Next weekend Bibini Music is bringing the Mother Earth Festival to Kokrobite! I was excited to see the news in the Daily Guide and Graphic Showbiz – two of Ghana’s biggest newspapers, this morning.
The 2-day “Mother Earth festival” is all about strengthening our bond with mother earth as we enjoy music, dance and art.
Saturday 26th March:
From 10am – Eco market and bazaar
From 6pm – Reggae Rising concert featuring KniiLante, Osagyefo, Yasmeen, Jahwi, and Fiifi Selah
Sunday 27th March – Tribute to Faisal Helwani
From 10am: Bibini Music Exhibition with traditional music and dance
7pm: film screening – “The Roots of Highlife ”
Daytime entry fee for both days is 10cedis per day, and the Reggae Rising concert costs 20cedis. Tents are available for rent please call 0244799143 to book packages in advance.
While at the festival, don’t forget to visit any of our plant/tree adoption points. At least two hundred people will leave the festival with a new flower, plant, or tree to care for. We will also be giving the “Natural Beauty Prize” – 250ghc worth of Madame Yasmeen products to the best natural hairstyle at the festival.
Physically, mentally, emotionally,.. its been quite intense lately. We are facing great challenges as a nation and each and every one of us is affected. Corruption is the disease that is eating through our governing institutions, and miseducation is keeping most of us in a self imposed jail.
The latest thing is the ongoing “Dumsor” crisis. I mean, this problem has been in existence here ever since I can remember but recently, it’s the worse it has ever been. “Dumsor” means “on-off” in twi – a Ghanaian local language. This is referring to the regular power cuts we are experiencing as a result of inefficiencies in our energy system. Electricity is scarce these days. Cost of having it is so high. Cost of NOT having it is even higher. Businesses are folding up and saying goodbye because they can’t afford to continue running their businesses in such difficult conditions. It’s time for us to find sustainable solutions. Of course we’ve heard of solar power and other alternative energy solutions but where is the effort, hard work, discipline, and selflessness that needs to go into making these ideas work for Ghana?
Electricity is not the only challenge. We have water problems, waste management issues, rising cost of living, and some really serious environmental issues. I always try to look on the bright side of life (no matter how hard it gets) and I must say I’m really proud of some Ghanaians for their “adaptation techniques” [kpa kpa kpa! << inside joke!]. I'm not just an artist, I'm also a business woman, sharing the pain of my fellow Ghanaians especially small-scale entrepreneurs. I've had to adapt, to re-strategize, to manoeuvre, and to "kpa kpa kpa" my way through the first quarter of this year and today, on our 58th independence day, I thank the electricity company of Ghana for keeping my lights on while I take the day off. Today I want to do absolutely nothing apart from having a nice day with my family and as I type this in my bed I wish all Ghanaians a reflective independence day, and I hope the lights stay on.
Here are a few "Dumsor" songs and clips on YouTube (yes it's that bad):
I don’t do very well with new year’s resolutions. Too much pressure for my mind. I prefer to live in the now and make resolutions as and when they become of utmost necessity. I prefer to bask in the joy of what I have right now, and to positively call out to God and the universe for my heart’s desires for myself and my family. During my time of reflection and meditation I also think of the larger world outside of my home and my immediate networks. I think of all the positive, love-minded, love-driven people in the world. I think of the ones who never had a chance, and the ones who are struggling to get through today. Sometimes I cry, and then I send them some spiritual love vibes, hoping that somehow, through the storms and the harsh winds, they will be touched and blessed.
I have been touched and blessed by the arrival of my son in 2013. My writers block was lifted and my album is almost finished. I’m working on the mixing and mastering of the last batch of songs that I recorded in the last few months and I’m looking forward to a few collaborations with a couple of great Ghanaian artists as well. Lots more studio time coming up soon. Yaaaaay!
I am blessed to be alive in this new year 2014. Blessed to have my family and my beautiful son who makes me smile and laugh everyday. I’m looking forward to trying out some exciting new recipes – both food and cosmetics! 🙂 ; I’m also excited to try a few DIY up cycling and recycling projects. Last year my team had a lot of fun turning old cans and containers into flower pots. We will be continuing and developing this project this year, as well as trying some new ideas, and this year I will make a conscious effort to blog more about these projects.
This year, the Open Air Stock Exchange flea market is 3 years old! I started this project with Eco-friendly solutions in mind. I wanted to reach the Artistic members of our community as well as the small-scale entrepreneurs who were struggling to find an outlet. The first 2 years were challenging and very hard on my pocket I must say. This last year however has been amazing. We have grown considerably and boast of some really cool and unique products. Click Here to visit The Open Air Stock Exchange on Facebook.
