Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ghanaian Music and their Lyrics

She burst out laughing. Couldn't help herself... then, she looked around at pedestraians and other drivers and passengers in other vehicles staring at her with puzzled expressions, as she waited for the traffic lights to turn to green. What made her laugh? Well, it was the music on the radio! A typical popular Ghanaian highlife track with the most absurd and shocking lyrics! 

It got me thinking, is it the sharp-nature of our local languages that makes it sound so extremely vulgar and absurd, or what? I thought and was like no, it was more than that; it should be the lack of imagination and the want of quick money fast; the newest characteristic of many young and upcoming Ghanaians, not just musical artists. We are in too much of a haste to make money with the littlest effort. That is why musicians  many a times can't be bothered to put so much work into the lyrics of their music, what's the point of a songwriter when he has the greatest beat? - he gets his awesome beat; puts a few words together, and... presto! ..... song hits ... and 'loochie' starts to roll on in!.... :)

Another idea comes to mind and I put it to you in the form of two questions,

Question 1: 'How many times have you seen Ghanaians shoot up to dance almost as soon as music starts to play - no matter the place they find themselves - be it at church, home, work, marketplace, taxi rank - where ever?'

Answer: ''All the time!''

Question 2: 'How many times do you actually hear these same people singing along with the 'right' words; especially, when it is in English or any other language outside their mother tongue?

Answer: ..... 0.00001% of the time!!.... hahaha.

So what does this mean? I believe it means that Ghanaians are born with music built in their heads, feet, hands and hearts... we live for the beat; our bodies automatically begin to bopp, our feet start a-tapping our fingers a-snapping, our heads a-nodding. Doesn't matter what we are listening to or what the lyrics are - it's just the beat that rocks us.... :)

These must be the reasons why our musicians normally don't spend much time on their lyrics.

I compiled a couple of lyrics (thanks to MUSEKE! - to common highlife/hiplife songs that have been hits over the past couple of years.

What are your thoughts on the quality of the lyrics of most Ghanaian songs and what do you think is the cause? Perhaps some of you can also help me with the translation to English.

Album Aben wo aha
Artistes Daddy Lumba
Language Twi
Runtime 5:14
Track # 1 
Writer Charles Kojo Fosu (aka. Daddy Lumba) 
Year 1999

Chorus 8x
Manya m'adedɛdɛ (Ama) - I've got my sweet thing (Ama-ladie's name)
Me ba resu a, mente o(Ama)  - When my child cries I won't hear (Ama)

Verse 1
Ɔdɔ abɔ n'ani akyerɛ me - My love has winked at me
Ɔte biribi ara ase - She understands something
Ɔsere kakra kyerɛ me - She smiles a little at me
Dada, woama ma nane - She makes me melt
Adeɛ nsɛe yɛ a - If it's not nightfall
Awoɔ ba a, adeɛ tene wɔba o - ???

Obi abɔ pono mu anadwo yi - Somebody has kncoked on the door this night
Bɔmu a, woaha me o - If you knock you have worried me (being a bother)
Wobɔm ma m'angye so a (If you knock and I don't answer)
M'ano kita adeɛ yi (my mouth is holding onto something)
Wobɔm na mɛmmie a (If you knock and I don't open)
Mesan kita adeɛ mu (my hands are holding onto something)
Wobɔmu na m'ante a (If you knock and I don't hear)
Asisi ma so o (It has blocked my ears)

Repeat Chorus 8x 

Verse 2
Awushie (6x), aben (2x) - 'awushie' means nothing, aben- it is hot ready???
Aben wɔ aha (6x) - it's on fire here
Adeɛ yi, yɛnnoa, yɛnkye - this thing we don't boil, we don't fry
Adeɛ no ara, yɛntoto a - this thing we don't roast
Adeɛ yi, yɛnnoa, yɛnkye
Ɛno ara, yɛntoto a
Odomankoma aduane a - God-given food
A yɛfrɛ no ɔdɔ yi - that is called love
Menim ne dɛ nti - I know how good it tastes
Memma ɔdɔ nkɔ mɛnyina hɔ - I won't let my love go, don't stand there?????

