Rock bands can be really awesome, if you’re into that sort of thing, that is. I prefer a slightly watered down version, that’s why I would take alternative rock and soft rock over hard core heavy metal any day. But God in his infinite wisdom created us all very differently and as such every ear has it’s musical inclinations. For instance, I can’t imagine a bunch of hard core Biker Boys grooving to a Ghanaian Gospel track by Ohemaa Mercy (no matter how loud she bellows out her notes she won’t reach rock band status), or a song by Agya Koo Nimo (what category does his music fall under again?) let alone hiplife. In much the same way, I can’t see my grandmum rocking to sounds of Metallica or Pink Floyd.
So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking (as always), analyzing and pondering over the various reasons why one thing may fly in this airspace and plummet in another. I narrowed my mental monologue to rock music and reasons why it would never fly in Ghana. Here are a few:
- Crowd surfing. Ghanaians don’t quite get the concept of crowd surfing? Imagine being at the National Theatre or the Accra Sports Stadium and having someone like Tic Tac suddenly jump into the crowd of people. There are two possible outcomes; a) The crowd parts way and he lands painfully on the bare ground or b) the crowd sort of catch him and by the time he is halfway through his “fans”, he is stripped of any valuable item on him save his boxers. Items stolen will include his bling bling belt, bling bling watch, sneakers, baseball cap, t-shirt etc.
- The Gothic Look. You see, to be a veritable rock band, you must have a certain look. For rock bands, the Gothic look is what it is all about. We’re talking fully blown black make-up, black nail polish, black eye-shadow, rings through the nose and out the ear, eye-lid piercings and anywhere possible…the list is endless. In Ghana, this look would be considered demonic and you’ll have the entire nation holding national prayers against you. So obviously, that’s a definite no-no.
- Expensive Stage Theatrics. Most successful rock bands, usually destroy their guitar or microphone after every performance. It’s all in the act. In Ghana, we can’t even afford to hire the best DJs (spinners) in town, even hiring instruments for the show requires us to dig deep into our very shallow pockets. While we struggle with the air-conditioning and basic lighting at our event locations, bands like Pink Floyd utilize burning gongs and crashing airplanes as part of their stage show. Now, be honest with yourself, which of our theatres do you see that happening?
- No chorus. Usually the structure of rock music avoids the popular music structure of choruses after each verse. Now we all know that for the everyday Ghana-man, you’ve got to have a catchy chorus to have a hit song. Otherwise you’re not going anywhere with your music! Your situation is powerless even with large sums of payola. Ask Praye or Wutah, they’ll tell you.
- Who is going to produce you? For a music genre that would require actual instruments to be played, this might pose a problem for both our musicians and producers. Now, I’m not sure if Apietus, JQ, Bandex or even Mike Okraku Mantey would like to produce a rock band in Ghana? It’s a complete waste of time for all the above mentioned reasons!
- Musical Talent. To have a rock band, you need to actually play a musical instrument. Even the lead singer would have to play at least the guitar. Do we have that in Ghana? Huh? Do we? Can Kwaw Kese string two or three musical chords together to produce a melodic tune all by himself? Does he even know an octave from an octopus?
- Climate Challenge. The prescribed attire is usually ALL BLACK. Evidently, with all the heat and humidity in Ghana, that will be a challenge that would require a national concerted effort.
- Till Death Do You Part. Lastly, rock bands usually stick together forever, but with the very predictable resume of hiplife groups falling apart after one or two hits, keeping a band together for 10-20years would be utterly impossible! Lumba Brothers, Buk Bak and very recently, Wutah are just a few examples.