May 25 was Africa Day, a day to celebrate the African Union and its spirit of fostering unity on the continent. I originally planned to pick some of the latest music videos from the continent to share with readers as a symbol of celebrating that cause. In fact the day was marked as a public holiday in Ghana but as I found out from most of my friends in other African countries, the day was just another day in their country and some were completely unaware of such as celebration. So in view of that I decided to pick two new videos from Ghana only.
My first choice comes from Ghanaian international rapper, M.anifest perhaps because of what the song represents. “You’ve never known joy if you’ve never had to suffer” is the truism M.anifest belts out on in the chorus of his latest single, “Suffer.” The song gives voice to the daily trials and tribulations of the kayayo, taxi drivers, musicians and other regular Ghanaians. The stories are interwoven into a witty personalized narrative over melodic and heavy thumping production provided by producer, Budo. “Suffer’s” appeal was recognized when BBC’s World Service recently played it on its Network Africa program.httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjaZ66wssa0
Storytelling is M.anifest’s unquestioned gift. With a rare ability to effortlessly meld transnational experiences into accessible yet highly lyrical songs over African inspired rhythms. “Suffer” which will be featured on his September 2011 sophomore release, “Immigrant Chronicles,” epitomizes this ability.
It has been four years since M.anifest’s critically acclaimed independent debut “manifestations” which earned him the “songwriter of the year” award in the City Pages and Top 5 album mentions in the Star Tribune amongst many others. In between he’s kept busy with other projects (the birds and the beats, A.R.M’s ” 2 Africans and a Jew) and raising his profile doing high visibility shows: Including Africa Express shows in France and Spain that had him collaborating on stage with music giants such as Damon Albarn (Gorillaz/Blur), Femi Kuti, Amadou & Miriam, Tony Allen, Mick Jones (The Clash), the Noisettes and many more. He is currently one of three artists being featured in a documentary, “We Rock Long Distance,” which partly focuses on the MC and his connection with his grandfather, Prof J.H. Nketia: the revered African composer and ethnomusicologist. “Suffer” is a great peek into what we can expect from M.anifest on his upcoming album.”
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1UIEGdoQjk My second pick comes from Canada based Ghanaian, Kae Sun. “When The Pot” is taken from his upcoming unplugged EP “Outside The Barcode”. Kae Sun is planning to release the all acoustic EP for free via www.kaesunmusic.com