Wohia na anɔpa a - You need it in the morning
Ama, aben wɔ aha - Ama (ladie's name) it's on fire!
Wohia no awiaberɛ a - You need it in the afternoon
Ama, aben wɔ aha - Ama, it is on fire! 
Wohia no anwummire a - You need it in the evening
Ama, aben wɔ aha
Wohia no anadwo a - You need it in the night
Ama, aben wɔ aha 

Repeat Chorus till fade

Video URL

This song was banned off the Ghanaian market for some time, a year or so I think. Shocking ain't lyrics ain't it? How do you translate 'aben wo aha' into English so as to capture the meaning as much as possible? ANy ideas anyone, I tried, I really did! lol

Album Nana awu
Artistes Daddy Lumba (DL)
Language Twi
Runtime 6:03 
Writer Charles Kojo Fosu (aka Daddy Lumba)
Year 2008

Lalalalalala (repeat)

Ayɛ huhuuhu, (huhuuhu) huhuuhu (huhuuhu) (2x) (It has become frightening)

Hwan na ɛbɛsu nnɛ, nnɛ (2x) (Who will cry today?)
Na woasu sɛ (wiii aaa, wiii) (Who will cry like this wii aaa, wii)
Hwan na ɛbɛsu nnɛ, nnɛ (2x)
Na woasu sɛ (wiii aaa, wiii)
Obi ba rebɛsu nnɛ, (ngaa ngaa), rebɛsu nnɛ (Somebody's child will cry today, today)
Na akɔ ne ho aka sɛ (m'akoma koma) (It will get to him and he will say (my heart, my heart)????
Na woaka sɛ (m'akoma) (He will say (my heart)
Obi ba rebɛsu nnɛ, (ngaa ngaa), rebɛsu nnɛ 
Na akɔ ne ho aka sɛ (m'akoma koma, m'akoma)

Obi ba rebɛsu nnɛ, (ngaa ngaa)
Na akɔ ne ho aka sɛ (m'akoma koma, m'akoma)

Repeat Chorus 

Hwan na ɛbɛto twede kane (Who will throw the first blow?)
Hwan na ɛbɛka sɛ ɛhyɛ me bo (Who will say that it burns my chest?)
Hwan na ɛbɛka sɛ ɛhyɛ mu now,
Hwan na ɛbɛto twede kane (2x)
Hwan na ɛbɛka sɛ ɛhyɛ mu now, ɛhyɛ mu now
Gye w'ani o, (ɛhyɛ mu o) - Be happy (it pains you)
Gye w'ani o buru (o winner) - Be happy ..??? (the winner)
Gye w'ani o hey (ɛhye mu o, ɛhyɛ mu o, ɛhyɛ mu o) - Be happy (it pains you)
Gye w'ani o, (ɛhyɛ mu o) - Be happy (it pains you)
Gye w'ani o buru (na winner) - Be happy (the winner)
Gye w'ani o hey (ɛhyɛ mu o, ɛhyɛ mu o, ɛhyɛ mu o) - Be happy

Ebi bɛkɔ, (ebi bɛka), ebi bɛsu, (ebi bɛsre) - Some will go (some will stay) Some will cry (some will laugh)
Ɛte sa ei, (sa ei, sa ei, sa ei) (This is how it is)

Obi ba rebɛwu o, bɛwu o (Somebody's child is going to die, to die
Na yɛsie no, na yɛsie no, akɔ ayie o (we will bury him and go to funeral)
Obi ba rebɛwu o (bɛwu o), ɔrebɛwu o
Na yɛsie no, na yɛsie no
Fine boy - fine boy
Ɔde awerɛhoɔ akɔda, ɔde awereho akɔda (fine boy) (2x) - he has taken saddness to sleep (fine boy)
Fine boy, ɔde awerehoɔ akoda (fine boy)

Lalalalalala (repeat)

