focused her creative energy on politically and socially conscious material inspired by the civil unrest in Somalia and the struggles her people faced as a result. It was powerful stuff, to be sure, but there was more to Amaal than being a refugee, and she longed to express the fullness of herself and her story in her art. In 2019, Amaal finally worked up the courage to step outside of her comfort zone with the release of Black Dove, a daringly vulnerable collection that found her reckoning with love and heartbreak and desire in her music for the very first time.

Though it felt incredibly risky, the EP was a critical smash, garnering a Juno nomination for Soul/R&B Recording of the Year, racking up millions of streams online, and prompting rave reviews across the board. Complex hailed Amaal’s “airy and ethereal vocals,” while Vibe proclaimed her a singer “like no other,” and Exclaim! dubbed her “an artist that demands attention.” Amaal’s sophomore EP, entitled Milly, will be released October 28, 2021.

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Music producer Alpha Bz releases ‘Togging’ featuring Koo Ntakra: Now Available on all major streaming platforms.

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Alpha Bz looks set to storm the music industry, especially in the West African market, with the release of his new single titled Togging. The song features Koo Ntakra, one of the best rappers in Ghana.

The Tune Click signee appears ready to treat his fans and lovers of music around the world to impactful songs as ‘Togging’ becomes available on all major streaming platforms from October 15, 2021.

Africa has grown over the decades to become a major force in the global music environment, with the continent exporting several talented singers, songwriters, and music producers to the international scene. Ghana has played a significant part in the multi-billion-dollar market, with the likes of Sarkodie, M.anifest, Medikal, FlowKing Stone, Joey B, Kwesi Arthur, and R2Bees, literally championing the rap game in the country. However, it seems to be the dawn of a new beginning, with the huge talent of Alpha Bz, a gifted music producer and sound engineer, considering the feat achieved in recent times. The talented music producer has built a reputation in the industry, working with the likes of Safoa and Nayo on the hit single When Money Dey.

Togging brings in a new dimension, with the artist, Koo Ntakra, proving his class with an amazing mix of entertaining yet thought-provoking lyrics on banging beats. Alpha Bz has described Koo Ntakra as the best rapper and he has unarguably delivered.

The highly anticipated single, which is now available on all major streaming platforms, has been gaining traction, with support from the media and lovers of good music. For more information about Togging and other works from Alpha Bz under the Tune Click management as well as other projects from the art and entertainment company, visit – www.tuneclick.live. Tune Click can also be found across several social media platforms, including Instagram and YouTube.

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AmaPiano hitmaker DBN Gogo joins Spotify’s Global EQUAL Music Programme

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DBN Gogo is the latest artist to join the Spotify EQUAL Music Programme as the EQUAL Africa artist of the month.

 

The programme, aimed at providing a platform to highlight women in music, sees Spotify welcoming the popular AmaPiano DJ as the first South African artist to join its growing roster of influential female creators, which includes Nigeria’s Tiwa Savage and US rapper Saweetie.

 

This announcement comes off the back of DBN Gogo’s appearance at  AMA Fest 2021. The UK-based festival successfully showcased the ‘best of AmaPiano’ to  fans, with DBN Gogo bringing her energy and signature dance moves to the global stage. 

 

“DBN Gogo has managed to dominate two spheres within the music industry traditionally driven by the opposite sex: DJing and AmaPiano. For us, putting our support behind DBN Gogo not only speaks to what we do under the EQUAL umbrella, but further drives the support we have continued to show the AmaPiano genre since it came to the fore,” says Phiona Okumu, Spotify Head of Music, Sub Saharan Africa.

 

DBN Gogo, who recently claimed a spot on the top 10 list of the most streamed artists by South African youth on Spotify, only recently began her professional DJing career and was catapulted to superstardom when the hits ‘Dakiwe’, ‘French Kiss’ and ‘Khuza Gogo’ blew up the local music scene alongside her #dakiwechallenge video, which amassed over three million TikTok views alone.

 

“Being a part of Spotify’s EQUAL Music Programme is a reminder that I do not need to apologise for being a powerful woman. I had a dream and realised that old ways don’t open new doors. So, I decided to make every moment count to ensure that I become everything I wanted,” adds DBN Gogo.

 

As the latest artist to join the EQUAL Music Programme, DBN Gogo will also grace Spotify’s Time Square billboard in New York and her latest track ‘Possible’ featuring Musa Keys, Dinho, Optimist Music ZA, Makhanj, Lebza TheVillain, Koek Sista, will lead the EQUAL Africa playlist and feature on the EQUAL Global playlist.

 

DBN Gogo also features on Spotify’s flagship AmaPiano playlist AmaPiano Grooves.

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Tomi Thomas Pushes Artistry to the Forefront with “Hopeless Romantic Riddim”

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Singing and playing guitar, Tomi Thomas lays down the foundation of the Hopeless Romantic Riddim dropping October 14th, 2021. The Nigerian artist released an EP of the same name earlier this year, featuring tracks spanning Afrobeat, dancehall, and reggae genres. The highly anticipated drop lived up to the hype with industry support and extensive press coverage in Africa, Europe, the United States, and the Caribbean, along with other pockets of global reach.