Here’s to a sunny year 2014. May all your dreams come true, wherever you are. Remember that if you focus on it positively, it will manifest. Surround yourself with love always, and in whatever you do, let love lead the way. Wishing you Health, Wealth, and LOTS of happy music!!
The Desert Rose grows typically in arid areas of Africa like Uganda, Tanzania and Madagascar. It also does well here in Ghana and other humid areas as well as in the middle East. Although it responds well to frequent watering, it really doesn’t require too much watering and can withstand harsh and dry conditions. With frequent watering, you will need to have good drainage as this flower does not do well in standing water. Similar to tropical Orchids, root rot may occur if the flower gets too much water that doesn’t drain off.
I have about three of these growing in my garden and I really love them. It’s been about a year since I planted the one seen in this photo:
Over here in Ghana the Desert rose flowers all year round. The flowers stay up to a couple of weeks before falling off and making way for new buds.
As early as 1965, my father Faisal Helwani identified a huge gap in Ghana’s music and entertainment industry so he tried to fill it. He started out as a music promoter – the guy who puts on the shows. His love and passion for music led him around Ghana; encouraging, supporting, and promoting artists and bands. He broke out into mainstream Africa and landed a promotion deal with Fela Anikulapo Kuti of Nigeria. The two became very close friends and worked on some major projects like ‘The Black President’ film which was tragically cut short by the burning of the entire soundtrack at Fela’s shrine. Some scenes from the original film are currently being used, and I hope, after all the court proceedings and ‘sorting out’.. that the film sees the light of day. My father set up his own record label and opened the famous Napoleon Club and Casino in the early 70’s. ‘Napoleon Club’ became the name of the large house/complex in which we lived. It was right in the heart of Osu, the buzzing heart of Accra. Our home occupied the top floors, the Club/Restaurant/Casino had it’s own entrance from the side street, sound proofing and all; and just next to the club was Studio One which later became Bibini Music. Studio One (Faisal Helwani Productions) – the first professional recording studio in Accra produced records by E.T. Mensah, Agya Koo Nimo, Kobina Okai, Onipa Nua, Kofi Sammy, Guy Warren (Ghanaba), the list goes on and on. My father was fearless. Nothing was too big for him. Everything was too small! Yet he stood at a not-so-high 5ft 4inches. I later realized this might have been his motivation for calling it the Napoleon club 🙂
Within 10 years, Faisal Helwani had not only become THE Ghanaian music industry, he had also created his own Entertainment Empire hosting superstars like Fleetwood Mac, Fela, and even getting an album endorsement by the legendary Brian Eno for the album ‘Pace Setters’ by Edikanfo. Brian Eno’s endorsement led to big show opportunities in the United States where Faisal travelled with the band for shows in top venues like Beverly Hills and New York. He even had time to involve himself in all the latest industry politics that arose with the inception of his brainchild – MUSIGA (Musicians Union of Ghana) and later COSGA (Copyright Owners Society of Ghana). He had arrived. He was on top. But he was not sustainable. The producer was Faisal Helwani. The agent was Faisal Helwani. The promoter was Faisal Helwani. The politician was Faisal Helwani and the spokesperson was also Faisal Helwani. Do you get where this is going? He was great, he was celebrated, but he had also become anxious, stressed and exhausted in more ways than one. At some point in his 5o year long career, he would become outdated, out-smarted, and eventually, out-numbered.
My father’s story is a lesson for every prospective Entertainment Mogul. Make it sustainable! At some point in our music industry we must create industry jobs to ensure healthy growth in the music industry. We have progressed considerably over the last 10 years with a rise in the ‘manager count’ thanks to the emergence of new acts and trends. Still, most of the time, you find Artists multi-tasking and doubling up as their own promoters/agents which inevitably drags down their value. Many artists are creative but not necessarily the best negotiators or business people. they end up striking bad deals, not doing enough fore-planning, and next thing you know, they are flopping at one show or the other.
It’s time we take our music industry a little more seriously than just putting it off as ‘this playful thing called music’. We are not even properly represented in the Ghanaian constitution. If it weren’t for my father’s parliamentary wars we probably would still be operating under replica clauses from the PNDC rule! We need to create jobs and we the artists need to help sustain these jobs by growing creatively, dedicating ourselves to our music, and working hard on our Art. That is what an artist is supposed to do not run around radio stations trying to lobby to get their song on air! Don’t even get me started.
In my next post I will talk more about the individual job descriptions, and how to go about starting a career in the music industry. One love.