Alfred P. Addaquay: The Classic musician of our time
Bachelor of Music. MPhil in Music Theory and Composition and currently pursuing a PhD in same. A protégé of one of greatest musicologist of our time, Prof. Emeritus J.H Nketiah. He is a keyboardist, composer, arranger, conductor and choral director.
If there is a man that lives and loves music, he definitely has to be called Alfred Patrick Addaquay.
I have seen like a thousand and one people, both local and foreign, display all manner of dexterity behind the black and white keys. But when I saw Addaquay play, something about him got me hooked to his talent. His is more than passion, something far exceeding.
In the early 90s, a young Addaquay barely in his teens was introduced to the black and white keys, and that sealed the marriage which has since gone from strength to strength. I have seen so many videos of Addaquay but the one that really caught my attention was one he played the Felix Mendelssohn’s famous wedding march from "A Midsummer Night's Dream".
Having watched that video, I took to social media and got his contact and got in touch, and we scheduled a meet up.
Addaquay is a 32-year old classical musician who plays anything from Beethoven, Mozart, Mendehlssohn, Bach, Chopin and from our own Ephraim Amu, Prof. J.H. Nketiah, just to mention a few of the very familiar names in that genre of music.
As a young student of music back in his days at Mfanstsipim School, he found classical music to have this je ne sais quoi and that got him hooked on and his life has literally not been the same. But how come a musician like this is largely not seen in the mainstream Ghanaian music space, I asked him.
Perhaps, it is because of the genre of music he does, he responded wearing that classic smile of his. Here is a man who has played in almost all the mega churches in Ghana from Lighthouse to Central Gospel Church, Action Chapel, Royal House Chapel and so many others. He has performed at countless of corporate events, too.
“Honestly, I have lost count. See, there are weeks that I have to play from Monday to Sunday and I have to even kind of turn some gigs down because obviously I cannot be at two places at the same time, much as I would love to,” he confessed.
As a musician, Addaquay has a couple of albums be it with Tema Youth Choir and performed with the Winneba Youth Choir but he maintains that he loves performing for live audience rather than recording his works.
“I am a performing artiste and I have come to realise that when people watch me perform, they get more immersed in what I do rather than when they just listen to me. So, yes, I love to perform where I get to thrill my audience,” he says.
In an era where other genres of music such hip life, contemporary highlife, afro-pop etc seems to dominate the airwaves, Addaquay tells me that Classical music is a big catch for a good number of people and at least he has made some fall in love with that genre having watched him play.
“You see, as a musician, you have got to know your audience and serve them what they want. So far that’s what I have been able to do. Of course there are some people who thought of classical music as being this old boring kind of music but they changed that perception after seeing me play,” he says spotting a grin that displays his contentment.
Having tried to recall some of the biggest audience to have watched him play among others, I enquire from him what his proudest moment has been. “Well, I can say there have quite a good number of them but the best of them was when I wrote an Oratorio.”
Basically an oratorio is a musical composition for orchestra, choir, and soloists. The best example that comes to mind is the popular Hallelujah chorus from the Messiah, composed by George Friedrich Händel.
He achieved this feat in the early 2000s and till now, he remains the only Ghanaian to have written an oratorio and among a few within the whole of Africa. Indeed, it is never a mean achievement and he’s had a number of recognitions for this feat.
According to him, as a PhD student of music, he wants every musician to first understand their audience before they even hit the studio. Musicians who know their audience are always bound to make it in the industry whereas those who don’t, much as may be producing good works, may not click with their audience.
I may not have seen Prof. J.H Nketiah, now 96 years, perform in his prime but I think this generation is fortunate to have the man, considered Africa's premier musicologist, live his life through the immensely talented Addaquay, the one-man orchestra.
“You know, Prof. Nketiah, is my patron. He has seen almost all my shows and we are very close. He once remarked after one of my shows that he has not seen anyone perform like I do in the whole of West Africa,” he recount amidst smiles.
Those who have known him since he started his music career often say, Addaquay has no blood running through his veins rather music and in rare times when he’s seen quarrelling, his voice is like musical notes, so pleasing to the ear that people would typically try get on his nerves so he could release those notes.
Alfred Patrick Addaquay, watch him play and thank me later.