The joy of music overdose: OK Stripped!…Couldn’t have been better!

May 5, 2017
Source: Richard Annerquaye Abbey l l Ghana
The joy of music overdose: OK Stripped!…Couldn’t have been better!

Legend has it that the person that confessed, “music is food for the soul”, was intoxicated by some live band music probably brewed in Ghana. Not quite sure which band or singer that person that good old philosopher was listening to. Well, never mind.

Last Friday at +233 Jazz Bar and Grill, what a lovely night that was. Okyeame Kwame, the self-styled rap doctor, assembled some assassins skilled in the art of music to partake in his much hyped ‘OK Stripped’ show. For starters, the night was billed to be filled with music, comedy and spoken word.

It was 2100hrs when I got to the venue. But about 500 metres from the venue or so, one could feel the music reverberate into the stillness of the night. Okyeame Kwame was behind the mic, and the Patch Bay Band was also doing their own thing.

Never an infinitesimal privilege to have such performance welcomes you to an event. It gives you 110 emotions and makes you feel Presidential. Catch the drift? I took my seat about 15 metres from the stage in order to make sure no detail of the event was ever lost on me. Never.

Frankly, that I love live band music and I have never heard the Patch Band play was like an assault on my credentials. Okyeame Kwame, spotting an afrochic, whatever that means, shirt and pair of yellow shorts with spotless white Nike denim, was doing what he knows best.

From one song to the other. Anaa, Faithful, Small Small and I was quite sure I heard him sing Saucing, his latest masterpiece. Well too much good music can cause forgetfulness, sometimes, because you let yourself go and wander like you’re in a state of trance.

One thing that clearly distinguishes Okyeame Kwame from other musicians is not the passion, talent or stagecraft. Rather his understanding of show business and how he marries his profession with his passion. I thought I was enjoying myself but Okyeame Kwame was on stage singing and enjoying himself more than his patrons. That’s the rap doctor for you.

From the days of Akyeame in the late 90s, Okyeame Kwame has truly worked his way up. And listening to him live that day made me appreciate the more the hard work that goes into his music. I even got the impression that anything apart live music does not do him justice.

His is music, poetry and a well-rehearsed stagecraft. Going with the audience when it matters most. A professional musician he is. The highlight of the night for me was when in the middle of his performance the power on the stage tripped. Black out. Surely this was not planned.

He turned to face the band as if to ask what was going on then suddenly he decided to carry on with his performance only backed by drums from the band. It happened too quickly. He never missed a key even with this setback and audience cheered him on as he performed as if possessed.

Power was restored and the band just flowed seamlessly into the performance as if nothing really happened. It was beautiful. I know musicians who would have cursed the organisers and probably abandon the show.

But not Okyeame Kwame. Power restored and he beckoned MzVee, another artiste billed for the night to join him on stage. The Natural Girl hit singer possesses exceptional vocal prowess and complemented OK as they performed Small Small. The harmony between the two was perfect.

Then Okyeame Kwame handed over the initiative to MzVee fully to do her thing. In a country when most dancehall artistes get away with miming, I should be forgiven for thinking daavi falls within that bracket.

Not even about the four inches or so high heels she wore on stage prevented her from stomping and running berserk on stage. That truly was some talent that I won’t mind spending my last pesewa on. Good vocalist and great performer!

As for the comedy bit, I am not sure whether to classify Foster Romanus as a singer or comedian. Either way you look at, dude is exceptional. He mimics musicians so well. Whether their stage craft or their vocal abilities, he does it to perfection and at the same time brings his wits to it making you even forget that he’s comedian.

But Foster is truly the definition of comedy in Ghana. In fact he is truly the head and tail of GH comedy and we need to celebrate such talents while they flew high. Dude was on stage and in one breath you cannot tell if he was Samini, Sarkodie or Stonebwoy or perhaps he was Sakorbwoy. Super talent by a mile.

Then there was Adina. Not A-die-na. Adina Thembi Ndamse, the multiple VGMA winner. She was as good as she can be on the night as his manager, Kwame Faakye of Atlantis Radio fame, kept a watchful eye on his talent.

The former Stars of the Future winner is blossoming into an exceptional talent prompting comparison with Efya. But anytime I close my eyes and listen to her, I see more of Becca in her than Efya, perhaps she’s a blend but slightly containing more Becca than Efya. But to be able to combine the two means that she would have to work hard to reach the heights of these great female vocalists.

I saw two other relatively unknown musicians perform on the night. KiDi and Kuami Eugene. Firstly, KiDi. He has stagecraft, strong vocals and great personality. Give him a good songwriter and we are definitely talking about the next big thing in Ghana. Remember, a good songwriter and tell him to keep his feet on the ground.

As for Kuami Eugene who won the Unsung Artiste at the VGMAs, it is more about keeping his feet on the ground and pushing harder. He was good on the night. And these two artistes can do with mentoring from OK. They should just allow him to.

As for Kwabena Kwabena, I seriously don’t want to go into his performance on the night. He’s like a veteran of live band and should I decide to go into his performance I would be playing into his territory and I will be found wanting.

Let me just use one word that fits him best on the night: vintage. And Wiyaala too. Full of energy and makes you feel like some wimp. Super star performance. And oh I won’t mention what she did on stage to OK; the lap dance et al. Nah, Annica (OK’s wife) will get mad at me.

I surely don’t know when the next OK Stripped show will be. But I count on a Good Samaritan to give me heads up. Then I will recommend to the Minister of Health to allow some of the patients in these psychiatric hospitals to be allowed free access to the show which by far is medicinal and therapeutic.

And the second thing will be, I will go to the show enjoy myself and not write any review. It is better when you let yourself go and enjoy yourself rather having a constant jolt into reality by the fact that you would have to produce not less than a 1,000-word review about your experience – just kidding.

But to every patron that was at +233 Jazz Bar and Grill, it was money well spent!