Like Sarkodie and Shatta Wale, dancehall singer Livingstone “Stonebwoy” Satekla has amassed an ample body of devotees in the time that he has been around –deservedly so too –he’s among a select few of Ghanaian acts whose playlist you simply cannot skip. A coalescence of verve, consistency, great vocal tone and technique, as well as appealing hooks have led to this accomplishment.
And so when event planners Charter House announced him as headline act for this year’s edition of Ghana Rocks, it was settled. A great show was imminent. Stonebwoy has been tried and tested, and he has proved himself as among our most reliable stage masters, more so his leaning to live band. Intermittently during his performance, he reiterated his decision to perform live, as patrons had paid money to come witness a real performance. He rocked the night!
Dubbed the BHIM Concert, the auditorium was flooded with eager youth flaunting BHIM Nation paraphernalia; t-shirts labelled Problem, Go Higher, People Dey (after his songs), Stonebwoy-branded apparel, black flags and banners bearing the movement’s crest.
Such songs as Sick Inna Head, Sapashini, People Dey, We Made It, Problem, By Grace, Guy Guy, and Winner, have kept his hold on the industry intact. For a long time this year, when we bit our fingers finding what songs constituted bona fide hit, it was People Dey we ran to. He was the single advertised Ghanaian act the historic One Africa Concert held at the famous Barclays Centre in New York, though Efya joined him for the performance of Hele Mi.
He embarked on a well-patronised Go Higher Europe Tour, participated in season 4 of the prestigious Coke Studio Africa series, staged a mammoth concert in his native Ashaiman, bagged local and international awards including at the VGMAs, International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA), Ghana Music Awards-UK, the BASS Awards among others. He also heaped up a total of nine nominations at tonight’s 4Syte Music Video Awards –the most nominations for a single act this year. Yes, 2016 has been great for him.
Stonbwoy’s show was attended by some of our favourite faces in sports and entertainment, including actor James Gardiner, highlife singer Becca, Ghanaian football icons Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah, and hiphop mogul D Black. He was also joined on stage by other respected Ghanaian and Nigerian acts including Luther, Article Wan, Eazzy, Ras Kuuku, MzVee, Ras Kuuku, Cabum, Kaakie, Medikal, Rudebwoy Ranking, Kofi Kinaata, Jupitar, Samini, Starboy singer L.A.X, as well as Pana hitmaker Tekno. Cynthia Morgan did not make it.
Handling the decks for the night was turntablist DJ Vyrusky of Accra-based Starr FM, who received rave reviews for his output during the night. The party expert he is, he converted the auditorium into a large nightclub with an exciting playlist consisting top Ghanaian and Nigerian anthems, and keeping the party temperature of the building at a constant high.
A number of other things stood out for me about December 27th. His opening set, an exciting medley of songs as Natural Girl, Come Over, Baafira, Sheekena etc (as well as his subsequent performances), sent the crowd into utmost glee, and when MzVee joined him for renditions of Come Over and Natural Girl, it was a sight to behold.
She had lost her voice, so couldn’t necessarily contribute vocally, but her being on that stage, sharing in Stonebwoy’s big day, filled her with obvious significant pleasure. Dressed in a skimpy 2-piece black costume which glistened against the lights, she encircled him with waist swivelling reserved for lovers; scintillating, naughty, and with a smile fostered by chemistry. It is perhaps this same connectedness that fuelled dating rumours with the release of Come Over.
Rapper/on-air personality Trigmatic also earned a lot of respect from his performance. In what can be described as among the most powerful (if not the most powerful) of the night, he commandeered an emotive session of reflection through his 2010 hit My Life. He freestyled with the stories of himself and Stonebwoy coming up, of Michael Essien and Stephen Appiah, with extraordinary creativity and and laser-point vocal tone, something which earned him ubiquitous applause.
I also found the reception to Kofi Kinaata’s latest single Confessions noteworthy. Released merely weeks ago, the KinDee –produced track has already covered a lot of ground. As usual, through masterful and humorous storytelling, Kinaata takes us into the reality of an intoxicated driver fighting to maintain control of the steering wheel. Like Country singer Carrie Underwood, he pleads with God to assume control of the situation. Specifically because of that, several spins on radio and along the streets, as well as endless referencing on social media, Confessions is among the biggest songs this festive season.
Of course, you can’t forget the beautiful comradery between Stonebwoy, Puom regent Ras Kuuku, and Luther. Their time on stage was immensely exciting, and sure sent the audience into pure chaos. Ras Kuuku inspires fun whenever he’s on stage, he’s blunt and bold, and it reverberates with the gathering alway. His energy infected his colleagues onstage, and by extension, to the crowd. Class act!
Samini and Tekno crowned the concert. Samini is a veteran, and Tekno has the song of the moment, so you can imagine how it went — pure fire, as the crowd jammed to Climax, Scatta Badmind, Samini (rain god), Tekno’s Diana, and Pana. The proud mentor he is, he expressed elation at his protege strides, reminding cheering audiences of his prophecy about Stonebwoy years ago.
It’s a Ghanaian show, so yes, it saw a late start, tickets were oversold and security personnel were overwhelmed. Therefore, we turned to our true last resort with these events — hope! It worked. Great show!
See more photos below: