I’ve been trying to leave Tamale in the north of Ghana all day, which leaves me with plenty of time to fill you in.
What do we know about the North of Ghana? It’s fairly isolated from the south, where both major cities sit: Accra the economic heart of the country, and Kumasi, center of the dominant Ashanti culture. Culturally the north is quite different, it’s a sahelian society, the climate is much drier, hotter, and the culture is much closer to what we saw in places like Mali.
Yet there is hardly any communication with the neighboring Sahelian – Francophone – countries. The north seems like such a cul-de-sac really: artificially landlocked from neighboring Francophone countries (Burkina mostly, with Togo and Cote d’Ivoire on each side), and politely ignored for the most part from the more afluent and populous south.
That explains how isolated the culture – and music – have remained. King Ayisoba is probably the most famous voice coming from the region, although to most readers he’s probably still a complete unknown. Look up his music on myspace or iTunes, Ayisoba has an incredible voice, but will leave you thinking he has two or three!
Besides Ayisoba, whom we’ll get back to soon, there is almost no structure in place for music. Musicians stick to the traditional circuit, mostly playing for funerals and weddings, sometim. That’s for the traditional musicians, for the home studio generation there are almost no shows, no bars to play at. So not much of an industry.
Yet – and you saw this coming – TONS OF RAW TALENT. We’ve got beautiful videos which our connection won’t really allow us to post just yett, but check in soon for more.