I like the influence Sarkodie wields in the entertainment industry; the power to set agenda and generate conversation; the power to lead.
Will it be right to say he is the President of Ghanaian music? (Well, if you disagree, you can find yourself a gallon of turpentine, mix with soobolo and have a good meal.).
At least for the past few weeks, especially during the lockdown period in Ghana, he was able to engage the minds and souls of Ghanaians with two major activities – the ‘music-producer’ wars and the diss song, ‘Sub-Zero’ which was directed at his detractors.
He kept the industry afloat! The result of this even though not fully realised, has at least been good to some atrophying careers. At least, Asem was in the news for about two weeks.
After Sarkodie released ‘Fahooki Me’ a few days ago, a new movement has been birthed – reviving the music and dance craze that was in vogue about ten (10) years ago, Azonto!
With just a simple hashtag #BringBackAzonto, the King of Rap has been able to court the attention of most musicians and music lovers. Already, EL, D-Black, DopeNation, Keche and a lot of other musicians have expressed interest in jumping on an azonto beat, helping to drive the cause.
But the question is what exactly is Sarkodie helping to bring back? The azonto dance or the music craze that came with the dance?
Azonto ‘music craze’ has always been with us
Azonto music (as they proponents call it) did not go anywhere. That kind of fast-paced music that popped up during the period of azonto dance, had always been with us.
Most of those songs, before the azonto era, were called hiplife songs – in fact, they were spin-offs of hiplife (or hip hop, if you wanna go more generic).
Some of these same music forms are now masquerading as Afropop and Afrobeat music. Same songs, same styles, and patterns; different nomenclature.
Let me put it bluntly – ‘azonto’ is not a music genre. I know there are dances that have their corresponding music forms. There are agbadza music and agbadza dance; kete music and kete dance; kpalongo music and kpalongo dance. Azonto dance does not have any corresponding definitive music form.
All the songs that came during the azonto period bore the name of azonto because they were the songs that were out during the azonto period. They were the songs that people danced the azonto with.
Some people even danced azonto to highlife-oriented gospel songs.
What is the underlying genre determinant of Gasmilla’s ‘Telemo’ and E.L.’s ‘Kaalu’? But you called all of them ‘azonto’, right?
Even at a time when people claimed azonto music was gone, there were still ‘azonto songs’ (emphasis on my inverted commas) that had taken on different names. Dope Nation’s ‘Zanku’, Medikal’s ‘Omo Ada’, ‘Akwaaba’, are all fall within the category of songs people jammed to azonto dance some ten years ago.
Can we resurrect the azonto dance?
The azonto dance is one of the biggest things that ever happened to Ghanaian music, thanks to the likes of Gasmilla, Sarkodie, EL, Keche, Fuse ODG, among others. It really put Ghana on the map!
But as unstructured as our behaviors have been and unfocused as our agendas have been tailored, it died, making way for other fads like Alkayida, Shaku Shaku, to take over the dancing feet.
Just as we consigned hiplife and highlife to the doldrums, we slacked in our quest to own azonto, to the extent that even P-Square changed our azonto to ‘alingo.’
It is good for Sarkodie to create some awareness about azonto. At least I have seen a lot of people post their azonto dance videos and some musician getting ready to release azonto songs – but the question is, how long will this last? Nine-day wonder like #BehindTheHitz project?
Are you sure people are going to stop dancing the latest dance types in town and go back for azonto alone?
Azonto can always be woven into other people’s dance performances but I doubt if it is going to gain the same attention it had some ten years ago.
In my opinion, this is a usual Twitter trend to kill coronavirus boredom.
Leave it for Gasmilla, who claims he is the creator and originator of the dance and music type, to keep it in his archives at the shores of Ga maami.
If you want to insult me for expressing my opinion, this is my email address: [email protected] Alternatively, you can follow me on Twitter @kwamedadziegh, IG; kwamedadzy or on Facebook; Kwame Dadzie.
I’ll be glad to give you a very humble reply.