Literary Events to Top December Holidays in Ghana

The year has been long, but 2015 is definitely ending and there is nothing we can do to stop it. So we are elated to catalogue these events starting from tonight with the EHALAKASA Slam Finale at the Nubuke Foundation, East Legon, 7pm.

Of course throughout this period, the Writers Project on Citi fm will be live on 97.3fm and online at http://www.citifmonline.com

Nana Awere Damoah and Kofi Akpabli will be at PaJohn’s tomorrow, 28th December, 2015, evening from 5pm for a serenading public reading to top the literary year in Ghana. (Photo attached).

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After reading with Nana Awere Damoah & Kofi Akpabli tomorrow, what a way to begin 2016 with ROOTS by the Sasa Movement on 3rd January, 2016, from 5pm. (See photo below).

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Meanwhile, tonight on the Writers Project on Citi 97.3 fm, the producers will open the phone lines for you to talk to us about your literary year! And your expectations for 2016. The phone numbers will be announced during the show. The WhatsApp line is 0549986996. The show airs between 8.30 and 9.30pm each Sunday. Listen live on radio and online at http://www.citifmonline.com.

Follow the show also on Twitter and Instagram at @writersPG and Facebook at “Writers Project on Citi fm”.

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Vocal Portraits II: Kente Locution Released!

When Vocal Portrait I was released, it was the cover design that appealed to most people before they were able to listen to the multiverse from a plethora of Ghanaian poets, as well us two Europeans and one African American.

Vocal Portraits I. Credit: Ian Quhachi

Spotting what looked at first like tossed colours from the brush of a painter, the impressive cover credit goes to one Ian Quahchi.

The eclectic collection of poems featured Michael Somuah Jesse, Edith Ndabi, Laud de Poet, Mariska Taylor Darko, Rhymesonny, Jude Edze, Yom_Writer_Poet, Kwaku Rap, Chief Moomen, Shark Mellon; and the guy who put it all together, Kwame Write. The two European poets were Aqua Stuzenaite and Anastasia Karklina; and the African American poet, Tiffany Howard. The collection had 20 poems on it.

The latest collection, titled Vocal Portraits II, continues in the tradition of the first: painting the Ghanaian landscape with the voices of some of its most forceful young men and women. Whether it is the elusive and intransigent voice of Poetra Ama Asantewa, or the mad rantings of Jahwi, or the lyrical pace of Akwapim Twi from Achibold Acheampong; or is it the cunning sense of the Ghanaian-Malagasy poet Crystal Tettey or the playfulness of Kojo Deynoo? Vocal Portraits II will surely make its mark as it weaves around the kente like it is supposed to. Nii Ayi Solomon, Afurakan, Lauren Goodwin, Mizan the Poet, Kwame Write, Sedi, Uniq Sistar, Sailor, Eden all make their mark.

Design by Cecile Johanet. On Twitter: @cecilejohanet

Copies will be available at Koala in Osu and at Silverbirds as well. Some of the poems will also be uploaded to online platforms soon; but, rest assured, you can grab your copy at any of the many many poetry shows around town, from EHALAKASA at the Nubuke Foundation to RainMakers at Cafe Dez Amis.

The Spoken Word scene in Ghana has grown steadily over the past 8 years, alongside the mainstream poetry and other literary events. A great feature of spoken word poetry in Ghana is the emergence of recorded poetry (oftentimes with musical accompaniment). From the earliest times of Nii Lantey’s poetry CD to the single recorded spoken word from Mutombo, Mamacita among others, the form has taken shape.

Certainly, none of this would have been possible without the work of many writers who kept the faintest flame alive during the dark times of poetry in Ghana. Open Air Theatre, the Sunday weekly writers programme on Citi FM, created the platform for the earliest of the Spoken Word artists. Then finding a space at the Nubuke Foundation from around 2009-2010 was groundbreaking. If for nothing at all, more spaces must be created nationwide. No one group should feel crowded out. And if that feeling creeps in, you do what writers do: create. Perhaps it is time to interrogate the quality of work and to direct efforts at improving it. Here is to Vocal Portraits II!

