An Afro-jazz festival dedicated to the memory of the late Ghanaian Afro-jazz supremo, Ghanaba will take place in Accra with musicians from Ghana, Nigeria, France and the United Kingdom.
Organized in Accra by Kofi Amoakohene’s Scratch Studios, Embassy of France and Alliance Francaise, the festival scheduled to happen from Saturday, May 4 to Friday, May 10, will embrace concerts, guitar master-class sessions and a vocal training workshop.
“The first person who publicly defined his music as Afro- jazz was Ghanaba, then known as Guy Warren, in 1956. So we should claim Afro-jazz for Ghana. One of the ways we can begin to do that is to let the world hear about this festival and know that Ghana is the home of Afro jazz,” says festival producer, Paa Kwesi Holdbrook-Smith.
Ghanaba would have been 90 years old on May 4 and that is why the festival kicks off on that day with a brass band procession from Nkrumah Circle in Accra through Osu to Alliance Francaise where the Men Cheers and Dzidudu bands would perform.
Young French guitarist, Thibault Cauvin will impart some of his knowledge and experience to a select group of Ghanaian guitarists at sessions slated for 9.00am to 3.00pm on May 6 and May 7.
The 27-year-old Parisian has shared his music with audiences at festivals and concerts in New York, Hong Kong, San Paolo, Istanbul, London, Melbourne, Singapore Tel-Aviv and other places.
He is regularly invited by conservatories, universities and festivals throughout the world to give master-classes, lectures or to judge competitions.
Ghanaian singer Bibie Brew, who lived and worked in France for many years, will also hold a voice training and psychology of performance workshop for singers from 9.00am to 1.00pm on May 7 at the New Morning Centre at Tesano.
“We invite all the vocal stars of this country to be there and learn some useful hints about effective performance from Bibie,” says Holdbrook-Smith.
A concert featuring Thibault Cauvin, Ghanaian guitarist Kyekyeku and other players, will be held at 8.00pm at the National Theatre on Wednesday, May 8.
The +233 Jazz Bar and Grill will host a night of blistering jazz music on Thursday, May 9. Artistes on the bill include Ghanaian saxophonist Dela Jackson and his Sahel Breeze Quartet, guitarist Kunle Ayo from Nigeria and trumpeter Paul Bilson from the UK.
There will be a feast of flute sounds from Ghana’s Dela Botri and Sabine Boyer from France at 8.00pm on Friday, May 10 at the Alliance Francaise. Dela is already well-known for his exploits on the Atenteben flute and it would be an exciting affair to hear how he gels with the concert flute of Sabine Boyer.
A photographic exhibition and film shows have been planned for later in the year as part of Ghanaba’s 90th birthday celebration.