Chris Koney’s column: a night to remember with award-winning pianist Enrique Bagaría!

Chris Koney’s column: a night to remember with award-winning pianist Enrique Bagaría!

In the world of musical instruments, the piano is king! No instrument, with maybe the exception of the human voice, has had more impact on western music than the piano. The piano managed to work its way into nearly every household by the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century.

Before the advent of radio, according to music connoisseurs, the piano was the central entertainment piece of nearly every house in the developed world. The same reasons people love the piano today are the same reasons people loved the piano 100 years ago. It was a calm Thursday night, June 9, 2022, when I made my way to the National Theatre after early dinner with my ‘partner in crime’, the multi-talented audio – visual production expert, Alice Senam, at Zen Garden located in Labone, Accra.

We were going for a concert dubbed: ‘Night of Dreams’ organised by the Embassy of Spain in Ghana in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. I did not have any expectations like Senam as we drove through the unusually quiet streets of the national capital, knowing very well piano and Symphony was not our thing.

We got to the venue and were cleared by Paa Kwasi Konadu of the Spanish Embassy before Javier Gutiérrez, the Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, welcomed us at the entrance. We proceeded into the foyer for cocktails where we fraternised and shared pleasantries with some known faces.

The gates to the auditorium were opened after about thirty minutes, and one after the other, the smartly dressed ushers invited the guests to take up their seats for the ‘Night of Dreams’ and for me, the night of the unknown to commence.

The Master of Ceremony for the night was the bubbly Johnnie Hughes of the Media General Group. Customary of Johnnie, a music lover and a musician himself, he got the night started in a beautiful manner with a very inspiring introduction. The dignitaries were introduced and one after the other, the key guests and speakers were called on to the stage to deliver their speeches, which followed with their expectations for the night.

On his part, the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, indicated that the concert – ‘Night of Dreams’ – is part of the ministry’s cultural diplomacy with the aim of bringing Spanish and Ghanaian societies closer together through arts and culture.

According to Javier Gutiérrez, the concert had several significance in the bilateral relations between the two countries, Ghana and Spain, with a goal to have the audience disconnect from their daily lives, their problems and concerns, and simply be transported to unknown and magical territories where their dreams can come true through music and dance.

Soon, the main spectacle of the night was to kick-start in splendour amid the magnificent venue setting. The man of the night, Enrique Bagaría, would make a grand entry to a cheering audience that would not stop applauding. Interestingly, I was almost in the spirit and before I could realise I was on my feet clapping my hands for the great Enrique Bagaría. The piano master was at work and at his usual best as promised by the organisers prior to the event.

Enrique Bagaría had managed to set the entire National Theatre on fire with his amazing solo performance with joy and excitement written all over the faces of the audience. You cannot take anything away from the multiple award-winning pianist, but rather fall in love with his superb performance. This was taken a notch higher when he was joined by the National Symphony Orchestra to do a masterpiece. There was this enviable cohesion displayed between Enrique Bagaría and the National Symphony Orchestra. The connection and chemistry was excellent.

It was time to take the audience on a journey through Spanish, Ghanaian and European classical music fusion with a solo performance by the Great Africa Heritage Dance Ensemble – a group that aims to portray African tradition to the world through music and dance.

They were joined by Enrique Bagaría for a great collaborative performance which was greeted with another round of applause by the audience.  As if that was not enough for the night, Enrique Bagaría went on to do a joint performance with the Friends of Music Africa Choir. What a reaction from the audience, it wasn’t hard to tell the delight on the part of the audience.

A night which had started rather slow and not knowing how it was going to go end turns out to be one of my best concert nights in recent times. In fact, Enrique Bagaría brought the fun and got everyone to enjoy the night.  He came, he saw, and conquered in a grand fashion, receiving a standing ovation at the end of it all.


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