Ebinom rebɛwe nsa, de agye yɛn ani a na yɛde asa, na yɛayɛ saa (some will drink and get happy and dance)
Nkrofoɔ dan mu, ɛnnɛ, ɛnnɛ (in people's houses today today)
Bewɛ nsa, na yɛanom nsa, de agye yɛn ani a, na ayɛ saa
Nkrofoɔ dan mu, ɛnnɛ, ɛnnɛ

Sɛ ɛnka atutu tu a, (ɛnka awiase bɛgye bum bum) - if gunshots had flown (then the world will sound boom!)
Ɛnka atutu tu a, (ɛnka awiase bɛgye bum bum) (4x)
Ɛnka atutu tu o, (ɛnka awiase bɛgye bum bum) (2x)
Bum bum bum bum bum (ɛnka awiase bɛgye bum bum)
Sɛ ɛnka atutu tu a, (ɛnka awiase bɛgye bum bum)

Ɔde awerɛhoɔ akɔda, ɔde awereho akɔda (fine boy) (2x) 

Fine boy, ɔde awerehoɔ akoda (fine boy)

Repeat Chorus

Repeat Chorus till fade

Video URL

This song was made my the artist during the last presidential run-off when the political atmosphere was so tense between the two main opposition parties. A lot of Ghanians were scared as to whether their party would win and whether power would be taken away from the current ruling party - NPP. They were also afraid for civil wars to break lose as there had been a few restricitons and a lot of rumours. 

Album Eye fe kekeArtistes Slim Busterr, Tic Tac
Language Twi/Fante
Runtime 4:23
Video URL 
Writer Ebenezer Asare
Year 2000

Woyɛ me lady, lady - You are my lady, lady
Ɛnyɛ easy, easy - it's not easy, easy
Mede no bɛko me baby, baby - i will take her to my baby baby
Woyɛ me lady, lady
Ɛnyɛ easy, easy
Mede no bɛko me baby, baby
Slim, drop the track
Wodiggi, me nso me diggi, yɛn nyinaa yɛ diggidiggi  - 
Tic Tac, Slim Busterr, we drop the track (2x)

Masan aba o (2x) - I have come again
Mayɛ wo bɔne ntsi, fakyɛ me o (2x) - Forgive me for I have done you wrong
Ɔdɔ e, masan aba o, masan aba o - My love, I am back, I am back
Mayɛ wo bɔne ntsi, ntsi na mese, fakyɛ me o (2x)

Sophia e, masan aba o - Sophia, I am back
Masan aba o, masan aba - I am back, I am back
Mayɛ wo bɔne ntsi, ntsi na mese, fakyɛ me o (2x) - I have wronged you so forgive me
Masan aba o (2x)
Mayɛ wo bɔne ntsi, ntsi na mese, fakyɛ me o (2x)
Menim dɛ, mayɛ wo bɔne ntsi - I know that I have wronged you, so forgive me
Ntsi na mese, fakyɛ me o

Verse 1
Honey, baby
Nneɛma nketenkete yi a, ɛdze yɛ me no o - it is the little things that you do to me
Ɔno ntsi na woama masan aba yi - Because of those  things that I am back
Madwen ho a, mɛhunu dɛ - I've thought about it, I've seen good things
Dze a, medzeyɛɛ wo yi, Sophia e, ɔnyɛ koraa - What I'm doing to you, Sophia, it is no good
Ɔno ntsi na (2x) - That is why
Woama, Sophia e, masan aba yi - You have let me come back Sophia
Woama, Sophia e, merepa wo kyɛw yi - You have let me come back to beg forgiveness
Na nipadasani nso, ɔnhu adze papa ara da - Humans never see good things when they come their way
Ansaa na yɛbɛhu no, gye dɛ woasɛe koraa - By the time we realise it, it is too late
Sophia e

Repeat Chorus

Verse 2
Tic Tac
Excuse me, mose ɛyɛ dɛn a
So be digging Slim, so digger
Menkɔte adɛn a, ɛyɛ ampaara
Tatatataa, mereba abɛtua me paa
Pɔpipɔpi, moba na meyada
Mahyɛ da, m'ani abre paa
Bra ha sɛ yɛfrɛ wo a, sa bi paa
Gyamera Papa Ibrahim nyɛ ɔmo papa
Na mayɛ a, it's on top, check it out
Sɛ woate a, Sweetie lady sa bi, yɛ me baby
Mongyae mo ntoatoa
Ono ankasa na me ne no bɛkɔ
Ɛnnɛ mɛkɔ, mɛkɔ

