We are in a car right now, stuck in Tema, right outside of Accra, in a pretty bad traffic jam. Good thing the tape player works, we’re listening to some gospel highlife, it makes the sun and gasoline fumes feel like a breeze… Well, almost anyway.
We’re headed to Lome to cover some of the Togolese 50th independence events, and to meet a few cats there, artists and radio guys. Togo is really not on the map at all, so we’re quite curious to find out what’s hiding there.
The road is only 3 hours from Accra to Lome, plus the past hour stuck in traffic in Tema. But hopefully we make it before dark, it would make it easier to walk across the border with the film equipment and other “obruni” (white man) apparati we’re carrying with us!!
Who’s “we” you may wonder… Ryan Lash, photographer and videographer, and myself, Benjamin Lebrave. We left Panji, Ananse and the rest of the crew in Accra. Ananse (Spider in twi) has been great, both helping us meet with artists, and laugh throughout the process. He’s a natural born comedian, we’ll post some videos of him as soon as we can.
Sorry for the lack of photos, sounds and videos: for the time being I’ve relied almost exclusively on my phone for email, which doesn’t allow me to post anything besides text. If any phone manufacturer wants to sponsor our next trip with a more advanced device, we’re down!
Music… Today we met with Pat Thomas, a legendary highlife musician, who shared his life story with us, from his early beginnings in Takoradi about 40 years ago (!) to the golden era of the late 70s, when highlife musicians often played several clubs during the same night! Highlife carries on today in Ghana, although it is quite discreet in comparison with hiplife. Highlife has basically been absorbed by the churches, the only entities able to fund live music performances. For better or for worse…