If it must be done, it must be done well, so as to prevent people saying all sorts of things about it. If not, there will be a lot to talk about it and, indeed, there is a lot to be talked and discussed about this year’s Tigo Ghana Meets Naija which took place at the Accra International Conference Centre last Saturday.
This year’s edition was the sixth, and, if I’m forced to rate it, I will say this year’s show was my least favourite. Strange huh? Yes, it deserves to be my least favourite for a number of reasons. I think last year’s edition was the best in the series.
Though this year’s had good ingredients which presupposes that, the meal will be sumptuous, it rather turned out to be not well cooked food. Ever since Bola Ray left Empire Entertainment to give more attention to EIB Network, it seems a lot has changed about Empire Entertainment which has reflected in how things are done.
The Tigo Ghana Meets Naija brand is growing quite sturdily and this year being six years of its running means Empire Entertainment has being in existence for more than six years. The company has been known for staging some of the best and biggest entertainment events in the country.
Strangely, some of the things that happened leading to this year’s edition were shocking. It was as if the company had not organised any major event before. Handling of the media was a nightmare.
For instance, what I know or the normal practice is that, event organisers dispatch passes to the various media organisations that they are working with or the press passes are picked up by each media house at their offices days before the event.
This year, media houses were asked to come to the venue earlier for their passes, go back home and return to cover the event in the evening. I thought that was strange. Maybe that had been the routine but it still didn’t make it right.
I was locked up somewhere so I couldn’t obey that directive. Getting my pass was therefore difficult. When I finally got to the venue and eventually got my pass, it was difficult for me to make my way into the auditorium because one security man told me plainly that, they didn’t issue the media pass I was holding so he wasn’t going to allow me to enter. It took a colleague and a worker at EIB Network to address the situation before I was allowed entry.
Even when I entered, those beautiful ladies placed at both entrances to the main gate told me plainly that, they had been given a directive not to allow anyone with a media pass to enter the main auditorium. Even a staff of Empire Entertainment couldn’t convince them enough that I deserved to be there for coverage.
The long and short of the story is that, after about an hour, I was impatient and decided to make my way to the Upper deck which made my work difficult. I think that Bola Ray must put his foot down because it was obvious that, many people, especially the media, were not happy with the kind of treatment meted out to them.
Prior to the show, a lot of pundits and music fans were of the opinion that, this round would be least favourite and predicted that, it would end in a stalemate. Yes, the thoughts were right but the prediction wasn’t accurate.
You cannot blame people with such mindset because both Pappy Kojo and Harry Song lacked hits. The former is building his repertoire with just three hit songs to his credit as a musician. The latter has a monster hit Reggae Blues in Ghana.
If you have ever seen Pappy Kojo perform before especially with Joey B, you would be so disappointed in what he exhibited as arguably his first solo performance at a big concert. He has been known as an artiste with lots of energy as he jumps from one end of the stage to the other, especially when performing with Joey B.
But on the night that it mattered most, he was completely the opposite as his performance can be described as just another ordinary performance. His performance sprang out the question, is Joey B an influence in his life? Perhaps!
It’s his first time in Ghana and with just a song of his known in Ghana, Harry Song decided to be creative and spontaneous as he sang about things he has seen since he touched down in Ghana.
From Ghanaian women to Ghanaian food especially jollof, to Ghanaian hospitality. He compared those in his home country, Nigeria in a song he composed while on stage.
As he did that, the applause kept coming. He concluded by conceding that, Ghana Jollof was the best and when he finally dropped the Reggae Blues song, it was as if the building was about to fall. No pausing for needless talk, he gave the patrons what they had paid for. He simply rocked and won the round.
This round featuring Ghana’s EL and Olamide from Nigeria had a lot of technical challenges and strangely almost all happened during EL’s performance.
One of my friends said it was sabotage; but honestly, I think it was mere coincidence. EL looked to have managed to confuse the patrons with his theatrical introduction. He was also set and looked like he was about to have fun and entertain the patrons but it all turned out to be a terrible nightmare.
His terrible night continued for the better part of his performance. He tripped as he rushed from the stage to the crowd. It would have been suicidal if he had landed on the metal equipment.
At a point, he thought it was sabotage and said he had something to say and asked the patrons if he could go ahead with his performance and say what he had in mind. These earned him the clap and away shouts by the patrons.
If the patrons enjoyed his performance, it was when he dropped Minaa bo po and Koko songs.
But the love for Olamide was staggering. It was too good to be true. Do you blame them? Olamide is an exciting performer. In fact he was exciting from the first minute to the last second. He had enough energy and the patrons showed enough love.
At a point, I asked if there were more Nigerians than Ghanaians in the auditorium. Even though he sang in Yoruba, everyone sang, jammed and danced throughout.
There were no dull moments with him. Nigerians had a plan; just like Harrysong, Olamide didn’t pause for any needless talks, he just delivered.
Though EL had a bad night, Olamide was by far the better performer in round 2. I think even without any nightmare, EL wouldn’t have been able to defeat the Bobo hitmaker. He was actually the best performer on the night. He should have been paired with Sarkodie. Olamide made it 2 – 0 in favour of Nigeria.
On the night that he was expected to be in his usual best form and deliver a top notch performance for his country Ghana, Shatta Wale delivered a staggering performance in the last and final round to make up for Ghana’s earlier bad showing in the first two rounds.
Fante Van Damme, alias Pappy Kojo, and EL, in the first two rounds, were whipped so terribly that it was getting very embarrassing for Ghana until Shatta Wale showed up to redeem Ghana’s image at the event.
Musically, Shatta Wale did not beat Flavour of Nigeria but for the home support and the fact that he knows how to excite, whether they liked him or not, was a major factor in him winning this round. I think it’s because he didn’t do anything different.
Even before he mounted the stage, the patrons had yearned for him for far too long. The audience appeal and the loud applause and his intermittent advise to the youth not to get themselves involved in any violent act before, during and after the general elections in November, made up for a good night for him.
As an industry pundit, it will be funny on my part to say Shatta Wale is a better musician than Flavour. The Nigerian invested in his performance as the only musician to perform with a live band. He would be hailed all over the world but the home support was the trick for Shatta Wale. As to why the same home support didn’t favour Pappy Kojo and EL, well I don’t know.
Tigo Ghana Meets Naija 2016 was a good show but not better than last year’s. I expect next year’s edition to be much better. Congratulations to Nigeria, you won this one.
By Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz