Diasporian News Sat, 10 Jun 2006

Ghanaians Abroad Produce Black Stars Anthem

In a bid to show solidarity and patriotism with their motherland, a group of Ghanaian artists based in London have combined to record a world cup anthem that has been dubbed one of the best world cup songs around. Simply entitled ?Blackstarz? it?s a creative fusion of Afro-beat, hip-life and hip hop designed to celebrate the Diasporas support of their home nation. The song is more than just a boastful rendition of world cup ambitions, instead it provides a historical, educational and creative look into Ghana?s history as an African footballing power and influential nation.

Poet and journalist Tuggs.t.a.r was working in collaboration with independent record company Dare Music, and Sam Addo of No Bling TV. They vigorously attempted to involve the prominent Ghanaian artists of the British music industry.

Admittedly not every Ghanaian artist could be contacted, Tuggs.t.a.r explains. ?Everything became a race against time. I sat on the idea for a while, cause I thought the prominent Ghanaian British artist would create a song. I heard of a radio competition back home (Ghana) and I thought how heavy it would be to create a Diasporan anthem.?

The UK is experiencing a rich spell of Ghanaian artistry with notable names amassing large followings, alongside current shooting star Sway, there is also Dizziee Rascal, Mitchell Brothers, Rihan Benson, Idris (from American drama The Wire) Lethal B. The list goes on, and with such names on paper the song looked like a historical mouth watering project.

However when the calls went round, the Dare team were hit by a wall of non-interest, by in large the London based artist procrastinated and eventually refused. Rhian Benson and Idris, were both eager to be onboard but due to personal circumstances weren?t ale to fulfil their commitment. Is this an example of the lack of connection generations abroad have of their mother countries? Mark Anderson explains ?It wasn?t a priority for them. I find that a lot of black artists in the UK struggle to get accepted (in the mainstream) and when they do they don?t wanna do anything that seems too black, because they feel lucky to have made it. But I think it woulda been something that said a lot to the black community and says a lot about the artists. But if people are fearful of their position and haven?t got the courage to make that step; I understand. Not everybody?s going to be a revolutionary.?

On the other hand every spoken word poet that was asked answered their call. Beyonder, Tuggs.t.a.r.and Nii Ayikwei-Parkes more than made up for the rappers lack of patriotism. They not only demonstrated their passion for Ghana but an over view of the historical significance Ghana has bin for Africa. ?The whole idea behind spoken word is to communicate what?s going on, on a deeper level,? Mark states ?so therefore its going to be more readily received with in the spoken word community. The R & B artists Vyenus and Nana are two people who could also see the benefit. They are proud of their heritage. It?s historical and they were open minded enough to see that.?

And in a heart felt outro, Tuggs.t.a.r dedicates the track to the great African players and teams of the past who?ve featured at the world cup, and also the 126 football fans in Accra who died in the May 9th stadium disaster in 2001.

Tuggstar says ?as dedicated football fans, how excited would they have been to see this feat? We are a lucky generation to see Ghana, in their first ever world cup. Generations passed, both players and fans have waited lifetimes for this moment. We are the fortunate few who will actually witness it.?

Although Mark Anderson is Jamaican his team is a testimony to Pan Africanism, which Nkrumah would?ve been proud of. Nigerians Jamaicans and Ghanaians make up the bulk of Dare Media and they?ve rallied round to support the track, even after Jamaica?s 4-1 loss to Ghana. After the game the team were able to sneak past the stewards and place the single directly in the hands of coach Ratomir Dukjovic and captain Stephen Appiah et al. Mark says ?they were really hype that someone had written a song on their behalf?

So how?s the response been? ?It?s been incredible the feedback that I?ve had from Ghanaians from West Indians and Africans from various other countries has been most inspiring, cause they see it as a song that can unite people. I didn?t want to make a song that was divisive, I wanted to make a song that celebrated peoples similarities and celebrated the fact that Ghana getting to the world cup finals is an achievement for the whole African continent.?

When asked how far Dare music want the record to go Mark Anderson answers ?I think more importantly than chart success I would like every Ghanaian that is supporting Ghana for the world cup that has an interest in Ghana to have heard the song and the sentiments the spoken word artists and the singers have, cause its all very important messages. I would love for every single fan to have heard the song at least once and if we can achieve something close to that, then it would have been an incredible journey and an incredible success.?

To hear the track go to www.myspace.com/blackstarz06