Music
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Stormzy, Yaw Tog, Kwesi Arthur "Sore" (Remix)

The 10 Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month (March)

Featuring Yaw Tog x Stormzy x Kwesi Arthur, Gyakie, M.anifest x Vic Mensa, Stonebwoy and more.

This month in Ghanaian music has been quite a busy one, and it looks like things have finally kicked off in full swing. With several international collabs, full-length projects, and more, March has been filled to the brim and overflowing with good music. Here we bring you the best of Ghanaian music of March. Check them out below!

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.


Yaw Tog, Stormzy & Kwesi Arthur 'Sore (Remix)'

Young hip-hop star Yaw Tog issued the much-awaited remix of his monster hit single "Sore", this time joining forces with UK rapper Stormzy and Ground Up star Kwesi Arthur. Currently sitting at close to three million views on YouTube, this is the biggest hip-hop song of the season.

Gyakie & Omah Lay 'Forever (Remix)'

The lines continue to fall in place for emerging singer Gyakie, who delivered the official remix to her chart topping single "Forever". This time around she tapped Nigerian singer Omah Lay, giving new life to the still spreading smash hit, now a pan-African affair.

M.anifest 'No Fear' ft. Vic Mensa & Moliy

In one of the hardest records to drop so far this year, rapper M.anifest teamed up with American rapper of Ghanaian descent Vic Mensa and emerging vocalist Moily. Together they deliver the rap joint of rap joints, with M Dot and Vic trading lyrically charged verses, and Moily gluing the mix together with her silky but striking vocals.

Kofi Jamar 'They Don't Know'

Following his mega hit "Ekorso," rapper Kofi Jamar finally came through with his next single. The GADOne Records act went solo on this drill record titled "They Don't Know", once again showcasing his anthem making ability over the 808-heavy Trino production.

E.L 'Wavs'

This month rapper E.L delivered a full length project, his third studio album titled WAVs, an acronym for "West African Vibes." The 13 tracks embody a melting pot of genres by the talented rapper, singer, and producer, and all his talents come into full display both in the booth and on the production boards. With only four guests the album isn't big on features, but the melodic collaboration with rising Nigerian singer Oxlade and the stellar guest verse by Mavin Records rapper Ladipoe are very remarkable entries.

Pappy Kojo 'Logos II'

And another album! This month rapper Pappy Kojo dropped his debut album, a 15-track body of work titled LOGOS II. Featuring a star-studded list of musicians from across Africa and beyond, the likes of Joey B, Sarkodie, Fameye, Adina Thembi, Kofi Kinaata, Kiddblack, Magnom, Kelvynboy, Busiswa, RJZ, Phyno and more all come through on this afrobeats focused multi-genre album, which is definitely worth the listen.

Niro Walter 'Focus'

Accra based singer and songwriter Niro Walter presented his debut project, simply titled Focus. Having 13 songs with no features, Niro took the opportunity to showcase all he has to offer, dishing an abundance of melody in his throaty tenor vocals. With Ksmithmajik, Limber, David Acekeyz and Supa Gaeta behind the production boards, Focus is a balanced project that is well worth your time.

Stonebwoy 'Strength and Hope'

Ghanaian singer Stonebwoy came through as well, taking a break from the dancehall and afrobeats he's best known for to issue a conscious reggae tune titled "Strength and Hope". His rendition of the "Victory Rock Riddim," "Strength and Hope" is one beautiful tune.

Kweku Darlington 'Sika Aba Fie' ft. Yaw Tog & Kweku Flick

On this one budding Ghanaian lyricist Kweku Darlington recruited his fellow drill rappers, Kweku Flick and Yaw Tog on this brand new record titled "Sika Aba Fie." Translating as "money has come home," "Sika Aba Fie" is a fun, singalong drill record.

Medikal ft Kuami Eugene 'Oseiyie' 

Rapper Medikal is another Ghanaian act who dropped a project this month, a 5-track EP titled Amazing Grace. Quickly gaining traction off the project is this cut featuring singer Kuami Eugene, titled "Oseiyie." The Lynx Entertainment superstar blessed the afrobeats single with the "Kuami effect," resulting in a vibrant bop that is likely to be a chart topper in the days to come.

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.


Interview
Image: Courtesy TIFF

Jenna Cato Bass is Capturing the Horrors of an Unhealed Nation

The film marks the South African director's third debut and stride towards making a name for herself in the international film circuit.

Ever since premiering her debut film, Love the One You Love, which won the Best Feature Film at the Jozi Festival in 2015, Jenna Cato Bass has been a name to watch on the international film festival circuit. Her 2017 feature, High Fantasy, was the first of her films to land on the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) lineup, followed by Flatland in 2019. Her latest offering, Mlungu Wam (Good Madam), debuted at TIFF in September of 2021 — marking her third time at the esteemed Canadian film event.

Often provocative, always thought-provoking, Bass' films have come to establish her as a director who looks at South Africa's youth, the lives they're living and the future that awaits them, with a nuanced, open-minded lens. For the first time in her career, Bass uses the genre of horror to dig into an enduring mark of the country's past — that of the fraught, complex relationship between madam and domestic worker, in Mlungu Wam (Good Madam). Set in Cape Town, the film follows the unusual, disturbing things that start happening when a young woman moves back in with her estranged mother, who is the longtime caretaker for a rich, white household.

Bass also co-wrote the film Tug of War (Vuta N'Kuvute), which became Tanzania's first film to be selected for TIFF this year, and she co-wrote Rafiki, which was Kenya's first film at TIFF in 2018.

She spoke to OkayAfrica about playing in a new genre and her hopes for African cinema.

Still from Bass's film Mlungu Wam Image: Courtesy TIFF


This story revolves around the relationship between a domestic worker and her 'madam.' What made you want to make a film about this subject?

When I make films, I like the concept to revolve around something that we all have in common - because, despite the many fractures in our society, these shared places exist. And in South Africa, we felt that everyone - in some way or another - has been deeply affected by domestic work and domestic workers, who are a keystone in our society's structure. Additionally, the 'maid' and 'madam' relationship is the ultimate symbol of race relations in South Africa - as well as how they haven't changed significantly, despite almost thirty years of democracy. So a domestic worker was the perfect character around which to centre a South African horror.

The genre of horror works really well to explore this subject and tell this story — when did you know it would be the genre you'd want to use?

The early stages of developing a film aren't always linear for me. I'll be thinking about a genre I'm interested in, and then parallel to that I'll have an idea for a story or a character, and later on, will realize that these pieces all fit together. In this case, I'd been wanting to make a horror film for ages, but hadn't found the right story… until I had the idea for Mlungu Wam, and I realized I was finally ready to try this genre.

What challenges did you face in making a horror?

It was my first time working in this genre, and it was intimidating because there's no saving you if you fail. We were also working on a very, very limited budget, so it wasn't possible to show as much as we'd like to - but then again, this story was all about the subjective and the unseen, so I did as much research and planning as we could, and just had to trust it would work.

Where did you film, and did that have any impact on the process at all?

We filmed in a house in Cape Town, in a gated community in the Southern Suburbs. The house and the environment had a major impact on the film - especially because we were also quarantining there for the full 7 weeks of rehearsal and shooting. The house was our set and our accommodation, so it was very intense, very claustrophobic, and very triggering for many of our team members.

How did you and co-writer Babalwa Baartman work on the story? You've included cast members in the writing process in your previous work — did you do that here too?

Mlungu Wam was made along similar lines to my first two films, Love The One You Love and High Fantasy, where we started with an outline, cast actors, then workshopped the characters collaboratively before completing the story breakdown and using improv for the dialogue. Babalwa and I had worked together using this method on a short film we made in 2019 called Sizohlala. She really understands the process, and it was a really rewarding experience exploring the story with her and our cast.

How did Kristina Ceyton, who produced the excellent acclaimed horrors The Babadook and The Nightingale, through Causeway Films, come to be involved in this film?

I had met Sam Jennings, who is also a producer with Causeway Films, several years ago at a festival. We really connected and kept in touch over the years, sharing our work, and hoping there'd be a chance to collaborate. So when we were developing Mlungu Wam, I pitched her and Kristina the concept and they were immediately supportive. It has been a massive pleasure working with them both.

Your films are known to venture into themes of identity and healing from the past — how does this film speak to that?

Mlungu Wam is definitely about this too - it's a story about three generations of women (actually four, if you include Tsidi's grandmother, who is an unseen character in the film), how they are haunted by the past and eventually refuse to remain chained any longer. Their healing is collective, linked to each other, and wouldn't be possible for them alone as individuals.

Still from Bass's film Mlungu Wam Image: Courtesy TIFF


You've been at TIFF before - how has your experience of it been this year, with it being a hybrid of virtual and in-person?

Things have been quieter and a bit harder to navigate, but the TIFF staff have done incredible work getting the festival off the ground, despite endless challenges. It has felt very surreal to be here, and a privilege - and inspiring too, that we can still get together to celebrate films, even though our world is in such a mess. We had over 200 (socially distanced) people at our last screening, and that was an amazing feeling.

Yours is one of few African films on this year's line-up - is there anything you'd like to see happen to try improve that?

Regarding African cinema, TIFF has a real range of films this year, across several sections. Compared to many other festivals, they seem really invested in supporting cinema from the continent. Of course, this could be better, but it's also an example to other festivals who claim there aren't enough African films, that this is clearly not the case.

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