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Wumpini Roots For the North

2008-05-13 19:49:20
This article has been read 874 times.

Attendance was fair and the music seemed to grab everyone when Lord Wumpini launched 2nd Chance, his second collection of songs, with a concert at the Picorna Gardens in Tamale recently. Watch Video: Yel Binye by Lord Wumpini feat. Sherifa

Other artistes from the Northern Region including Blakk Rasta, Sirina ‘Big Sister’ Issah, Abu ‘Policeman’ Sidiq and Sherifa Gunu came by to express solidarity with Wumpini and to collectively make the point that there is great talent from that part of the country that need wider recognition than is the situation now.

2nd Chance contains 10 songs composed and arranged by Wumpini and released on the AKYM label. According to Wumpini, he regards the album as his second chance, after his debut Kabinu in 2002, to show commitment to pertinent social issues.

Singing mainly in Dagbani, matters he deals with on 2nd Chance include rape and guinea worm infestation.

Wumpini contributed a song to an album by music stars from the north appealing for peace after the break-out of hostilities following the assassination of Ya Na Yakubu Andani in 2003.

He has also taken keen interest in the fight against guinea worm and performed at a concert organised in Savelugu last December by the Carter Center and the Ghana Guinea Worm Eradication Programme to increase awareness about the disease and the effort to combat it.

“After my first album people said it was not possible to survive on social issues but I’m out again with another album. I see it as another chance to continue with messages for people.”

Featuring Sherifa, Nana Ama, Amsilim and Sirina, the songs embrace jumpy indigenous Dagomba chorus patterns on Ajaa Ajaa, funk bass lines on Yel Binye, marching band-style drumming on Batoro, straight didactic narration on Guinea Worm Campaign and familiar hiplife devices on Sitsofe for a fascinating multi-approach work.

Speaking to Showbiz in Tamale after the album launch, Wumpini said he believes God created everyone for a purpose and his wish is for people to one day see the value of what he has contributed to his people and to the country as a whole through his music.

Some of the biggest names in popular music in Ghana at the moment come from the northern regions. Wumpini believes they may not have been so popular and rated so high if they were singing in languages from the north.

“There is a talented pool from that part of country. Unfortunately, people do not see we are all Ghanaians and some should not be sidelined because of the language they sing in. You are sometimes compelled to change the way you want to do things simply because people are not ready to patronise what you have in your mother tongue.

“Look at Kwaadee from the Upper East Region. He had to sing in Twi to be known. Samini is from the Upper West Region but he is doing his material in English and Twi to be accepted. Rocky Dawuni is from the Northern Region but almost everything he does is in English. Most of Ayisoba, who is also from the Upper East Region, is also in Twi and English.

“People do not understand what Youssou N’Dour or Angelique Kidjo or Salif Keita sing but they still listen to and like their music. Why should event organisers ditch you because you sing in Dagbani and not Twi?”

Wumpini says he finds it sad that some disc jockeys working for radio stations in the three northern regions do not appreciate the need to popularise contemporary music from the area and rather demand ‘payola’ to play material by their own folks.

“It is not I alone who feels the frustration. Talk to Sherif Ghale, Sirina or Sherifa or Policeman or any of the emerging artistes from the north and they will tell you they are also not pleased about the neglect of northern artistes by the mainstream music setup.”

Wumpini’s name means ‘God’s gift’ in Dagbani. He believes his music, as well as what is being done by all the hardworking artistes from the north, is a special gift to Ghana and the rest of the world and it is time they got the attention they deserve.


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