When British smooth jazz keyboardist, producer and composer, Oli Silk asked Ghanaians to support live music, I felt guilty. Although I have promoted a few jazz and live band music events on my blog in the past, I have not been physically present at most of such events like I do with the ‘mainstream music’ events. Well, the Stanbic Ghana Jazz festival was my awakening and I enjoyed the soothing smooth music that truly cut across cultures, genres, age groups and social status.
I attended the second and final day of the festival held at the Labadi Beach Hotel, on Saturday. The show opened with eclectic Ghanaian afropop sensation, Wiyaala; then came some more warm-ups from Ackah Blay and Abiza Band, who backed all performers on the night. Ackah Blay and Abiza Band performed several African harmony laced songs with interesting names such as Atsieke, Corndough, Showa in Adisa Ababa and even Michael Jackson’s ‘Human Nature’.
Ghana’s soulful jazz singer, Ofie Kodjoe then took to the stage for her set, which was more of vocal performances. She mixed and jazzed things up with some soul, pop and reggae, performing her own songs as well as her rendition of songs from other artists. She performed songs such as Skyhigh, When I Found You, Wait In Vain, and Peace and Love. After her set Ofie came back to ‘duet’ with Oli Silk and Peter White on their individual sets.
Oli Silk proved why he is referred to as ‘the razor sharp Brit’ on the keyboard when he performed tracks such as Didn’t Know About Love, The Limit Is The Sky, Easy Does It, and Latin Haze. His dexterity on the keyboard, his sense of humour and delivery simply charmed his audience.
The headliner for the festival, Peter White climaxed the show with his energetic performance. Although his music was new to me, it didn’t prevent me from swaying to the rhythms and melody – the power of music. He pulled in Oli Silk and Ofie Kodjo for his set at different times and all together, produced great vibes for guests on the night. He performed songs like Are You Mine, Venus Beach, How Deep Is Your Love, She’s In Love, and Just Another Day. He also performed Osibisa’s ‘Sunshine Day’ which seemed to be a crowd favourite in Ghana.
Being my first real experience of a jazz festival, the Stanbic Ghana Jazz festival surely exceeded my expectations and judging by the standing ovation from guests, I can say it was a massive success. Let’s see what next year’s edition will bring!!!! The festival is a collaboration act involving Stanbic Ghana, Smooth Jazz Ghana and Live FM.