Tomi Thomas’ music has a heartbeat, and the Hopeless Romantic Riddim showcases yet another aspect of his repertoire. The seven-track Riddim compilation is an explosive instrumentally driven accompaniment to the songs. “Super blessed and excited about all the riddims, big love to all the amazing creatives who etched themselves into my story and journey. I am forever grateful we go higher in these exciting times,” he said. Tomi is also a visual artist with many exceptional talents and abilities. He created the cover art, and it expresses the project’s true nature as poetry in motion. The special project also features dancehall recording artist Stylo G, along with experimental Afro-R&B artist boistory.

Tracklisting

1. Hopeless Romantic

2. Come My Way by boistory

3. three thirty by Aleicia

4. On My Own by Ria Sean

5. Foreign Car by Karmah Cruz

6. Hopeless Romantic ft. Stylo G

7. Hopeless Romantic (Instrumental)

 

After releasing the Hopeless Romantic EP in early June, Tomi Thomas debuted the music video for “Hurricane,” a song from the project featuring Buju Banton on the Fader. The young star leads the modern African music scene with a genuine passion and appreciation for the arts. He continues to evolve and grow with every move, and his fanbase shows their love and support. The solo artist has found success on his own after time with popular musical group Loud On Sound (LOS) early in his career. In releasing his debut album, the single “Ready Or Not” reached #1 on the Soundcity Nigeria’s Top 10 Chart.

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Nutty O from Zimbabwe features Stonebwoy on “Mustard Seed” Album with HOT NEW Dancehall jam

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Nutty O is on his way inking his name in the major league as one of Africa’s finest with this latest album project titled “Mustard Seed”.

The Zimbabwean Reggae/Dancehall & Afrobeats Singjay — Nutty O — flawlessly put his ends together for this creative collective.

His 14-tracked Album is not just gonna be recorded as one of Africa’s timeless collections but a solid and clean lyric album that cuts across all spheres.

Released in September 2021, Nutty O serves a fine blend on multi-lingual album on “Mustard Seed”. He features Ghana’s Heavyweight Reggae/Dancehall artiste Stonebwoy on Track 12 on the album titled “Success”, which has scored as the people’s top favourite on Apple Music. The song is a danceable upbeat crossover Dancehall, Afrobeats & Soca song — it has been the DJs’ top favourite since its release, no wonder it records as the top favourite on Apple Music.

He records the album in English, Shona and Patois (Jamaican lingo).

Listen to the Album here on All Digital Stores: https://linktr.ee/nuttyo

He moves away from Ghana and steps into Jamaica to feature popular Musician/Producer, Demarco on another single “Ndiwe”, which translates as “It Is You”. The word “Ndiwe” is from his local dialect Shona, widely spoken in Zimbabwe— a good way of selling his mother tongue to the Caribbean market and the world over — he infuses a good amount of Shona in this song to defend his originality as well as some Patois in there to prove his versatility and fluidity in multiple Languages. “Ndiwe” is a love song that swoons the ladies and it’s another lovely jam on the Album.

Nutty O now moves back home to feature his fellow country Singer, Kae Chaps, from Zimbabwe. The seamless synergy between both acts accentuates the swooning message conveyed in “Be My Girl”, Track 6 on the Album.

“Open Doors”, Track 1 on the Album is an unmistakable one that keeps you ‘stoned’ from start to finish to keep listening to the 14-tracked Album.

“Mustard Seed” is an album you’d play over and over again and never get bored because it makes a lot of sense and fits into current trend of sounds as well as reflips back into the 90s and early 2000s Dancehall style. The entire album is a fine toast of Afrobeats, Dancehall, Reggae and Soca.

Follow Nutty O on his social media connects here below:

Facebook — Nutty O Di Bwoy

Instagram — @ABX_NuttyO

Twitter — @ABXNuttyO

He entered the music space professionally in 2013 but shot up into the limelight in 2014 hitting BBC 1Xtra Charts “Destination Africa” with his jam “Kwandabva Kure” at No.3.

In 2015 Nutty O began sharing the platforms with the big stars – he shared stage with Platinum selling Jamaican Act, Charly Black and also won the “Most Promising ZimDancehall Act”.

2016 was another stupendously amazing year for Nutty O when he debuted a UK Tour, featured with Chilando from Jamaica on “Don’t Be Rude”. In that year he got radio plug on popular Jamaican Radio Station Suncity 104.9fm. Then run a South African Tour in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

He spread his tentacles wider in 2017 and 2018 with more tours in UK, South Africa, Botswana and Australia respectively while copping lots of awards.

He scored a feature on Etana’s GRAMMY nominated Album “Reggae Forever” in 2019. Nutty O can boast of features cum collaborations with Etana, Ammara Brown, Stonebwoy, Demarco, just to name a few. He is due to storm Ghana soon for a media engagement.

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