Soul to Soul

So reading one of the articles I found had me very amused and frustrated at the same time. It was fort of like an emotional rollercoaster to explain it. I found this really cool primary source about this festival in Ghana called “Soul to Soul”. The festival was basically a catalyst for a film and album. It was a blend of Western R&B/Funk artist from the states and rock and drumming artists from Ghana. These artist included big names like James Brown, Ike Turner, Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, and Voices of East Harlem. It also included the popular Ghanian rock group, “The Aliens”, and also included “The Kumasi Drummers”. The article started off very well until I reached the second or third paragraph when the Westerners actually reached Ghana.

The article starts taking a bad turn when they start talking about Ghanian culture and music in a very derogatory way. Which honestly made me really pissed. They used phrases like “tribal drummers” and “primitive towns”. This anger ultimately turned into laughter when I read what happened at the concert. So the concert was held at the Black Star Square in Accra to celebrate Ghana’s 14th independence day. 100,000 people bought tickets to go to this and this was an all night affair. Things start to get real funny when the night progresses.

So as a couple performances happen they finally get to performances by Santana, Willie Bobo, and the Staples. The crowd didn’t seem particularly interested in this and then the reporter continued to say that “what was going on? Perhaps the audience didn’t know what rock-soul session American style was supposed to be?’ (Moore,15). This frustrated me and also made me laugh because The Africans could just simply not like the music. Why does it have to be that they don’t understand? Just sing and play better.

The second funny moment happened when Tina Turner started to perform her set at 2:45 AM. So Tina Turner came out while the crowd was very tired from the festivities and she was upset. She yelled at the crowd. Later, when Ike Turner came out the crowd started going crazy and this was very funny to me because it abruptly showed the male social and domestic problems of  Ghana which was shameful but also kinda funny in the fashion that it happened. This is in due part because of the bad aura surrounding Ike at the time.

This article was a disappointment to me because the coverage on the festival could have been so much better. It just felt like the reporter was trying to pit Afro – Americanized music and African music against each other and it was very sad. The appreciation is not mutual because I know from what we talked about in class, that Africans appreciated Western music culture. And I could see that in this article because the reporter emphasized how the Ghanians knew about Ike and Tina Turner, the Beatles, and James Brown.

While the Ghanian’s knew about the United States, It is very apparent to see that the people from the states had absolutely no clue as to how complex African music really was. Which is what I talk about in my second blog post.

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