Interview with Poetra Ama Asantewaa

Poetra (a name culled from poetry) Ama Asantewaa belongs to a a class of emerging poets whose style little has been documented of in academic circles, yet pervades the impressive literary scene in Accra specifically, and Ghana in general. She is known for her straight-language and “in-your-face” social commentary that so forms the basis of her poetry.

In the past few months, Ama Asantewaa has been working on her fashion line called Alikoto Clothing, which in part tosses the bow-tie on top of indigenous Ghanaian fabric, creating an urban design that is both very Ghanaian and exotic at once.

alikoto white

When we received an email from her concerning her latest project, Jill of All Trade, from 1 – 12 July 2013, we thought we might as well broaden the scope and catch up with the fiercely charming  poet.

Creative Writing Ghana: Let’s start off with a summary of what you have been up to recently on the literary scene in Ghana

Poetra Ama Asantewaa: In summary, I’ve been underground. Not so much in the light of the media. I led a poetry workshop that was organized by Inside the Moskito Net in the foreign language department of the University of Ghana, performed at a few poetry events, and currently working on two scripts

CWG: When did you start Alikoto? We know it is a clothing line, why did you do it?

PAA: Alikoto started 2 years ago. My mother has been sewing for over 40 years, everything I know, I learnt from her. I was always sketching designs, threading needles and sewing shoddy versions of my sketches around the house. So it came as no surprise when I started a clothing line of my own.

CWG: We know you as a poet. We also know that many poets in Ghana indulge in other day jobs. But clothing/fashion? Really unheard of. Any comments?

PAA: My official day job is as a Networks and Systems Admin. I juggle that with poetry and fashion. I get less sleep and rest, but each of them is like babies, I can’t starve any of them. The satisfaction they each bring me is worthwhile.

CWG: This event that is coming up, what are the details?

PAA: Jill of All Trades is the name of the event, inspired by the current bowtie collection (which is also called Jill Of All Trades).  It is an event to celebrate women who are challenging the status quo and doing more than one activity (their individual interests) and doing each of them successfully. The event will run online and on a tv screen near you in ten days; with each day revealing a Jill Of All Trade, their journey, challenges and triumphs. There will be a networking event on the 20th of July at Taverna Tropicana to bring together people from all professions, to interact, network, share ideas and enjoy some music and poetry

CWG: You say it is for women doing more than one job/activity and doing each successfully; you are talking about yourself right and others like you?

PAA: Yes. More about others like me, than myself.

CWG: Should the men come? We know many men who run more than a single job and do it successfully.

PAA: Yes! Yes! The men are invited! Come in your numbers. We’re celebrating the women for now, but your time will come J

CWG: Any poetry event planned for the year?

There will be poetry and music on the 20th! There will also be a major event in the latter part of the year, details will be communicated once planning is fully done.

NB: entry to the networking event is by ticket, call 0269138921 for yours.

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Ghanaian-Malagasy Poet Crystal Tettey Launches Album

Ghanaian and Malagasy Poet, Spoken Word artist and singer, Crystal Tettey, will be launching her first album titled “Faith, MadaGhana” on 6 July 2013, at Café de la Gare in Antananarivo, Madagascar.

Speaking exclusively to Creative Writing Ghana, the Spoken Word dynamo revealed that the recording, which is a 15-track album, comprises Spoken Word and soul/folk music performed in English, French and Malagasy. Half the album was recorded in a live acoustic environment. One half of the album was recorded in Ghana, and the other in Madagascar.

Crystal (centre) performing on stage accompanied by two guitarists.

Crystal (centre) performing on stage accompanied by two guitarists.

Clearly, the influences on the poems and songs will be varied.

Crystal relocated to Madagascar some time in the last quarter of 2012 in an apparent attempt to seek new artistic paths and regenerate her career. She has plans of returning to Ghana later this year. To like her Facebook page, click here.

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“Vocal April”: A Nite of Poetry

Rain Makers, a group of poets resident in Accra will host a night of poetry dubbed “Vocal April: Speak Responsibly” at Cafe Dez Amis on Saturday, 6 April 2013.

The event is free and is expected to run from 6.30 PM to 9.00PM. This is a brilliant way to end your Saturday evening if you live in Accra, or are just passing through the city.

The venue, Cafe Dez Amis is within the premises of Afrikiko Leisure Centre, adjacent the Flagstaff House.