A few months ago, the Chief Executive Officer of Scratch Studios Ghana, Kofi Amoakohene advised Ghanaian DJs to focus more on Ghanaian music at the first edition of the Ghana DJ Awards.
According to him, the practice of playing more foreign songs at the expense of Ghanaian songs hindered the growth of our musical identity.
Since I share his sentiments, I also set out to advocate for DJs to play and give more attention to Ghanaian music than they give to foreign music, especially Nigerian songs. I therefore made myself an unofficial ambassador of Ghana music.
What I intend doing was that, whenever I went out, I will encourage DJs to help elevate the Ghana music industry by giving more play time to Ghanaian songs. Unfortunately, I dropped idea before it started because of a bad encounter I had with a DJ in Accra during a fashion show.
I had gone to ask him if he could play some Ghanaian songs after about two hours of Nigeria songs he had played. He said he would do that, so we smiled and I left to be with my colleagues.
After couple of songs, there were still no Ghanaian songs blazing from the loud speakers. All I heard were songs from the Wizkids, P-Squares, Davidos, 2Faces, Timayas, DBanjs, Tiwa Savages, Iyanyas and the likes.
I respectfully approached the DJ again and this time around, he shouted at me and asked if I was invited to watch the show or asked to dictate to the DJ on which songs he should play.
The way he went about it was very physical, so I said well, let me leave this guy alone. And that was how I gave up that dream. This is because I anticipated similar situations from other DJs should I dare interfere in their job again.
Ghanaian DJs are playing Nigerian songs. Ghanaian bloggers are blogging about Nigerian artistes and their songs. Event organisers in Ghana are paying huge sums of money to Nigerian artistes to headline concerts in Ghana. Ghanaian artistes are singing and rapping like Nigerians. Who should be blamed?
I’m against banning of Nigerian or foreign songs in Ghana uprightly but the fact that Ghana songs play second to those songs even in Ghana is not right.
In a bid to give listeners what they want, radio station owners, DJs and radio presenters just pay more attention to Nigerian songs. A DJ can play 10 Nigerian songs and cut in with just a song from Ghana. This should not be tolerated in Ghana. I’m against banning of Nigerian or foreign songs in Ghana but the fact that Ghana songs play second fiddle to these foreign songs right here in Ghana is not right.
Some of these radio station owners, DJs and radio presenters argue that, local songs are substandard hence why they do not play them. However, are we saying that all Ghanaian songs are of bad quality and all Nigerian songs are good?
Also television stations play these Nigerian songs on air free of charge, yet expect Ghanaian artistes to pay before theirs are played.
As if not enough, this trend does not stop at the radio andtelevision stations, even when one makes his way to pubs or nightclubs, they are met with the same trend. Are Ghanaians not the owners of these facilities that give more attention to foreign songs? Who should be blamed?
There are several areas that, Ghana trail Nigeria. So far as music in concerned, Ghana is trailing Nigeria by several miles in terms of promotion, marketing and patronage but what accounted for all that?
The fact that Ghanaian songs play second fiddle to their Nigerian counterparts even in Ghana means there is a problem. Until the appropriate minds are able to first of all find the problem, Ghana will continue to lag behind.
I understand that, there is a policy in Nigeria which requires that about 70 percent of songs played on radio and television be of Nigeria content. From the look of things, Ghana needs such a policy.
Such a policy can help to keep foreign songs at bay for the benefit of Ghanaians songs. I do not see the reason why songs from both countries should compete for the same slots in Ghana. For now, the question is who is to be blamed?
By Ebenezer Anangfio