Montsie (2x)
Friday night, na ɔtse dɛn ɛ, na ɔye
Monday night nso na ɔtse dɛn ɛ, na ɔye
Ɛneda anwumire na ɔtse dɛn ɛ, na ɔye
Woyɛ tough a, woyɛ beggar
Woyɛ tough a, meyɛ fire

Repeat Chorus till fade

This is a little difficult to translate because it is all in Fante which although similar to Twi (my language) has some significant differences at times. You should see the clip to this one though... it's something else. This guy, artist, Slim Buster has one of the most flexible bodie's ever and he started out on the music scene as dance champion so his clip is all about the beat and the moves.

Any other funny and silly songs anyone knows about and wants to put up?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Infidelity.... Generic to the XY Chromosome?

On Larry King Live about two weeks ago, there was an ongoing discussion about the mysterious 4-day disappearance ( and subsequent press conference of Mark Sanford, the US governor of South Carolina. Turns out he went on a, should I say; 'romantic rendezvous' with a new found lover in Argentina. At a press conference upon his return, he confessed to having had an affair and claimed that he was sorry for having disappointed so many people especially his family and friends. Governor Mark Sanford, a highly respected, promising politician with many political ambitions. It has been said that prior to this, he was in the running for the Republican seat as the possible next contender to take on Barack Obama in 2012. The question is, why would he ever think of committing infidelity? Especially at a time like this when so much repect is given him and expected of him? Why would he want to jeopardise it all? I mean, the importance of remaining in the good books of the people at this point in his career cannot be overemphasised. So why?

Well, Mark Sanford is not the first and definitely not the last American politician to committ adultery. Over the years there have been so many reports of cheating politicians (congressmen, senators, governors, presidents, you name it!) in the States that have been caught up in some issue of infidelity or the other. There was the famous Clinton/Lewinsky scandal from a couple of years back, then; John Edwards the ex. North Carolina Senator, the former governor and attorney general of New York State, Eliot Spitzer, John McCain, and the list is endless. Is it as a result of the stresses and pressures of being a government official that lead them to this?

Unfortunately (or not) it's not only Americans politicians that are struggling to keep their pants on. There have been numerous claims of infidelity amongst politicians right here in Ghana. Here however, such cases more often than not remain an 'open secret'. Although it is seen on the regular, no one ever wants to talk about it publicly. Possibly, out of the excessive fear experienced in our society of the 'powers that be' - very much unlike what happens in U S of A (don't you just love America! lol). The unlucky few like the Hon. Richard Anane's however have had to face much public disgrace. He had his dirty linen washed in public back in the day. I have personally heard stories from friends who either were directly involved or had friends who were having affairs with some politician or the other. Many of these famous politicians are regularly spotted on the campuses of our universities, - no, not only on official duty or at official hours, but at the oddest hours and in the oddest places! There was one case where a friend's roommate was alleged to be having an affair with one such very popular minister of state. My friend told me how this Minister would come over regularly to their tiny campus room and would be seen sitting on her roommates bed drinking ' voltic mineral water' from a sachet, very comfortable and unconcerned. He would then leave with her shortly after, sometimes dropping her off late at night or the following morning. So maybe it is a thing with all politicians, irrespective of their nationalities?

No again dear reader! I have personally known many people in my immediate circles who have been victims to this menace. 'The high and mighty' in society as I like to call them; yea, the highly respected, often pot-bellied men with respectable positions and well-paid jobs in society, some very easily old enough to be the father's of their 'victims' driving most times the most fashionable cars in town; MD's of reputable banks and other institutions, lawyers, doctor's, lecturers and professors, rich business men, and the list continues. I've personally had experiences of my own in fact; several sexual advances made at me by such unruly men. What makes it most shocking is the fact that these days they no longer hide their wedding bands!! They proudly sport them and even openly talk about their wives, some even having the nerve to claim that they are 'happily married'.

