Ghana Music Week Festival ​launches ​in Washington D.C. and Mount Vernon​, New York

MUSIGHA president Obuor with microphone awards George Bright-Abu_Editor of Afrikan Post newspaper in Grey Suit with Ambassador Smith_Second from left and others looking on
MUSIGHA president Obuor (with microphone) awards George Bright-Abu, Editor of Afrikan Post newspaper (gray suit) with Ambassador Smith (second from left) and others looking on.

On Friday October 1​6​, the Embassy of Ghana in Washington D.C​. played host to the North American press launch of the 2016 Ghana Music Week Festival; an annual Music Festival ​h​eld in Ghana to Celebrate Ghanaian Music, one of Africa’s thriving music industries.

Ghana Music Week Festival aims to create awareness for and about Ghanaian music and musicians while promoting Ghanaian tourism and culture.

His Excellency Lieutenant Joseph Henry Smith, Ghana’s Ambassador to the U.S., in his welcome address to the musicians and guests at the Embassy, touted Ghana’s achievement in the global community and music industry over the decades.

Ambassador Smith urged Ghanaians in the diaspora to contribute positively to the development of Ghana through their God given talents and endowments. He also praised musicians for using their talents to lift the banner of Ghana on the international scene.​​

Ambassador Smith (second to the left) presents award to contributors to Ghana Music Week festival
Ambassador Smith (second to the left) presents award to contributors to Ghana Music Week festival.

The Ambassador used the press launch to also introduce the newly crowned Miss Ghana Tourism USA Ms. Whitney Osei to the community and persons in attendance. Ghanaian veteran musician A.B Crentsil treated the audience to some of his old collections as the Apple68​​fm band from Triangle, Virginia, ​played.

President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGHA) Bice Osei Kuffour, known in show biz as Obuor, encouraged Ghanaians in the American Diaspora and beyond to travel home to participate in the week long activities of the festival.

Ambassador Smith urged Ghanaians in the diaspora to contribute positively to the development of Ghana through their God given talents and endowments. He also praised musicians for using their talents to lift the banner of Ghana on the international scene.​​

In an effort to encourage international participation, the MUSIGHA president said “South African Airways would be giving a booster to travelers’ package by offering reduced airfares.” He entreated Ghanaians music and cultural enthusiasts in the diaspora to take advantage of this deal.

Rocky Dawuni speaking at Ghana Music Week Press Launch in Washington DC
Rocky Dawuni speaking at Ghana Music Week Press Launch in Washington, D.C.

Also present at the event was acclaimed Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni who read a speech on behalf of Ghana’s Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Elizabeth Ofosu-Adjare. Rocky, who spoke to this writer in an interview, expressed his excitement about the upcoming 2016 event and asked all musicians of Ghanaian and African origin ​globally​ to lend a hand to ensuring ​its success.

The 2016 Ghana Music Week festival would be a week-long music festival held at various venues in Ghana, scheduled to begin during the first week of March 2016 as a prelude to the annual independence celebration to mark Ghana’s attainment of sovereignty from British Colonial rule on March 6, 1958. As the festival would coincide with Ghana’s 59th birthday, 59 artists would perform till day break in the independence day concert which would feature local and international music talents of varied musical genres.

Rock Dawuni left, Ambassador Smith middle with his wife to right being reverent during prayer by Papa Shee
Rock Dawuni (l), Ambassador Smith with his wife during prayer by Papa Shee

As part of the launch,  MUSIGHA awarded individuals for their contributions to the promotion of Arts and Culture in Ghana and ​the U.S. These included the Editor and Publisher of the Afrikan Post George Bright-Abu, who prior to this award was recently honored by the Asante Kotoko Association with the Akatakyie Award for his exemplary media work in the United States.

Also awarded w​ere​ Mr. and Mrs. Agyekum of New Millennium Health Care in Columbus, Ohio, which have in the past invited more than 20 Ghanaian musicians to perform at events in the United States.

Dr. Brown of Sahara restaurant was recognized for his contributions to Ghanaian culture in the United States. Mr. Cobina Lartson, the brain behind AfrikMall in De​n​ver, Colorado, was also honored. AfrikMall is a place where Africans living in Colorado can call home, providing a range of business services, as well as cultural, community and social opportunities and events.

Chief organizer of the ​Ghana Music Week ​festival, ​which is entering its third year,​ is ​MUSIGHA ​and Ghana’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts. A crew of Ghanaian musicians that traveled with MUSIGHA traveled to Mount Vernon City Hall in Roosevelt Square, New York, the following day October 17, for a performance at the official launch in the United States.

Some of the artists were Edem, Pappy Kojo, Gasmilla, Joey B, D-Black, Daddy Bosco, Becca, E.L., and among many other celebrated Ghanaian acts​ ​Papa Shee, a Ghanaian secular musician now turned gospel evangelist who offered the opening and closing prayer a​t​ the D.C. press launch.

 

Oral Ofori is Founder of TheAfricanDream LLC; an Information and Communication Consultancy on African Affairs

Thanks to Oral Ofori, TheAfricanDream and Afrikan Post​ for sharing this article and story and photos with us.