Yes infact, infidelity amongst married men has become so rampant in the Ghanaian society these days. It is rather sad and unbelievable. One of our favourite lecturers ever mentioned in class that husbands cheating on wives is purely generic to the male species and therefore inevitable. He urged that wives should not waste their time hurting about being cheated; but rather, use that time to pray that their husbands continue to provide for them and their families and that they would have the decency to 'go at it' with a condom, so as not to infect them with any kind of disease.

Then there was the case of a very popular and respected professor on campus who was spotted on the regular paying visits to a particular girl in a hostel back on campus. His car would often be spotted parked right outside the hostel at the ungodliest of hours. Sometimes, he would be seen dropping her off; or picking her up late at night or at the crack of the dawn. They did make the strangest of couples those two, the man being smallish and petite while the girl was a giant of a woman, tall and very large. It was quite amusing really.

So, it looks like it is the fixing of social status and feel of personal success and the need for a further boost of ego that pushes elderly, respectable men to so as to say 'spread their wild oats'.

I ever had a discussion with friends (males and females) on this topic, we were trying to put a reason to why men so often cheat more than women. We concluded that womanising is a necessary stage of a man's life. Men were not created to be naturaly monogamous beings. We agreed that that the crazy lecherous pursuit of women however was a stage in their lives and normally would happen at some point in any normal man's life. Some men in their teenage or university years were popular amongst the females as a result of their being handsome and/or athletes or sons of rich men who wore the nicest clothes and as such were exposed to that stage of life earlier. Other, unlucky ones -so to speak - were probably unpopular because they were shy or had none of the added pluses the afore mentioned had . They only start to gain the attention of women once they start climbing the ladder of social status with a fancy car, job, expensive suits and whatnot. At this point, the new attention is overwhelming and they are unable to handle it. Some other men however, were always part of the 'lucky' and always have had that attention. These either remain womanisers for ever, or they learn their lessons somewhere along the line and settle down.

Women cheat to. But however, I dare say women are a lot more discrete with it,
in Ghana at least. Mostly, women who cheat do it only because there is something wrong in their relationships. Not a justification though ofcourse. Ghaniaan women are probably most discrete because of the way society treats a cheating wife. It is the biggest and worst of taboos; traditionally in small towns and villages, such women if caught are banished from their villages and ostracized. However, a cheating husband in the same society is considered as being normal - and infact, not cheating at all; just a normal, matter of cause.

Talking about the exceptions - bashful unashamed cheating women, many stories have been told of women in power who go around clubs picking up 'young boys'. Some don't even waste time to go into the clubs, they just pick up from their immediate environs; subordinates at work, garden boys and even watch men.

So perhaps, it is just the high social standing in society that is the cause. The money, the fame, the ego-boosters and perhaps even the sex of the individual is pretty much irrelevant.

I don't know how many of you have watched this reality TV program called 'Cheaters' on DSTV. Cheaters is about this company being run to find out cheating partners. They have a team of private investigators that specialize in detecting infidelity. They work 24/7 to investigate on the possibility of cheating partners- both male and female. They are hired by doubting and suspecting spouses to investigate and show proof of a cheating spouse. Once proof has been produced, cheaters crew create an avenue for the complainant to catch the cheater red-handed and for an often much-relished confrontation between the two; 'cheater and the cheated' infront of camera men. You can only imagine the kind of things that go on. I wish there would be a Cheater's program designed for Ghana. Oh, in fact I don't think the program would survive on our airwaves for even a week....

So why do men cheat? Is it an inherent trait generic to the XY chromosome of men? Or a trait generic to both XY and XX chromosomes? Is it the need for an ego-booster? or pathetic means to hold on to youth? Is it out of boredom? Or is just out of immense curiosity? Is it the fault of their women who do not treat them right thus indirectly pushing them to go look for what they are not getting at home outside?

The controvery and mysters surrounding this topic remains and continues... let me know your opinion!